The latest 2019 Google update began rolling out on September 24th. When it comes to search engine optimization, keeping up with any new Google algorithm update is a big part of the job. Updates change the way search engines calculate high-quality results. This, in turn, affects where webpages rank for search queries. It also affects the level of traffic a website may receive for all the hard work invested.
As always, SEO specialists keep a keen lookout for any changes, however minor. Some marketers at first believed that the update wouldn’t have a strong effect on website performance. This is because even though the core update went live on the 24th, it took some time to take effect.
This year, the search engine giant adopted the habit of confirming any 2019 Google update via Twitter. The September update followed the same trend. If you don’t follow Google’s Twitter page for SEO announcements, you can find them at @searchliaison. In its Twitter announcement, Google confirmed that it would take several days for the update to hit data centers around the world.
Some people wondered if Google would announce when the core update completed its rollout. The data company said no. Google’s search liaison officer believes it would mislead people. Note that Google continues to make smaller updates over time.
Effects of the Update
On the first day or so, many marketers reported via Twitter, company blogs and other mediums that they didn’t notice any big changes. In contrast, a few people on Twitter mentioned uncharacteristic spikes in traffic, recoveries from the 2019 Google update in June or temporary declines in website traffic.
Google reminds marketers that a decline in traffic doesn’t mean the website violated its webmaster guidelines. Because Google’s method of calculating high-quality content changes, results change. The content beneath the radar may now gain the attention it deserves. Ranking these higher ultimately means they replace other search results, thus pushing those results further down.
The Search Metrics blog states that one of the main factors tackled in this 2019 Google update is making adjustments for health, money and other sensitive consumer topics. Search Engine Land’s findings seemed to confirm this. It illustrated that some sectors took a greater hit from this update than others. Here are the industries experiencing the highest levels of volatility:
What To Do
Google’s general advice when it comes to its updates is to do nothing. This makes sense when you consider the purpose of the search engine. While it is an ally of marketers, Google’s main priority is its own search engine users. The point of an update is to improve how the engine calculates high-quality and useful content.
That SEO specialists will make changes to websites is inevitable, but what Google wants most of all is for content creators to focus on quality. Even so, it understands that a website owner may become concerned. The search company recommends the following when conducting audits after a 2019 Google update.
1. Check Your Expertise
How likely are consumers to trust the content on your page? Is it the kind of website a news agency or another business would feel confident linking to as a source? Or would these individuals respect your credibility enough to request your authoritative input? Are there any errors you left unresolved? Your website should portray yourself, your brand or your company as an expert.
2. Evaluate Content Quality
Is the content on the website unique or is it plagiarized from somewhere else? Making minor changes to content from another website and using it on your own — even if the other site also belongs to you — will affect the way that content ranks. Is it well-written and edited? How appealing are the meta descriptions and page titles used? Did you put in the time and research necessary? All of these play a role not just in ranking but the CTR after a 2019 Google update.
3. Consider the Visuals
Having too many ads on your website can make it difficult to use. Ads with images and videos may also slow down the website. Websites are slowest on mobile devices, particularly when people don’t have access to high-speed internet. Too many bells and whistles and hard-to-navigate setups also pose problems even when they load quickly. These can cause customers to abandon the website. Forbes notes that high bounce rates do have an impact on your website’s SEO ranking.
4. Look Up the Competition
Too many business owners believe their SEO strategies operate in a vacuum. They may think that if they practice good SEO tactics, this is all they need to rank well. The problem is, what if your competitors are also practicing good SEO tactics? Then, it really comes down to whose SEO strategies and content is better. It is important to consider what comparative value your website provides next to your competitors’. If other sites do a better job of satisfying a customer’s needs, then over time, they rank higher.
The Recovery Process
When your website traffic dips after a 2019 Google update, it’s natural to feel anxious. If you get paid by ad revenue, then you feel the impact directly. Google warns that making changes to your website may not guarantee any better results. Still, that may depend on the expertise of the person making changes.
If you’ve experienced a traffic decline or just want to take advantage of new opportunities for better ranking, try our free SEO and website analysis. You can also give us a call at 1-800-261-1537.