Google continues to roll out updates that create better user experiences. Discover more about how these updates affect your digital marketing strategies.
Google algorithms aren’t nearly as terrifying as they once were. While they still make headlines and change things up for SEO, the effects are generally much less noticeable.
When the first algorithms were rolled out, they needed to transform the way search was handled. Spammy and low-quality content was weeded out, affecting webmasters across the board. Over time, the algorithms have become more specific, better understanding the intent behind the search.
If you’ve read any advice on how to remain resilient, it probably goes something like this: write quality content that appeals to your audience. It’s good feedback, as the purpose is to create a positive user experience that leads to improved SEO and rankings. But what other types of updates are being rolled out in the background that could be affecting your digital marketing strategies?
Let’s start by recapping some of the most recent updates made by Google, and then we’ll discuss what you can do to be proactive.
Recent Google Algorithm Updates
Below are some of the most recent Google algorithm updates and the purpose for their launching.
- January 2016, Unnamed Core Update. This update rolled out just over a year ago, and while there wasn’t much information, it appears that long-form, in-depth pieces of content rank higher.
- October 2015, RankBrain. RankBrain is an artificial intelligence (AI) system that helps deliver the best search results to users. Google started using it in the fall of 2015. RankBrain is currently one of the top signals that contributes to a search query.
- May 2015, Quality Update. Called “Phantom 2” by some, this algorithm made a few minor tweaks that had some disastrous results. The update changes the way quality is determined.
- April 2015, Mobilegeddon. Mobilegeddon made mobile-friendliness a key factor in ranking websites. The effects weren’t as significant as predicted, but Mobilegeddon made it clear that mobile websites are an expectation, not a luxury.
- February 2015, Ecommerce Update. Google did not make any official announcements about this update, but many trackers reported that they saw changes in their rankings. The rankings were affected primarily by ecommerce keywords.
- July 2015, Pigeon. Pigeon modified how the search engines interpret location cues. Though the update negatively affected a lot of webmasters, Google assured them that Pigeon creates closer ties between local algorithms and its core algorithm.
- August 2013, Hummingbird. Hummingbird gives attention toward high-quality content. Specifically, this update helped Google recognize full questions and searches in a conversationalist tone.
These are just a few of the most recent algorithm updates, but there have been plenty more. Over the years, the updates have become more fine tuned and strategic compared to the larger and more generalized ones of the past. Still, it’s crucial that you stay on top of these trends and the impact they can have on your marketing strategies.
Aligning Your Marketing Strategies with Google Updates
Inbound marketing strategies are intended to draw people toward your brand so that they can establish relationships and trust your company. The playing field is leveled thanks to Google’s algorithms, as there is no room for cutting corners or cheating your way to the top. Everyone gets the same tools and opportunities for growth and success.
If you pay attention to the updates, you can easily make adjustments to your marketing strategies to better align with the algorithm goals. For instance, if you’ve followed Google’s suggestions, you should have done the following within the last year:
- Contributed in-depth, high-quality content to your blog
- Included keywords that your audience is searching for
- Built a mobile-friendly website (responsive or dedicated)
- Reviewed your site for quality signals
- Removed duplicate or poor-quality content
Above all, it’s imperative that you create marketing strategies that are valuable, engaging and relevant to your audience. It’s not about trying to win over the search engines. It’s about winning over your audience. When people learn to recognize and trust your brand, you will start to see increased traffic, stronger leads and boosted sales.
Who knows what 2017 will bring in terms of algorithm updates. The key is to be proactive so that you can make the proper adjustments to your marketing strategies. Keep on top of the trends, continue to produce high-quality, customer-centric content and write in a tone that is natural and conversational. The more value you provide, the easier people can find you in the search engines. It’s a beautiful thing!