As we’re fully into Quarter 4 of 2021, and the year of volatility when it comes to search rankings continues. Just a couple days into November and Google already has another Spam Update rolling out, and has changed up Google My Business to be called just your Business Profile. Both these changes will have a direct impact on business websites heading into the holiday season
November 2021 Spam Update
Google’s @SearchLiason Twitter account tweeted on November 3rd that they’re rolling out another spam update to the system. This one of several updates this year that has targeted removal of internet spam in 2021. The rollout for this particular update is expected to take about a week. The last one in July took nearly four weeks to fully roll out.
As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. This November 2021 spam update should be fully rolled out within a week. We encourage sites to follow our best practices for Search: https://t.co/jK3ArQmTqT
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) November 3, 2021
Though the Tweet doesn’t specify what Google is targeting specifically with this update, they do encourage best practices when it comes to optimizing websites for SEO. There’s speculation that it could be looking at content spam, link spam, or various other forms of websites that lead to bad traffic and potential harmful websites. Google’s Danny Sullivan who usually chimes in on Twitter to a few questions said “spam updates deal with content that doesn’t follow our guidelines. Core updates are simply an adjustment to how we access content overall.”
What are Google Quality Guidelines?
Google’s quality and general guidelines help the algorithm better find pages. They also help you avoid the effects of specific updates like this week’s Spam Update that look for bad content or bad links.
Some of these guidelines include:
- Ensuring all pages can be reached by a link from another crawable page.
- That your website has a sitemap file with links that point to where you what the Google bots to go.
- Limit the number of links on a page. Too many links looks spammy to Google and could be dinged in one of these updates.
- Use a robots.txt file on your web server to help manage the crawl budget.
Beyond this, it then comes down to providing good content and making sure Google and your website users can understand what they see when visiting your website. It means clear content with specific keywords. Make sure to provide title and alt tags that are descriptive and accurate. And you really need to make sure your site has an intuitive page hierarchy. Google is all about improving the user experience for website rankings. So make sure to keep user and page experience in mind as you design and make changes to your website.
Business Profile Update
In an announcement on November 4th, Google will no longer be calling their directory “Google My Business”, but just “Google Business Profile” moving forward. Making changes or claiming a profile comes directly from products most businesses already use like Google Maps. It will no longer have a separate app.
“It is now easier to complete verification or resolve other issues with your Business Profile. Just search for the name of your business on Google or go to your profile directly in the Google Maps app and you’ll see an option to verify the profile or resolve other issues, like profile suspension. You can also search for ‘my business’ on google Search to get to your Business Profile.”
-Kara, Google Community Manager
One of the big pieces of that announcement is that if you already have claimed your business and created a profile, all you need to do is search for it on Google while you’re logged in, and it will show up so you can make edits to your hours, photos, or even an address if you’re moving. This change won’t effect local SEO efforts too much, just will change how profiles are managed.
This change is really big ahead of the holiday season when more people search for businesses near them than ever before. For businesses that have not claimed their profile, they can complete their setup directly in the Search or through maps. The Google My Business app itself will be retired sometime in 2022.
The current Google My Business website will change to be called “Business Profile Manager” and will focus primarily on larger businesses or franchises with multiple profiles.