Did you know your website could be getting lots of great traffic, then overnight it disappears based on how Google changes its algorithms? That’s why understanding more about how Google works really matters to your blog or business. Here, SEO Expert Paul D’Ambra gives the low down on Google Core’s Latest Update.
Never heard of the term ‘Google Core Update’? Well, don’t worry, you are not alone. As we all know the digital world has evolved rapidly and the big players continually tweak their algorithms to grow their audience, develop new promotional products and ultimately grow their advertising revenues.
If you have a website for your business, a blog or an eCommerce store then these changes can be quite significant, especially if you rely on them to generate an income. Or on the flipside you can be missing out on opportunities to find new Customers if your competitors take advantage of the changes.
Why should you care? Well Google’s market share for search is a staggering 70%+ of all searches conducted, there are literally billions of queries processed everyday and no other platform gets close.
So it is critical to understand when changes are being made by Google, when they do make major algorithm or system updates they label them as a ‘Core Update’. It’s important to understand what these changes might mean for your website whether you have a business, an e-Commerce store or a special interest blog.
The other reason you need to stay on top of it is because competition online continues to grow every day. It’s quite literally how people learn about new brands or businesses today. Statista estimates there are over 1.72 Billion websites in the world.
Quite literally your website could be getting lots of great traffic, then overnight it disappears based on how Google changes its algorithms. Depending on what tools or reporting you have in place you may or may not realise it has happened. If you are leaving your website management to an agency or contractor, they may not be aware of the changes, what to do or it may not even be in your terms of service to have such changes addressed.
#1 Review your Google Search Console data
These days data is king. Rather than rely on instinct, you can look under the hood of your website to understand what is or isn’t working. This can help you make educated changes to improve performance.
Google provides a free tool called Google Search Console that can give you information like;
- What keywords or phrases your website is ranking for.
- The volume of search impressions you are receiving.
- How many clicks you have received and for what phrases.
- Trends for up to 16 months.
- Whether your website has been submitted to Google correctly or has errors.
So with this information you can learn more about what people are searching for and what is driving them to visit your website. You can run lots of quick reports to identify any significant changes like;
- Keyword Rank positions for the last 3 months vs the same time last year.
- Click Through Rate % changes.
- Overall search impression changes.
- Search impressions for a selected Keyword or Country.
All the data comes straight from Google giving you raw insights into Consumer behaviour, it’s like free market research. Whether you have a website selling clothing, a special interest site about healthy eating or you sell services, the principle behind using this data applies equally.
#2 Check your Google Analytics data
So while Google Search Console can give you information about what is happening before people visit your site, Google Analytics then gives you insights about the traffic that comes to you website. While the data is quite extensive some of the key items are;
- How many people are visiting your site.
- What location are they in, even the City.
- Where did they come from ie Organic Search, Social Media, Advertising etc.
- What device they were using.
- What pages they visited, how long they spent & how many they looked at.
Those items are just scratching the surface of course but when you start combining pieces of data you can get a strong understanding about what is and isn’t working for your website. So for example you can see if there has been an increase or decrease in traffic after a Google Core Update by comparing this quarter to last year or whether your average monthly traffic has changed.
If these tools have been set up correctly you will have not only a lot of data available but history as well. You can see your ranking keywords, top pages, the sources of visitors and you can compare this week, this month or a whole year to see what is changing and how. Using the data you can make educated decisions on what needs to change, be improved or even removed to then improve website performance.
#3 Do your own competitor research
When was the last time you put yourself in the shoes of the type of person you are trying to attract to your website to see the journey they go through?
The quick and free way to do competitor research is by using the data you have found in Google Search Console or Google Analytics. Take a selected keyword or phrase (not your own business name or website name) then type them into Google and look at what comes up. There are 16 different types of information that can potentially be displayed on a Google search engine results page (SERP) and they include;
- Featured Snippets
- Image Packs
- Knowledge Areas
- Related Questions
- Shopping Results
- Video Results
With this you can determine;
- What companies you are competing with
- What pages or content are they ranking for
- Are there videos, reviews, recipes for shopping items getting visibility
- What does the top ‘Questions People Ask’ box show
#4 Take Google’s free Webmaster Academy Course
Google actually offers quite a few free resources and tools to learn the skills needed to manage a great website that has valuable content that’s findable on Google. It covers topics like;
- Guidelines to help Google find, index and rank your site.
- Learn how Google crawls, indexes and serves your site to users
- Learn how SEO works, improve site structure, optimize content, deal with crawlers, promote content, and analyze site traffic.
- A 5-step mobile checklist
You can even learn about Google’s Webmaster Guidelines which outline how to avoid practices that can have a site removed entirely from the Google index or affected by algorithm changes.
Learn about what a Core Update means and what they look for. Google provides explanations and updates via their blog.
#5 Find a digital marketing expert who can conduct an audit for you
Right now there are thousands of people probably working out their next move in preparation for COVID restrictions to be lifted. So for many the focus will be all hands on deck trying to get a job, rescue a business, secure advertising or get online sales flowing again.
Getting straight back into the grind could be a missed opportunity to take a step back for an impartial look at your website to see how it is performing (or more broadly your complete online presence) especially if you a running one for a business or as a side hussle to generate some extra income.
Someone with digital marketing expertise will be able to dig into all the details that you may not have the skill or time to do. That person will also have the knowledge to spot things you may miss because they will have a more impartial view, typically the can;
- Do a thorough analysis on your data.
- Summarise any existing issues with your website.
- Review your competition.
- Do keyword and phrase research.
- Identify trending content topic opportunities.
- Create a step by step action plan to implement and, most importantly, measure the performance of any changes made.
Women Love Tech would like to thank Paul D’Ambra for his article. Get more information about Paul’s Small Business SEO Marketing Services.
About Paul D’Ambra
Paul transforms businesses and brands with a mixture of marketing, data analysis, website design, SEO and brand development using 20 years of experience. With a straightforward approach to business, his track record is supported by over 200 reviews and case studies of the results achieved on www.la-lente.com.au