All digital marketers know that there is only one constant about Google’s Search Engine algorithms: they’re always changing. The statistics show that Google updates its algorithm between 500-600 times yearly. Most of those changes are small and don’t drastically impact rankings, while major updates can impact a significant percentage of all Keyword searches and ranking positions. You won’t notice more than half of these Google Search Engine algorithms updates — unless you start losing a significant amount of organic traffic to your website, conversions, and revenue (and believe us, you don’t want that). So, how do we learn to be proactive about Google’s updates rather than reactive? Learn. Strategy. Knowledge. Google’s algorithm updates are part of their ongoing journey to improve the user search experience. Keep reading to know how to stay on top of what they’re doing.
1. 3 Ways to Stay Ahead of Google’s Algorithm Updates in 2023
#1 Learn The Google Mindset
The Google algorithm isn’t something that you can learn. It’s always a work in progress with over 200 components that factor into Google’s algorithm — URL length, Linking, Domain Age, Direct Traffic, or Keywords in Subdomains, etc. As a content creation agency, Estes Media understands the importance of SEO and content marketing. By analyzing and researching, we can develop a strategy for our clients that includes predictions for what Google will update so we can be prepared for whatever lies ahead.
#2 Check Top-Tier Content
Checking out top-tier blogs (and websites) that consistently rank high on SERPs is the easiest way to stay ahead of other marketers and competitors while learning best practices.
#3 Set Google Alerts
Last but not least, you must keep track of Google’s updates. How? Let Google Alerts do the work for you! Monitor the web and receive alerts whenever algorithm updates are mentioned online. How to set up Google Alerts:
• Go to Google Alerts
• Keyword: google algorithm
• Create alert
Now, let’s dive into the 2023 Google major algorithm updates.
2. 2023 Major Updates in Google’s Algorithm
• Engaging Content Publication: Google continues to reward consistent content publications of high-quality and relevant information, giving these websites quicker indexing and higher rankings. Accurate and quality SEO content creation also means a more significant opportunity to attract backlinks, another major factor of Google Trust.
• Trustworthiness: At this point, you’ve heard about using AI tools to create content. But Google is not so happy about it. Google wants high-quality original content, so this factor determines the factual nature of the content. Google advises citing academic sources when possible and avoiding unproven claims to optimize for this factor.
• Keywords in Header Tags: This factor has been eliminated and relegated to the group of 21 factors that comprise only 1% of Google’s algorithm.
• Keywords in Meta Title Tags: Google loosened its definition of what makes words different by a small amount. The difference between “buy tablet” and “buy tablets” used to be noticeable, but it’s less so now. Regardless of its weight in the Google Search Engine algorithm, this factor remains a prerequisite to ranking first.
• Internal Links: This factor went down substantively in the latest updates, giving some of its shares to Trustworthiness. While Google Trust continues to be passed amongst pages of a website, it’s less of a signal to Google than it was in years past.
• Backlinks: Since Google is all about providing the most relevant and helpful search results, it’s a safe bet that they’ll keep releasing updates targeting spam backlinks. So, be sure to keep those backlinks squeaky clean!
• User Engagement: This is one of the most critical factors in Google’s algorithm, in the same echelon of core factors. Understanding search intent and creating the most fulfilling response to the searcher’s intent (both express and implied) should be the primary focus of content creators. Better intent optimization means Google is more likely to show your page for the query. Which, in turn, means more relevant and qualified traffic to your website.
• Niche Expertise: Hub and Spoke SEO is the practice of creating high-level pages targeting relevant Keywords that link to a cluster of secondary pages targeting closely- related Keywords.
3. 2023 Google Algorithm Ranking Factors, Explained
• Engaging Content Publication: Google tests newly published content to see how it responds to the search intent of the Keywords used. If the searcher’s behavior shows that they’re getting their intent satisfied through the website/page’s content, Google will promote it. As a general rule, publishing original content that Google searchers find useful at least twice per week for 4-6 months confers a substantive “bonus” in domain authority to the publisher.
• Trustworthiness: Google updated its algorithm to ensure users aren’t encountering misinformation or disinformation. You must create content that is free of provably false claims and contains citations from academic, government, or other trusted sources.
• Keywords in Meta Title and Header Tags, and others: Adding the relevant Keywords into your page’s Meta Title and Header Tags has been essential to rank high on Google SERPs. It’s worth noting that the placement of Keywords within a Title Tag is important as well. Ideally, your Meta Title Tag contains only your targeted Keyword — but adding articles and adjectives around it is crucial for readability.
• Internal Links: The most effective SEO strategy this year remained the hub and spoke approach, which combines Keywords in Meta Title Tags, Niche Expertise, and Internal Links. The greater the concentration of pages with the same Keyword in their Title Tags, the higher the website will rank for that Keyword, as long as there are Internal Links connecting them. For instance, publishing 20+ articles on different aspects of a subject and linking all of them back to one authoritative page would be a powerful expression of that page’s value — and would earn a higher ranking on Google as a result.
• Backlinks: While Backlinks are still a significant factor in Google’s decision of where to rank a website in its search results, at Estes Media, we know that creating high- quality content should be everyone’s primary focus as it organically earns backlinks.
• User Engagement: Google’s algorithm will rank your website and page quality based on the engagement, which combines: Bounce Rate, Time on Page, and Pages per Session. Google will also consider the different search intents’ performance.
• Niche Expertise: Being a niche expert means having a cluster of 10+ authoritative pages revolving around the same hub Keyword. The consistency of the hub Keyword across the pages of a website creates a kind of magnetism and identity, and it helps to attract traffic from any Google search containing that hub Keyword.
4. 4 Extra Google Algorithm Ranking Factors You Can’t-Miss
Your website must be optimized for a mobile user experience. The standard used to be “Mobile-Friendly,” but Google has shifted to a Mobile-First standard, meaning it expects mobile visitors to be the primary target of your web design. Ideally, the site should look exactly the same on mobile and desktop, and the layout should be simple.
#2 Page Speed
The ranking ability is lost with each additional second it takes for your website to load. Google has always prioritized user experience above all else. That’s why it can serve search results in milliseconds. Your website should take a page from Google’s book and focus on site speed so a page can load as quickly as possible. You can test your page speed on Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool.
#3 Site Security and SSL Certificate
Hackers have become more sophisticated and will become even more dangerous too. Google’s nightmare is to serve up sites that are harmful to its searchers. In the past years, Google began flagging sites as unsafe when they lack or have improperly configured SSL Certificates (indicated by the “s” at the end of “https”) and lowered their ranking ability accordingly. The great news is that an SSL Certificate is usually free and can easily be obtained from your registrar.
#4 Schema Markup and Structured Data
A Schema Markup is a code you can add to your website’s pages to help Google serve more visual search results. Google ranks pages that use Schema Markup because it makes those pages’ search results more useful to searchers. What’s more, it also causes search results to stand out from the rest.
Ready to Rank in Google?
Google is constantly evolving to fulfilling its mission of creating the best possible search experience for its users by serving fast, relevant, and high-quality search results. Although Google Search Engine algorithm updates are something you cannot control, you can always control your website, and by having a solid strategy guiding all SEO efforts, you can make sure algorithm updates do not negatively affect your website’s rankings and traffic. In need of website content creation services? Wondering how to create the best SEO strategy for 2023? We’re a digital marketing and creation agency that can help your business grow online. Get in touch with us!
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