Are You Prepared for the Next Google Algorithm Update?

Do you dread the next Google algorithm update? Most people do, and for good reason. They change how web pages rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). There are hundreds of updates happening on a regular basis, but it’s the core updates that impact websites the most. The easiest way to stay on top of these changes is to set alerts for Google’s core updates.

The negative impacts are intentional since Google’s aim is to rank websites that provide the most value and derank sites that are sub-par. With each core update, many websites lose ranking position based on whatever secret formula Google has implemented.
Algorithm Update
Although some people might think they’ve figured it all out, nobody knows exactly what changes during each core update. That information is always kept hidden. However, the impact is clear - it makes some sites disappear from search results and those businesses have to work harder to regain some visibility.

Since we don’t know when it’s coming or what it will entail, is there a way to prepare for the next algorithm update? The short answer is yes. Google might not tell us exactly what they target to eliminate certain sites from ranking, but they do tell us what has to happen for sites to rank. This has been consistent throughout all of Google’s past algorithm changes.

Know what Google wants to see from your website

Google’s algorithm updates are intended to improve search results by deranking sites that provide lower quality content and elevating pages with higher-quality content.

Google routinely emphasizes the importance of E-E-A-T: Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Google ranks web pages according to these principles. Although the exact recipe is unknown, it’s clear that informative, authoritative content written by experts will rank higher and is more likely to generate organic traffic.

If you want to survive the next Google core update, your website needs to embody Google’s E-E-A-T philosophy. How do you do that? The specifics will depend on your niche, but in general, here are some tips:

  • * Write in-depth content. Since Google leans toward semantic search, longer, in-depth pieces of content are more likely to rank in the top search results. The more content you write, the easier it is for Google to understand its relevance. However, you can’t just write long content without a purpose. You need to be intentional and go to great lengths to provide information people want and need.

  • * Develop expertise. You won’t be recognized as an expert overnight, but if you want your site to rank in the SERPs, you’ll need to start establishing yourself as an authority in your niche. This can’t be forced. The specific signs Google uses to determine authority have never been revealed, but many people believe it may be a combination between having backlinks on established authorities in your niche and having a strong presence.

  • * Aim to dominate your niche. Rather than just publishing content on a regular schedule to fill the space, aim to be the best in your niche. Publish what other people aren’t covering and find ways to do it better.

  • * Avoid black hat SEO tactics, like buying backlinks. It’s tempting to buy links in bulk, but don’t do it. Sooner or later, the source of your links will be discovered and de-indexed, and you’ll lose whatever ‘link juice’ you gained. Trying to recover from something like this can be difficult.

Say you’re ranking pretty high and buying bulk backlinks seems to be working for three years. During those three years, several competitors enter the market using only white hat SEO techniques. You still outrank them, but not for long.

Say your backlinks are obliterated overnight in a core update and now your competitors outrank you. They have earned their rankings from three years of genuine, authentic SEO. It will take you at least that much time to catch up; even then, you might not outrank them in the end.

Unfortunately, there is no precise formula that will guarantee you won’t be negatively affected by Google’s next core update. Still, you’re always better off doing your best to embody Google’s E-E-A-T philosophy since that’s how the algorithm ranks sites.

Stay ahead of Google’s next core update

Study past core algorithm changes. If certain industries have been hit, for example, you might be able to conclude the target was thin content vs. other factors.

At the end of the day, all we can be sure of is that there will be another core update. The best way to prepare is to create content that people want to consume and use only white hat SEO to rank.