What Recent Google Algorithm Updates Mean for Your SEO Efforts


search engine optimization

Do Google algorithm updates lead to sleepless nights for your SEO reseller team? Does your agency spend a lot of time trying to understand the impact of Google's most recent update? This article is meant to help agency owners and their teams cut through a lot of confusion surrounding algorithm updates. Although some Google algorithm updates target content quality and others link quality, they all share one thing in common: the desire to show relevant search results to users of Google's search engine. Google knows that if they fail to provide high-quality search results, users will simply seek out alternative options. Although Bing and Yahoo do not appear to be much of a threat at this point, Amazon and Facebook could easily sneak up on Google if they let down their guard. Because Google understands that so much rides on providing quality search results, they release a number of core updates each year and as many as 300 smaller updates to tweak their algorithm. The next time Google releases a new algorithm update, we recommend that you view that update as a tweak to provide more relevant search results. Below, we will outline three timeless principles you can follow for all of your clients' campaigns regardless of what Google throws at you.

 

Searcher Intent Is The Foundation

 

We recommend you spend a good amount of time understanding the intent of the user during the search process. Google has answers to searchers' questions already pre-ordered, so they're simply waiting for users to ask a question. The two primary ways searchers ask questions is through voice search and keyboard searches. We will tackle each one separately and provide tips to optimize for each method of search. Voice search is quickly rising in popularity and many websites have not made changes to their site to optimize for voice search. Optimizing your clients' websites for voice search will put you one or even two steps ahead of the competition. The most important thing to understand about voice search is that queries are conversational in nature. Voice searchers tend to search as they talk and ask questions as they would to a normal person. For example, if a searcher was looking for a cell phone repair company in Tampa, they might say something like "Find a cell phone repair company near me"  or "Which cell phone repair companies are open right now?" Voice searchers are less likely to add a geographic modifier like keyboard searchers do. As a result, we recommend that you create an FAQ that answers common questions such as the ones above. We further recommend working answers into your blog posts and service pages where appropriate.

 

Optimizing for keyboard search requires that you understand which keywords bring users to your website. Jumping into Google Search Console or utilizing third-party tools such as ahrefs.com or SEMRush will provide you with the keyword research you need. If you have an AdWords account, you can also use Keyword Planner to find new keywords or simply use the keywords that are converting well in AdWords.

 

For most businesses, keyword research is fairly straightforward as users typically type in the service they're looking for coupled with the geographic location they live in. For example, if someone is searching for a home improvement company in Sacramento, they typically type in "Home improvement companies Sacramento" or "Sacramento home improvement company."   Although it can be difficult to add these phrases to your marketing copy as they are quite awkward, keywords of this nature can be added to your site’s title tags. Once keyword research is completed, utilize these newfound keywords in your marketing copy and future blog posts.

 

Create Cornerstone Content

 

As you are creating these new blog posts, please follow the tips below to maximize the potential rankings impact of each blog post. The most important thing to understand is that reader expectations have changed over the past five years. Readers used to be content with 500-word blog posts. That is no longer the case. Google rewards blog posts in excess of 2,000 words in length with page one rankings. The screenshot below shows the average number of words for content with page one rankings.

 

graph

 

Long-form content outperforms shorter blog post for a myriad of reasons including the ability to add substantially more keywords and the ability to go into greater depth. A typical blog reader comes to your website looking for solutions to a problem they're facing in which your company specializes. If your blog post provides a detailed step-by-step solution to that problem, you will be rewarded with higher rankings and improve time on page. Google uses the amount of time a user spends reading a blog post as a quality indicator. Content that provides incredible levels of detail that users need to reference continually as they solve the problem garners the most time on page for obvious reasons. In the past, many agencies believed that their clients did not want to provide this level of content as they were giving away valuable information for free. Any lost business will pale in comparison to increasing website traffic and new customers. Many visitors to a blog will read one, two, or more of your blogs before deciding to do business with you. Because you spent time helping them with no expectation of return, you position yourself as a thought leader and someone who puts the customer first. Those that give the most tend to receive the most.

 

Understanding the Role of Artificial Intelligence

 

Google now utilizes machine learning to further aid in their quest to provide unmatched search results to their users. Machine learning helps Google sort through the incredible amount of data created on the web each day. It parses through that data to look for patterns that help provide high-quality search results. Follow the three tips below to help Google's RankBrain understand that your website provides valuable information for searchers.

  1. Link building: Now that you created great content, is important to attract links from other websites to your blog posts and other important pages on your website. Google views links as votes for that content and for other resource pages on your website. This is an area where many SEO agencies struggle. Many do not have relationships with other websites. If you find that your agency is in this situation, we recommend that you partner with a white label SEO agency who has a wide variety of relationships with websites in several verticals.
  2. Keyword research: Focus on medium-tail keywords as they tend to convert at a higher rate than shorter keywords. RankBrain prefers longer keywords due to their high specificity.
  3. Content quality: Create user-centric blog content, white papers, and other forms of content that help potential customers grow their business and solve difficult problems.

Following the tips above will help you create a more consistent approach for your SEO clients and eliminate the strategic lurching that can often occur when new algorithm updates drop. The tips above will act as true north for your clients' SEO efforts. The next time an algorithm update drops, view it as a refinement of past updates centered around an effort to create better search results rather than a seemingly incongruent update that seems random in nature.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post; we hope that you will apply what you read here now and in the future.

 

BIO

Adam Stetzer holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has published on the topics of Internet marketing, absenteeism, employee and customer satisfaction, productivity and safety, and culture. He has founded several technology firms, and is currently CEO at HubShout, a white label SEO reseller firm. In his 25 year career he has worked with companies such as General Electric, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Verizon, AT&T, Ford, LendingTree, American Express and ChevronTexaco. Adam has advised over 1,000 small business owners and blogs frequently.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamstetzer/
Adam Stetzer head shot


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