While Google’s intentions aren’t to incite the downfall of any good website, its updates sometimes do.
Google’s intentions are sometimes adequate not only to those sites violating SEO standards but also to those trying so hard to meet those standards.
I might have shot this a bit far, but to meet up with those with just little to no idea about what Google updates are, I’ll start by taking a brief stroll into what the Google updates comprise.
What are Google Updates?
To better understand this, let’s look at Google’s algorithm.
Google’s algorithm is a complex system used by the search engine to classify web pages and suggest the best possible match to a user search.
To improve how those results are matched for each query or deliver the best result possible, the algorithm needs to keep getting smarter and adapting to new developments in the worldwide web.
That calls for periodic updates to the algorithm by Google, hence the “Google Updates.”
Now, we can define the Google updates as those changes in the algorithm that redefine how the search engine calculates rankings.
Many sites are already working toward older processes, and a change to how Google looks at those web pages will influence their visibility on SERPs.
Now, you may ask, what is the point of these updates?
The objective of Google’s updates is simply about improving the quality and relevance of search engine results.
How Often Do Those Updates Come-by
To understand this better, let’s look into how these updates are classified based on their release frequency.
You can categorize Google into two:
The first is the minor update that happens without you as a webmaster noticing it directly through your site’s ranking.
This kind of update occurs more frequently.
The second covers significant algorithm updates that significantly influence how web page rankings are calculated and the ranking factors to consider for those calculations.
The thing is that major or core updates by Google come less frequently, but the effect is downright.
The core updates by Google come with their aliases, and while it does aim for quality, your site may be affected by it negatively.
It is essential in your SEO strategy to pay massive attention to the coming Google update, so it doesn’t affect you drastically and make you feel hard to recover.
While the search engine announced the May 2021 Google Page Experience Update six months earlier, we may not be that lucky to get updates, so it is essential to remain proactive.
That said, we’re going to dive into the real business; getting your website ready for the next Google update.
1. Tidy up Your Website and Get Rid of Errors
There may be some junk on your website that deserves cleaning.
You must find out what they are and confiscate them from your site.
You may ask what these junks can be, and of course, I have some examples.
Those broken links that always lead to a redirected error page, plugins that have been out-of-date or no longer in use, media compatibility issues, and more can put your site in bad shape.
The features above contribute to a bad user experience and implicate your SEO.
In order not to be double-struck by the next update, make sure that your website is clean of mistakes and is at its best performance.
The examples I mentioned above are not the only things to take care of during the cleanup of your site.
There’s other basic stuff you must deal with.
For example, if your copyright statement reflects 2019 or even a year, won’t it be professional of you to update it for the current year?
Well, this may be basic, but figuring out and updating those minor parts of your website will add up to your credibility and make Google feel comfortable ranking your site better.
2. Optimize Your Website for Speed
Your site loading speed is another essential factor that affects your SEO, and for the next Google update, you don’t want to give the algorithm any chance to affect your ranking than it has to.
While your site loading speed directly affects users’ experiences on your site, if your pages load slowly, this will yield an increase in your bounce rate and negatively affect your ranking on search result pages.
Make sure your website is optimized to load more quickly when users browse through it.
The first step to this is to analyze how fast your pages are loading, thanks to free tools like the Google page insights and its likes, which allow you to check the loading speed of your site for free.
This will significantly assist you in determining whether your site loading speed is okay or not.
Having checked your site and found the need to optimize it for speedy loading, you may want to find out things that can make your pages load heavily so you can get things fixed.
Large-sized images are one culprit behind the poor loading speed, and while they give users a better view because of quality, their large sizes make your pages take longer to load.
The number of plugins on your site also plays a significant role as they contribute to the heavy loading speed of the website.
Database files are other factors that contribute to this; in fact, various other factors influence the speed of loading things on your site.
The key is to find out what makes things slower and then optimize.
There are a couple of ways to optimize your site for speed, including caching plugins, lazy loading, minifying your website scripts, uploading your files on a different server than where your site is, etc.
Solve this problem, and you’ll make users feel at ease in browsing your site, which adds to your SEO in the long run.
3. Get Rid of Low-Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are significant ranking factors, but if they are of low quality, they might do more harm to your site’s SEO than good.
Low-quality backlinks are simply those links that appear to be spammy or irrelevant in the view of search engines.
Ever since the Google Penguin 4.0 update, the search engine has frowned upon these kinds of backlinks.
When preparing for the next update, you must assess your backlink profile remove those low-quality backlinks.
The first step is to analyze your backlinks using any of your preferred backlink analysis tools.
You must approach the web admins from the respective sites with links pointing to your site and ask them to help take those low-quality links down.
If you have no chance of getting the links down, you can disavow them, and you don’t need to bother anymore.
4. Concentrate on White Hat SEO
The SEO techniques fall into two; black hat and white hat SEO.
The first covers SEO practices that do not comply with the search engine policies, and the sole aim of practitioners here is to rank their sites through any possible means.
That can include misleading ways, exploiting algorithm vulnerabilities for SEO gains deceiving the search engines by feeding them with different information than that provided for the readers, etc.
While the black hat SEO can be a fast way to build search engine authority for your site, there is no guarantee that success will last long.
We’ve witnessed the downfall of many famous sites in the past.
The peak of this is when Google rolls out some of its updates.
Most of these sites leverage black hat SEO techniques for their growth and thus help take them to the ground.
As you can see, a black hat is not an option here, and this leaves us with only a second choice, white hat SEO.
White hat SEO deals with ranking your site according to SEO best practices and building long-lasting success by concentrating on quality and giving your readers value.
These qualities are what these algorithm changes are all about, and following them will ultimately ensure success in the long run.
As you take steps to prepare for the next update, ensure that your SEO strategies are built based on the white hat.
If you’ve previously found your site by leveraging some black hat techniques, please do well to undo what you can and hire an expert to clear up the persisting mess.
5. Make Your Site More Secure
Did you already have an SSL certificate installed?
If not, now is an excellent time to install it on your website.
While this improves the security of your site and its users, search engines are more than ever before placing heavier priorities on those sites having HTTPS over others with just an HTTP connection.
Looking up your site to know if it does contain HTTPS is easy as you can get to know that from your website address in any browser by the additional “s” or a symbolic padlock sign shows you’re already running on a secure socket layer.
While some domain providers give SSL certificates out to web admins on their networks for free, you may be required to purchase that on some providers.
With a site that has additional security, you are good to go.
Preparing You and Your Website for the Next Update
I’ve laid out five crucial tips for getting ready for the next Google update, but will that be all that you need to do?
Of course not.
There are more things to do as we have no clear thoughts on what the upcoming update will be about.
The basic rule here is to concentrate on quality content delivery, adding value to readers, solving their problems, and performing things the white-hat way.
Going by this, you’ll position your site for long-term success and save it from future penalties or from getting affected by the next Google update.
In light of all that I have said, I like to ask you a question which I’d be glad to have your input in the comments section.
What do you do differently to help your site get through the following Google Update?
What do you think?