A Google core update is a major change in how the Google algorithm works. They do it to improve the service with specific intent. For example, they want to reduce keyword spamming. A Google core update has one ultimate goal—to serve the users better.
Does it affect SEO? Yes, it does. Many websites that bear the brunt of the impact lose their ranking positions. But how? I will discuss today, and I will also share only one technique that makes your website core update-proof.
1. It reduces spam links
Link-building activities indeed increase the ranking status of a webpage. So, what did corrupt webmasters do? First, they spammed many sites to link back to their respective websites. People sold link placements. As such, they managed to rank their blogs on Google even if their articles were of poor quality.
Google addressed this with the Penguin core update in 2012. Today, the system knows if the backlinks leading to your blog are coming from spam websites—that you bought them from private blog networks.
Because of this update, search results show more relevant and valuable content. However, if you buy backlinks, the system knows, and you get penalized in the rankings.
2. It reduces useless content
The core update that did this was the Panda update. Its goal was to reduce articles that come from “content farms.”
It was released in 2011 when websites published hundreds of repetitive articles of no real value to the reader.
The Panda update enabled the system to determine the quality of an article and rank them as a human being would. Today, you can no longer publish garbage content. If you want to rank, it has to be of high quality.
Many bloggers gave up. Writing a high-quality article is complicated. The update also gave rise to a new breed of writing. Today, you either write quality stuff yourself or hire an affordable writer who can deliver.
3. It reduces fakery
The internet is chockful of fake gurus and masterminds. They have so much confidence in themselves; they sound credible. The result? Their viewers lose money.
Examples of these bloggers are financial gurus who convince you to trade in stocks. Another one is a person who peddles medical alternatives.
Google released the YMYL update, also called the E-A-T, in 2019. YMYL means “your money, your life.” EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
These updates impacted fake gurus. As a result, their website rankings went down, and they can no longer have as many victims as possible of their fraud.
It does affect SEO because you have to meet some conditions to rank. First, the system knows whether or not you really are an expert in an industry as you claim to be. Second, it determines your level of authority by checking the entire internet who you really are.
Lastly, the system determines how trustworthy you are based on social signals. In short, you cannot fake it anymore. Any blog that has something to do with health, money, and happiness is impacted.
4. It reduces bad search engine suggestions
It frustrates a user to see results on Google that have nothing to do with what he is looking for. Google fixed this with the BERT update, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.
It does change how the algorithm “reads” information and then classify the content in the index more accurately. With the update, the machine better understands the words in a blog post.
For example, a person may use the term “PS.” The system now knows if the content is about PlayStation or Photoshop with the BERT update.
In SEO, it forces bloggers to use long-tailed keywords. This way, the system can match the content with the user’s intent.
5. It reduces unusable content
Sometimes, companies do well in SEO that they appear in search results to a person who cannot use the information.
For example, some businesses will show up in search results. However, these businesses are in another country. Just imagine the frustration of the user looking for a plumber in Sydney, and then he sees a plumbing service located in California.
The Possum update fixed this. If a business is off the city limits, the search algorithm will not show it to the user.
SEO, it now prevents businesses from spamming. These businesses appeared in search results because they used different cities as keywords. For example, a plumbing service in California would use New York, Texas, and other keywords just to rank.
Because they spam their content with keywords, they appear in search results. The release of the possum update now prevents their businesses from appearing.
What should you do to core update-proof your website?
Google Search has only one goal: to give the most useful and most relevant source of information to the user in an ethical way.
The only search optimization approach you should use is white hat—nothing else. Stop buying backlinks. Do not spam your articles with keywords. Do not buy traffic.
The only thing you should do is provide value to your readers and increase your traffic organically. If you do anything else to game the system, you will suffer from a core update.
Again, do not do anything to game the system. An update that will pull down your rankings. It is not a matter of if but a matter of when.
Summary: What Are Google Core Updates and How Do They Affect SEO?
Google core updates are significant changes to how the search engine works. It affects SEO because the system is intelligent enough to determine spam and useless content. As such, the search engine will not show these sites in the top pages of search results, or not at all.
The only thing you can do to prevent updates from impacting you negatively is to provide real value to the readers. Do not game the system, and no core update will affect your blog.
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