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It’s that time of the month again when we look at how the Google search universe has evolved through various updates. From ranking factors to search console features, we cover every update in “Keeping up with Google.”
Google Algorithm Updates
The Google search algorithms decide how your website and its content are ranked on the SERPs. It is crucial that you are updated with the latest happenings and changes in the search algorithm.
In December, Google released a few updates that affected its search algorithm. Let’s take a look at what those updates are.
December 6, Helpful Content Update
If there is one advice that Google has always given to webmasters, it is to create content for the users and not search engines. To ensure that all the websites in a SERP are the most helpful, Google has a classifier system, among other ranking factors.
This classifier system flags websites with unhelpful content and gives Google ranking algorithms a signal to remove the website from certain search results. The December 6, Helpful Content update was an upgrade to this classifier system. The update also made the classifier system available for content across all languages.
What do you need to do about it?
If your website has seen a ranking drop after this update, it is possible that there may be some low-quality unhelpful content on your website. It is best that you remove this content and publish only insightful, informative content that answers the questions of searchers.
A website flagged as unhelpful by the classifier system remains flagged for a few months. After that, when the system sees that the website has stopped publishing unhelpful content, the flag is removed, and your rankings will go back to normal.
December 14, Link Spam Update
Another important update in December was the Link Spam update. This was a follow-up update to the previous link spam update, and it is expected to finish rolling out by the end of the year.
Instead of only identifying spammy links, Google will now probe further to identify the buyer and the seller of these links.
It will utilize the SpamBrain AI to reduce the impact of unnatural links on search results. Unnatural links are backlinks to your website placed only to increase the domain or page authority of your website.
What do you need to do about it?
As a website owner, it is important that your website gets backlinks from authoritative sources. This helps you increase the credibility of your website and increase the chances of ranking higher on Google.
Getting these backlinks is tough, and you may be tempted to take the shortcut and buy a few links from some SEO service provider. But you should refrain from doing that. The link spam update was specifically released to identify who is buying these spammy links and where they are buying these links from.
Instead, roll up your sleeves and take a deep dive into whatever topic you are creating content about and create the best possible content. That is the only natural way of getting backlinks.
December 15, Google Adds another ‘experience’ to ‘E.A.T.’
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are important factors that Google uses to evaluate the quality of search engine results. This measure of the quality of information on a webpage helps Google algorithms find the best match to search queries.
With the updated search rater guidelines, Google took a step further and added another ‘E’ to the ‘E.A.T.,’ making it E.E.A.T., which now stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
There are many situations when a searcher would want search results that have actually gone and experienced the topics they are talking about. For example, if you want to learn about computing software, you would like to read or watch a video from somebody that actually used the software.
That is why Google has added another ‘E’ to ‘E.A.T.,’ for Experience. From now on, Google will also gauge whether the publisher of a piece of content has actually experienced the things they are talking about.
What you need to do about it?
As webmasters, you must ensure that everything you publish has a lot of insights and actionable information. Doing this will help you establish E.E.A.T. in your domain.
If you are about to create content about a topic that needs real-life trials and research, go and experience it first. Simply reading what others have said about the topic and repeating that in your own words will not be helpful anymore.
The buzz in the SEO community was largely about the helpful content and link spam updates. While many websites saw a drop in traffic, the majority of the websites did not see any major changes to their web traffic.
Apart from these developments, Google hosted a Product Expert Summit in Singapore. It was a fun-filled event where Google employees interacted with SEO professionals and shared their insights about various aspects of ranking on Google.
Another notable event is the Virtual Unconference, which will be conducted in Spanish in February 2023. If you are interested in participating in the event, you can register here.
That was all for this month’s ‘Keeping up with Google.’ Until next time, continue creating helpful content, work hard to get natural backlinks, and keep ranking high on Google.
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