Google recently released an article discussing how their algorithm updates may affect sites, and gave SEO tips on how to continue to rank well.
I wanted to summarize my thoughts and takeaways, especially for food bloggers.
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Google states again that they are always making algorithm changes, but several times a year a larger update happens, and they always try to let everyone know what that will entail. For instance, when they placed more emphasis on mobile-friendly sites, they informed people well in advance. (Read my post: 3 Ways to Review Your Blog in Mobile View.)
Google also stresses that just because a site moves down in ranking, that doesn’t mean anything needs fixing. I know this is hard to hear, but it’s often true!
My 6 top questions Google says to ask yourself
Then Google lists several questions to ask yourself about your content. They listed many, but I find that these are most relevant to food bloggers:
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
- Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
So much could be unpacked from these six questions, but I’d summarize them by saying Google is looking for very high-quality content that is also user-friendly.
If you want more details on these, and all the 20 questions Google suggested, read through my Google’s SEO Tips series.
Focus on E-A-T
The article then talks about focusing on E-A-T, or Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, but doesn’t go into what that means. Instead, they link to a few articles, like this one, to explain more about it. If you want a few practical tips, I also suggest this article on 5 tips to improve your E-A-T from Search Engine Journal.
This comment was interesting…
“It’s also important to understand that search engines like Google do not understand content the way human beings do. Instead, we look for signals we can gather about content and understand how those correlate with how humans assess relevance. How pages link to each other is one well-known signal that we use. But we use many more, which we don’t disclose to help protect the integrity of our results.“
This seems like it is trying to discourage a focus on link building, while encouraging the use of other online mediums, suggesting signals from social media and other relevant sites play a large part in your SEO ranking.
Google seems to be increasingly steering people into being user-focused rather than SEO-focused. The last of the questions I posted above says to write content for users, not for Google.
This is the trend across the board in web design, an increased focus on user experience (UX). As Google, Bing and Pinterest’s algorithms all become more sophisticated all the little tricks we’ve used to beef up our SEO will stop working.
In 20 years, will SEO as we know it even be a thing? It’s an interesting question, and I think the answer is no. The algorithms will be so advanced that the whole conversation will shift to being focused about great quality content, what that means, and how it’s done.
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