Since the inception of Google – a Stanford University student project – the search engine’s algorithm has been constantly tweaked and modified by marketing experts to improve the site’s ability to harness the most accurate search results in the quickest amount of time for users.
As the algorithm undergoes change, Google tends to keep new result approaches under the radar. As more people find out about the change, the more they can manipulate their sites to accommodate the SEO updates. So before the trend unfolds and spreads wide, Google will observe the natural shift in results.
It’s no secret that Google is one of- if not the most- powerful technology houses. In the last ten years, the company has climbed to incredible success and to maintain its authority, algorithm evolution is constant and constantly happening more rapidly.
Let’s look at two hugely impactful Google updates of 2016:
- Google Panda
Google Panda was introduced in 2011, but its changes and implementations are seeing the effect realize now in 2016. Panda essentially monitors the quality of content on sites and rewards host who sport content that actually brings new, better content to the web. Panda weeds out “thin sites,” which either duplicate content without improving the quality or context or worse, copy content that already exists available to consumers.
Initially, Panda helped the search engine by filtering out sites that served functionally as spam and only sought to garner clicks from users.
Per usual, non-helpful and poor quality content was still able to creep its way up into Google’s top results. Although it’s worth kudos to those companies, poor quality infects the potential of Google as a universal source of knowledge.
The Internet has expanded so quickly, so vastly and its educative potential is bigger than any system man has known. Although we all seek profit and use of the World Wide Web, its largest, most beautiful potential rests in the platform and provision of endless information to anyone interested in learning.
Introducing weak content at the head of a search result is not only disappointing for the searcher, but it is misleading about the extent of intellect available out there via type in a search bar. Weak quality content does worse than fail to aid in the progression of the search engine. It weakens the most powerful tool humanity has yet encountered.
Over the last few years, Google has done a remarkable job cleaning up and clearing out the low-quality content.
In 2015, it went a step further with a refresh that continually monitors site content for quality. This means that quality sites must continually post quality content (or at least update current content) and if they fail to do so, their ranking will be affected.
So what does this mean for your site?
Post quality content. Only.
Here is how to make sure your content will suffice under Panda’s standards, according to AMA:
- Update existing content
This should be fairly easy. You already have the bulk of your content that is relevant and well written. But take a second look. Could any information be updated? Presented in a more recent context? Written with clearer insight and better flow? Could you insert new research findings that make your information more resourceful to readers?
- Take your time
Effort alone might not make you an A, but effort plus efficacy certainly can. Don’t rush so much that a hasty copy and paste becomes justifiable. Invest your new or updated content. Grammar counts, too!
- Words matter
It’s a glorious time for writers as Google re-emphasizes the importance of a wordsmith. Widgets, images and ads are all welcomed on the page, but only as a backseat to a high ratio of main content. We know that pictures can convey a thousand words, but it doesn’t mean they can replace them. In order to rank well with Google, you need quality, written content that is legitimately helpful to a reader.
- All pages
We’re all tech savvy these days. There is positively no excuse for a page not found or any other instance of a defunct website element. If you plan to have a page under construction, offer outbound links to helpful replacement pages. Yes, Google will check out these links and determine if they’re really useful.
- Pump up your posse
Make sure that your authors and contributors are well labeled with bio’s that point out the specifics of their credibility. If there is contact info for your company, headliners or involved partners, make it available to searchers!
- Core Ranking
Herein lays the big change to be unveiled in 2016. Experts predicted the change to occur within Penguin or Panda, but more recent information indicates that the looming change is not what’s thus far been anticipated. There is limited information on what the core ranking algorithm change will be, but here’s the information at hand:
- Better sites are required
This means that there will be a new requirement for good URLs. It also means we can wave goodbye to awful navigation structures. Sites will now be punished for poor navigation- thank you, Google! And of course, structure will be considered along with the quality of content. All bars must be passed.
- Emphasis on quality over quantity
This is a tricky stipulation to require universally. It holds true in the new algorithm, but only selectively. If a site’s purpose requires only light education and content, said content will be graded accordingly. So, some sites are going to fair extremely well in the new ranking with “thin” content. Consider the amount of content required in the context of your industry, service or purpose. Match that requirement accordingly. Remember: educate your readers. For that, you don’t always need the most words, but the most effective ones.
So these are the two Google updates for SEO with the most profound effect on site hosts in 2016. Your takeaway should be quality. It’s no longer checking the boxes of items to include, but checking them offer after they’re done supremely well. For more information or consultation on getting your website in check for 2016 Google standards, get in touch with Executive Digital!