Whether you’re a news service that needs clicks on articles to drive ad revenue or a commerce site that needs to connect with customers, being visible on Google can mean the difference between success and failure.
Google’s search engine is so dominant and so powerful that even a small drop in traffic can have a huge impact.
So just imagine what the management of NFL.com, the video platform Vimeo and news site Daily Mail felt when their Google traffic fell off a cliff earlier this month.
Change has come to Google… again
This drastic situation came about because Google once again changed its algorithm – the code that drives what the search engine looks for and shows to the people who use it.
A prominent cryptocurrency news service called CCN shut down in the wake of the change, claiming the change – called the June 2019 Core Update - slashed its web traffic by 71% overnight and severely crunched its revenue stream.
SOURCE - https://www.ccn.com/ccn-is-shutting-down-after-googles-june-2019-core-updat…
While this is an extreme example of what can happen when Google tinkers with its code, it does raise a big question – should other businesses that rely on Google’s traffic be worried?
Google is tight lipped on exactly what’s changed in the algorithm and why certain websites are being affected. But a look at the history of Google’s algorithm changes does yield some clues.
Google’s algorithm change isn’t just for change’s sake
In the past, one of the best ways for content creators to get attention on Google and drive traffic was to use tactics like stuffing their writing with keywords that the search engine would pick up or that users would type in.
In the beginning, this kind of SEO worked well when content creators designed and crafted their work around a chosen set of words or phrases.
But then it began to work a little too well. Things got very spammy, and while traffic went up for many websites, the downside was that quality suffered.
So, in 2003, Google made one of the first big changes to its algorithm to punish sites that tried to cut corners and game the code. And there have been changes to the algorithm just about every year since, sometimes multiple times in a year.
SOURCE - https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-algorithm-history/
The best defence is always quality
The consistent theme behind every algorithm change made by Google over the years is to reward quality and help drive traffic to content that is better written, presented or created than others.
And three significant ways to do this are becoming the go-to way to ‘algorithm proof’ your content.
Collaborate, question and personalise
The first – collaborate – is to work with people inside or outside your company or group to create and then market content.
Get people to create things for you, facilitate discussions, and bring influencers into your sphere – the idea is to get organic content going that is authentic and links people in fresh ways, something Google tends to love.
The second factor – question – is to create high quality content for a niche that you’ve identified instead of focusing on a keyword string and then crafting around it.
Keywords can kill creativity – the very thing Google’s algorithm changes try to build a path for. Focus on creating content that answers questions and serves a purpose, rather than acting as a vehicle for keywords. This kind of content is inevitably better written and presented and Google should reward it.
Finally, we come to personalise, which means tailoring your content to individual users.
Whether it’s using data to craft a call to action that speaks to them by name or monitoring your social accounts for a chance to interact, making your content personable is a sure-fire way to get more of those genuine connections Google was originally designed for.
By focusing on creating high-quality content that serves a purpose, emphasizes organic relationships and is targeted at individuals, you’ll stand a much greater chance of avoiding any negative impacts from Google’s algorithm tweaks.