Did you know that Google updates its search features to improve search experience? This is great news for customers but bad news for small businesses not effectively managing their websites. Google uses automated bots (called spiders) that crawl the web collecting data in generating its search results. Google has a huge library of keywords that help in determining what results are shown. Google’s ranking system is made up of not one, but a series of many algorithms. Search algorithms examine many factors, including the keywords of your question, relevance and usability of web pages, and even your location and settings. These algorithms assign each crawled web page a relevant score. In order to rank and stay high on the search results page, it is extremely important to provide great content so that other web sites will want to link to your pages.
Google handles over 2 trillion searches per year, the smallest changes to their algorithm can have a large impact on any website. Consider also that Google outlines over 200 ranking factors related to a website.
The two most recent updates to Google’s algorithm can help you understand and optimize your website for better search result standings.
Broad Core Update – The September 2019 update was a “broad core update” to their algorithm. Google releases this type of update several times a year. Here are some things to consider with a core update:
- Drops or gains in your search rankings
- Non-specific (broader) changes that improve the overall search engine
- Keep providing great content to your website pages
Simply put, a core update is a change to the algorithm that calculates the importance of many of its ranking factors. To help you after a core update has completed you should keep focus on:
- Visitor intent – why your visitor is on your website and what are they hoping to accomplish?
- Relevant content – creating better content on a webpage that matches a search query will likely achieve a high ranking
- Website layout – review the framework of your website structure. Do you have clear paths for navigation within your webpages to improve visitor experience?
- Google Best Practices – make use of Google’s strategies on your search engine marketing for paid search.
BERT – This is the most recent update rolled out around the third week of October 2019. BERT is Google’s neural technique that helps in natural language processing (NLP). BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. This update is designed to help understand search queries, content, and their context. More relevant search results will occur as this is a ‘language understanding’ update meaning Google can interpret an entire phrase better giving the user more accurate results for what the user is truly searching for.
- According to Google, this update will affect 10% of all search queries – the largest affected update for the past 5 years.
- This update is not geared to penalize any website – its sole purpose is to better understand the user’s query and intent.
You want to master this update? Provide content that is well-written, relevant, and provides the answers to your users’ queries. When creating content to help in ranking, think of people doing verbal searches using AI rather than typing in their search questions. These long types of sentence structure can aid in your keyword strategy.
If all of this seems hard to understand or time consuming, give us a call. We specialize in saving small businesses time and money with marketing strategies that work and that means optimizing websites for search.