On 13th January Google confirmed that they rolled out a ‘broad core algorithm update’ but what is that? A Google update is where the algorithm is adapted to take into account the latest trends and technology and ensure that their search rankings display the best quality and most up to date content.
The way that Google explain this is “to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.”
Google updates used to be flashier and more dramatic with names and versions such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. These days they are more low key and less branded as SEO becomes less of a novelty and more mainstream. However, a Google update is still every bit as unexpected and mysterious, with no warning and no hard and fast rules of how to ensure your website doesn’t take a hit.
There have been extreme examples in the past of huge companies taking a big hit with no notice. In 2013 a Google update absolutely tanked the ranking of Interflora not only generic terms like ‘flowers’, ‘flower delivery’ and ‘florist’, but even for its own brand name. There is nothing solid publicly on why but there was speculation on unnatural and paid for links.
The only real way to avoid being penalised by a Google update is to treat your website as if Google is about to change their algorithm every day. Like you’re a chef with kitchen that needs to be clean enough to pass a surprise health inspection at any time.
SEO optimised website design and content marketing of a high standard is essential to keep on Google’s good side and ensure a prominent profile on the search engine that takes up 86% of all organic search traffic. This is a long term investment, as the alternative is spending high amounts on paid ads and referral links in order to maintain a steady stream of relevant traffic.