Ask for SCORE by Dean Swanson
It goes without saying that all small businesses, regardless of size or industry, should have a website. This is how most consumers discover businesses – by looking for them on one of the search engines. Realistically, Google dominates searches, with an 87.8% share. So it’s also obvious that when Google updates its algorithms (called core updates), it can wreak havoc on your search rankings. As the Search Engine Journal puts it, “Google’s acknowledgment of major updates is always vague and doesn’t provide much detail other than to say the update happened.” Rieva Lesonsky, one of SCORE’s Content Partners and also President and CEO of GrowBiz Media, recently reported some important insights on the subject of search engine operations which are very important for websites.
As Google itself explains, “We back general kernel updates because they usually produce very noticeable effects. Some sites may notice drops or gains during them. We know that those whose sites suffer falls will be looking for a solution, and we want to make sure they’re not trying to fix the wrong things, plus there might not be anything to fix at all.
There may have been a major update in January that impacted your business. So what does this all mean? To get the answers, Lesonsky spoke with Chris Rodgers, CEO and Founder of Colorado SEO Pros.
So many business owners are unaware of major Google updates and the potentially devastating effect they can have on their business. What does all of this actually mean?
Chris Rodgers: Major Google updates typically affect large portions of websites in Google’s index, and often the SEO performance changes resulting from these updates are significant. Whenever we see large-scale changes in search results, there will be both winners and losers, but the payoff for marketers and businesses on the losing side can be huge depending on revenue. commercial that they generate thanks to referencing.
How often (usually) does Google remove these updates? Is there a timetable?
Rodgers: There’s no timeline, but Google usually releases a few each year. Last year we had three core algorithm updates, along with many other major updates and countless minor updates throughout the year.
Do they warn companies before the fact?
Rodgers: It’s very rare to get a warning before an update, and I don’t believe there’s ever been a warning before a major update. There were a few updates that Google told us about ahead of time – Google notified businesses and marketers about the mobile-first update so that [companies] could make their websites mobile-friendly. Google provided notifications about the page experience update in advance, so the site loading speed and user experience were improved on websites before the update.
Does Google notify people/companies after an update? Or do companies just know when their business is affected?
Rodgers: Google will generally confirm core algorithm updates, as well as other targeted updates after they appear. There are, however, countless updates that Google does not confirm. SEO industry professionals communicate and share data to understand how the update affects websites and use this information to navigate the strategy. One of the big advantages of SEO agencies is that they usually manage a site collection, which allows them to have first-hand insight into how the update affects the websites of different clients.
Do consumers know what is going on or are they oblivious to everything?
Rodgers: The typical consumer has no idea; you should be plugged into SEO news on some level.
Is there any reasoning behind Google’s decisions to make these updates?
Rodgers: Google is always looking to improve its algorithm to improve search results and the user experience when visiting Google. Google makes its money from the search engine through the ads it shows to search engine users. The more people who use Google, the more money Google makes.
If businesses notice a drop in business after a Google update, how can they recover?
Rodgers: Different agencies or SEO managers will approach these changes in different ways; however, some typical approaches are common. At our agency, we start by learning everything we can about the specific update and get as much data as possible by tapping into the insights of SEO communities to see what’s being observed. It can take days or even weeks before the dust settles and everything becomes clear. You don’t want to analyze while an update is rolling out – you’ll jump to conclusions based on incomplete data and risk creating the wrong strategy or wasting valuable time. Once we learn everything possible from outside sources and analyze our clients’ website SEO data, we can create a strategy that makes sense. These could be content changes, backlinks, trust issues, or dozens of other possible solutions.
Is there a secret list of Google SEO must-haves? I’ve heard various things about the best word count for blogs (over 1500?), the minimum word count in a blog (350?), boring titles are the best (are they?), etc. .
Rodgers: There are definitely SEO best practices that should be followed, and there are plenty of documented resources for those practices. There are hundreds of algorithm factors and AI layers in Google’s technology, but no secret list [exists]. You should focus your content on serving your audience in the most authentic and valuable way possible, reflect on customer pain points, consider the buyer’s journey, and provide expert advice and solutions.
That’s a lot for most small business owners to figure out on their own. Hiring an agency gives you access to expert feedback, ideas, and solutions. You can get additional help from a SCORE mentor.
Dean Swanson is a volunteer Certified SCORE Mentor and past SCORE Chapter President, District Director and Regional Vice President for the Northwest Region.