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3200 Google Algorithm Changes in One Year

By Debi Katsmar

Posted in Web Design, SEO

A little advice from Google in what your website should have to work well with their core algorithm updates. 

Is your website a needle in a haystack?

Google warned us for months. Business owners are just too busy to heed warnings in many cases especially when it comes to their website. Often reactions are based after the fact when suddenly their website is not performing as well as it was in the previous months. 

Did you know, according to Neil Patel (you know that name right?), Google did 3200 algorithm changes in one year! 

Website Speed

So one of these changes took affect in July -- now website speed (in loading) is a ranking factor. Actually, speed has been a ranking factor for quite some time but on desktops. Now the 'speed update' is focused on mobile. People want information and they want it now! 


You have heard us talk about content on your website being important - it must be relevant, authoritative and trustworthy (RAT). Well now after the latest core updates from google, even more so. RAT has changed to EAT - Expertise, Authoritative, Trustworthy. 

Google offers a document called Search Quality Evaluator Guide to help you determine the quality of the content on your website. It is a pretty extensive document that deals with all of the information the algorithms look for. On page 25 however, you will find an overview of what is required for the highest quality pages on your website, here's an excerpt: 

5.0 Highest Quality Pages

Highest quality pages are created to serve a beneficial purpose and achieve their purpose very well. The distinction
between High and Highest is based on the quality and quantity of MC, as well as the level of reputation and E-A-T.
What makes a page Highest quality? In addition to the attributes of a High quality page, a Highest quality page must
have at least one of the following characteristics:
● Very high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
● A very satisfying amount of high or highest quality MC.
● Very positive website reputation for a website that is responsible for the MC on the page. Very positive reputation
of the creator of the MC, if different from that of the website.

In a recent post, Google also provided a document for website owners to self-assess their site for the content quality, focusing on 4 key areas to ask about your site: 

  1. Content and Quality Questions 
  2. Expertise Questions
  3. Presentation and Production Questions
  4. Comparative Questions

Anyone who works with us knows how often we remind you - content, content, content. Forgetting Google's algorithm for now, your website has to be found when people search for the product or service they are in need of. For example - If I were looking to buy white wicker patio furniture would your patio furniture website show up - probably, but would my search result take me to the page with wicker patio furniture on it? That would depend on the content in your website... does it say 'white wicker' on your site.  Consumers are precise in what they search for.  And today with Sirri, Alexa, Hey Google your terminology also should consider how people search verbally versus typing -- people generally type grammatically correct, but not so much when searching by speaking to the latest gadget for this purpose. 

These algorithm changes can dramatically affect your website's performance. The recent changes had my site gain rankings for 3 keywords and lose rankings for 5 keywords. One of my client's sites dropped dramatically due to the changes - we've been scrambling since to adjust for the algorithm change and bring traffic back to what it was. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): What You Can Do

SEO is not something you set once and leave it. It is a constant work in progress. Constantly adding, modifying and changing to adapt to not only the algorithms but to what your customers are searching for. Your content should cover the what, where, when, why and how - or if you prefer the 5 P's of marketing: people, product, place, promotion, and price. It is no longer good enough to say you sell widgets. Everything about that widget should be outlined in detail for your customer to know everything they need to know to make the decision to buy that widget. There are many things to be considered on your site for SEO purposes: 

  1. Content - one paragraph about your product or service isn't good enough 
  2. Speed - consumers want websites that load quickly on every device - Google ranks speed now, particularly on mobile
  3. Easy to read - your pages are pleasing to the eye, with headlines, bullets, paragraphs - one big block of text doesn't work - consumers are in a hurry, they skim!
  4. Photos and images - optimized to load quickly
  5. Headlines - not exaggerated or sensationalized
  6. Authority and Trust - include your credentials, information about you and your company, links to other sites to support your claims
  7. Reviews and Testimonials 
  8. Tips, Instructions - information that assists your visitor to learn more about the information they are searching for
  9. Contact - easy for visitors to contact you 
  10. Links to social platforms or other areas visitors can learn more about you and your products/services
  11. IMPORTANT: ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  12. Get a SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) technology encrypting the link between your server and a browser.

If you require help, contact us for a free report on where to start your SEO. 

Websites: Then and Now

When we think back to when we started building websites, the internet was relatively new, many businesses did not even have email addresses yet, and consumers certainly didn't. At this time, a website often was simply a few photos and how to reach you with lots of flashing gifs and bright colours -- Thankfully times have changed! 

Funny, the comments we heard at the time were: 

The world wide web is just a fad, I don't need it; or

I am brick and mortar, my customers come to the store, I don't need the website.

These people couldn't be more wrong. The world wide web certainly wasn't a fad, and the brick and mortar stores require a website more today than ever before. Consumers today start their research online. Only when they are satisfied they have done their homework do they make a decision as to where to buy. This research is usually done online. People today do not have time to drive from store to store to get information... think about your own habits when it comes to purchasing something. What do you do? 

Today the comments we get are:

My website doesn't do anything, why spend money on it? 

We know we should upgrade our website, but it is too expensive. 

Your website is an investment, not an expense. 

Consider the two statements above. We have found the businesses telling us their site doesn't work, in most cases have no clue whether it works or it doesn't. Often there are no analytics set up to measure traffic to the site and what pages visitors are finding. There is nothing on the website to generate leads or drive traffic to the store. Last week, we were on a website that had no address, no phone number and no email address. It had a great photo of the store and the city it was located in - no wonder their website doesn't work. No longer is creating a website with how to reach you good enough - you might as well save the money you spent to do this. 

And too expensive - consider this? 

Your website works 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year for peanuts in comparison to the sales team you have working 40 hours per week at substantial expense to the company. If you have the content on your website that provides the information your customers are searching for, if you have contact forms or lead generating forms with value-added information for your customers, the website will work for you. It will start generating leads and guess what -- this in turn, will help your sales team close more sales. If your website is doing its job, it definitely is an investment in growing your business, not just an expense that is ignored to say it doesn't work.  

Ask us where to start!

Recently, we built a new website for a client who we had been asking for the business for years. His website was old, had little content, it wasn't mobile friendly and provided little information for his customers. This client before giving us the go ahead to build, had done his homework. He provided us with pages and pages of content, photographs, how tos, videos and more. It took us a little time to assemble it all and adjust content for SEO purposes, but in the end the site is 79 pages, filled with content for his customers, some ecommerce but more importantly my client is receiving orders, requests for quotes and new business from businesses across Canada that didn't know his company existed until the launch of the new website. 

To know that we are actually selling from the website within the first few weeks is Awesome!!! I believe we have 9 orders now in 2 weeks that we would definitely not had with the other website.

I would highly recommend your services and talent to anyone that I know.  ~ Tim Proctor, 

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