Google continues to rule the web and its search ranking is one of the closely watched algorithms by webmasters all over the globe. From time to time, Google makes updates that see other sites coming up while others going down in rankings. In the month of May 2015 for instance, website owners and administrators noticed a number of changes in their site rankings which brought the speculation that Google could be implementing a new update. However, a clarification by Google later on confirmed that the search volatility was not related to Panda but rather a quality update.
Referred to as the Quality Algo or Quality Update, the sweeping changes in Google search ranking were aimed at rewarding quality content. Formerly, the update was known as the Phantom Update because it came without an advance warning or a confirmation from Google. Sites with quality content are poised to reap big from this update because of enhanced rankings and more traffic.
The Quality Update was done in line with Google’s mandate to provide its users with quality information. This means if you consistently create quality content, you will be able to maintain or even enhance your rankings for your targeted keywords which will in turn drive more traffic to your site.
What You Should Know About the Quality Update
As opposed to Penguin and Panda which were focused on penalising or eliminating spammy content occupying prime positions on search engine results, the new Google Quality Update assumes a new approach. Instead of directly punishing the low quality sites, its concentration is on getting quality content noticed by ranking it high up the search engine results pages. This automatically pushes down low quality content.
In a nutshell, the new Quality Update is intended to empower the search engine to process quality signals and differentiate authoritative and non-authoritative sites based on the content found on the site. The new search factors incorporated in the algorithm help to determine the worth of a site.
What You Need to Do
Depending on what you have witnessed from your end as a webmaster, there are a number of steps you must take to enhance your ranking and prevent relegation down the search engine results pages. For instance, if you have not noticed any changes in search engine ranking or decrease in traffic flow then it means you are doing some credible work and you must keep on because more quality updates are likely to follow in the near future.
On the other hand, if you have been affected negatively by the quality update, it simply means that your site was not found worthy based on your content and you must therefore step up your efforts so as to improve your content quality, reclaim your position and further boost your rankings. As you assess the quality of your content, you must measure it against Google’s quality guidelines to see whether it meets all the provisions. You need to conduct a content audit.
Google Quality Signals and Guidelines
Google has guidelines it uses to determine the quality of your content. These are the same guidelines it incorporates into its algorithm to form ranking signals. Among the things to keep in mind as far as Google quality signals are concerned are:
- Duplicate and redundant content – Google severely punishes this and will hurt your website in the long run. Always develop unique and relevant content to avoid the duplicate penalty.
- Thin content – This type of content does not get results and instead you should publish information your audience finds worthy.
- Develop your content by first prioritising your audience and then search engines.
- Your content should build trust with your audience to a point where they can share critical information with you without any fears.
To sum it up, Google wants to see trustworthy, unique, purposeful and visitor-centric content that answers your target audience concerns questions. Your focus as the webmaster should be on the provision of information that can help your site visitors in making informed decisions. As a small business, you need to diligently follow Google’s best practices and focus more on solving real human needs. You should also be vigilant on your site performance by continuously monitoring and making improvements where necessary.
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