What are Google Core Updates?
According to Google, Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.” They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.
Every time Google updates its core SERP ranking algorithm in a significant way, there is a website redesign scramble.
From feature redesign to rewriting reams of content, some sites bend over backward to adapt to each subtle ranking change.
So why do some sites’ service pages and blog articles stay on top without the algorithm scramble? Often, it’s because these brands have implemented an effective SEO content strategy and successfully future-proofed their content strategy from Google’s core updates.
How do you Future-Proof Content From Google Updates?
This is a question that content marketers and website owners have been trying to solve for two decades. The key is to look at the pattern of what Google rewards and penalizes.
Over twenty years of algorithm updates, the changes have always favored the user experience and penalized shortcut tactics to game the system.
Therefore, your best strategy for future-proofing content is to write for a reader-centric experience and anticipate future algorithm changes that follow the same patterns.
1. Anticipate Your Client Search Patterns
Your general keyword strategy should be about anticipating your clients, not the algorithm. Keyword strategy is a fine-tuned game played by specialized marketing professionals. You may tweak your keywords every week for best performance and A/B testing.
However, your core strategy should focus on understanding how your clients search and what words and phrases they use on the journey to purchasing from you.
Search intent should be a driving force of your content strategies.
2. Content Written to Benefit the Readers
The single strongest trend in Google core updates and minor algorithm updates is user experience. Banning things like keyword stuffing and emphasizing longer content word-count is about providing better content to the readers.
Rewarding internal and external links in content is supposed to encourage referencing and useful linking for the readers’ benefit.
Snippets and Questions Asked reward well-organized content that answers common questions.
So future-proof your content by writing it for the readers. You’re less likely to need future changes if your style is already in line with Google’s priorities.
Bolster Your E-A-T
In its search quality guidelines, Google emphasizes expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) as criteria for ranking content that is both relevant and of high quality.
Demonstrating these three qualities (E-A-T) throughout your content and site should be foremost in your content creation strategies.
In addition to protecting and contributing to your site’s visibility during core updates, having a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness demonstrate to users that your content, and by extension, your brand, is a reliable source of information.
Valuable, Useful, and Interesting Information
Write pages designed to be valuable, useful, and informative.
Organize each page for quick reading and provide instructions or lists clearly.
Provide real and useful information that relates directly to the title of each page.
Your service pages can include useful information like signs that your X needs repair or replacement and what to do before an appointment.
Use pillar and cluster content, write series, and expand on common FAQ answers with interesting insider information.
Provide how-to guides and product reviews. Give some industry insights.
Write information your customers and colleagues want to read.
Arranged for Readability
Glance over every page to make sure it’s readable. Break up content into sections marked with informative headers. Use bullet points to summarize short points or outline future points. Use numbers for lists and rankings. Break paragraphs into smaller clusters under their header titles. Make sure the content is pleasant to look at, easy to skim, and well-organized by thought and topic.
Answers Questions and Solves Problems
The question-and-answer style has been a strong SEO tactic for years. This is because it captures popular long-tail keyword phrases (think FAQs) and provides a hook for Google snippets and feature panels. Google encourages questions and answers because they are useful and streamline the search-to-answer process.
Along those lines, provide content that answers questions and solves common problems. People search for these answers and are often satisfied to find a useful website with solutions. Google encourages this because your page becomes an online resource.
Added Value from Company Experts
Give your content something that generic competition doesn’t have: Expert insights.
Ask your engineers or logistics specialists or designers what it takes to do their job. Ask for tips they wish clients could know before service. Use your insider knowledge of the industry to share project planning advice with your readers. Give your readers a little something extra, something value-adding, in your reader-centric content.
3. Don’t Write for the Algorithm
Whatever you do, don’t try to game the system. The second most consistent Google update trend is penalizing websites that try too hard to get ahead.
Remember keyword stuffing? The Florida Update in November 2003 took care of that SEO shortcut. The core updates of 2005 and 2006 penalized spammy backlinking strategies. In 2009 and 2011, Google core updates penalized duplicate content.
The fact is that Google is cracking down on any tactic it identifies as gaming the system. So just don’t try to ‘beat’ the algorithm. That is the most likely way to find yourself losing SERP rank in the next update. Instead, focus on expanding your keyword reach and improving the reader/customer experience.
4. Technical Perfection
Bringing up the end of your future-proofing content strategy is technical performance.
There’s no denying that Google rewards websites that work well and penalizes websites that are slow, clunky, or broken.
It’s all about user experience and maximizing the pace of search engine use.
Fortunately, a website is a machine and you can always aim for lasting perfection paired.
A well-designed future-proof website with predictable performance updates can stay on top in the technical categories through the core updates to come.
Optimized for Mobile
Ever since the Mobilegeddon Update of 2015, mobile performance has been the single most spotlighted metric for SERP ranking on Google.
Recent updates have continued to emphasize the importance of mobile format compatibility and speed performance for all ranking websites. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive, looks good on all screen sizes, and is lightweight enough to stay snappy.
Fast and Smooth
Snappy pages have been a Google priority longer than mobile.
Page load speed and the smoothness of your asset loading are both essential when Google ranks a page’s performance and desirability. You need your pages to be lightweight with local assets that load instantly. Your page should not jitter or jump around as graphical assets load in. Pages should load almost equally fast on computers and mobile devices.
This is the aspect that often requires the most regular update-tweaking for websites.
Lastly, curate your metadata. Every page should have a title tag, a meta description, and so on. Every image, video, and referenced resource should also be equipped with a full stack of appropriate metadata. Google bots often read metadata and the more you have (and the better it is written) the better-cataloged and more relevant your page will be when ranked.
Future-Proofing Your Content for Google Core Updates
Want to write great content that stays on top even after Google updates the algorithm? The trick is to write for your customers and not for the algorithm itself. By aligning your priorities with Google, you can avoid the pitfalls of ‘gaming the system’ and even earn a ranking boost with each new customer experience-focused Google update.
For more insights on writing great content and crafting a powerful inbound website strategy, contact us today!