Search Engine Optimisation is a zero-sum game
SEO is a zero-sum game.
What’s bad news for one website could be good for another.
You might benefit from climbing a spot or two. A page or two.
Break into the top 3 places and it could be a game changer for your business.
If your motives are in-line with Google’s view of the web-wide-world then by jingo, thou shalt be rewarded.
If, prior to Google’s mobilegeddon update, your site was mobile’s bff.
Then arise, Lord Liquid Layout.
Prior to Google’s Panda update, you might have invested time creating thorough, unique, compelling content.
Arise, King of Content.
Perhaps if you had your SSL in place before Google’s update to flag non https sites as ’not secure’ then arise, Sir Site Security III.
OK, the last one was not a core update, but you get the message.
It’s about being prepared. And then subsequently rewarded.
What should I do to prepare?
The best way to get ready for a core update is to worry less about what Google are doing.
And more about what you are doing.
Be less concerned about trying to guess how Google will interpret signals.
And focus more on how to add value to your visitors.
Do you know why?
Some things never change
Because, like the cast of Disney’s Frozen once sung, some things never change.
Whatever the update, one fact remains consistent.
The job of the search engine is to always recommend the best sites for the user’s query.
So your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to:
- Make sure your site provides the best information or solutions for that query.
- Make it easy for Google to recognise this.
How do I do that?
How does a Formula One racing team win a championship?
They have the fastest car? One of the best drivers? Possibly. Often both.
But the fact is, thousands of successful factors must combine to make this happen.
Sure, just like the driver or engine power, some aspects more important than others.
But it’s about optimising everything for peak performance.
What should I do to monitor whether my site has been impacted?
1. Check-in with Google.
Put a little time aside to explore Google Analytics and Search Console.
You’ll be able to take a look at the data.
- How many website visitors?
- Where did they come from?
- What device are they using?
- What search terms brought them here?
- Where’d they go?
2. Use other keyword tracking tools
Specialised tracking tools can monitor performance across a wide range of criteria.
Such as device, location different search engines and even analysing different user intent.
They will notify you when your rankings change.
And you can have them monitor your competition too.
See how they are performing for the same keywords and key phrases.
If someone has gotten the jump on you following a recent update, it might be worth a deeper dive to investigate why.
There are plenty of other free (and freemium) SERP tracking tools available.
To name just a few.
3. Just keep swimming
Ignore the fact that two Disney references in one post is way too much and understand that search-engine-land is a volatile place.
Your website ranking can go up as well as down.
Think of the search landscape as fluid. Forever in motion.
It’s important to work consistently to improve your offering.
Google once likened core updates to a list of top movies.
One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.
So what they’re saying is, your website doesn’t need to change for your ranking to change.
Other sites might come up and knock you off your perch.
Or, your offering might be interpreted as offering more value.
But unlike a classic 80s movie like Lost Boys, which should get more credit now than it did…
A website that hasn’t changed in a year is less likely to receive accolades.
In fact, that’s only really likely to happen if you improve it.
Work on it. Keep working on it.
Keep swimming and you may reach the surface.
Stop swimming and your site will slowly sink.
You see, SEO is a little like going to the gym.
Go consistently, work hard. You’ll see results.
Stop going. What happens?
Well, you may need to loosen that belt again.
So what is this next update all about?
Well, there are a few planned for the summer of 2021.
There are two ‘core‘ updates planned for June and July.
And a kind of ‘bonus’ one related to Page Experience.
The page experience update includes signals designed to reflect how fast and smooth the browsing experience is for the user.
You’ll hear a lot about Core Web Vitals.
What are Core Web Vitals?
In short, it’s a way of scoring your page based on things like load time.
And whether, as you load the page, things hot-step around the page.
Maybe the style of text changes in front of your eyes, or buttons and text jump about a bit.
These new signals complement factors already in play regarding page experience.
Things like mobile compatibility and site security for instance.