SEO in Flux: Navigating Google’s Recent Algorithm Updates
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SEO in Flux: Navigating Google’s Recent Algorithm Updates

It’s been a busy year for those in the SEO space, as Google has released four major algorithm updates since August (compared to three in the first eight months of the year). This round of updates finished rolling out just a couple weeks ago. The most recent changes were:

  • August 22nd – Core (rewards websites that deliver helpful and reliable search results)
  • September 14th – Helpful Content (rewards websites that give users a satisfying experience)
  • October 4th – Spam (penalizes and removes websites that provide no value)
  • October 5th – Core (rewards websites that deliver helpful and reliable search results)

So, what exactly do these updates mean for marketers? It is important for businesses to understand their implications because not adapting to these updates may have a consequential impact on organic searchability and growth.

August Core Update

The August Core Update was a broad update to Google’s search ranking algorithm, designed to improve the quality of search results by rewarding websites that provide high quality content and information, and to diminish sites that are clearly designed only to rank in Google and pull in ad revenue.

September Helpful Content Update

The September Helpful Content Update addresses improving websites that provide helpful content in search results. Helpful Content to Google is content that’s created with a “people first” purpose instead of created just for the sake of ranking well in their search results.

October Spam Update

Spam like cloaking, scraped content, auto-generated content, and hacked websites that frustrate both users and Google was the focus of the October Spam Update. Google’s algorithm was updated to better detect these types of sites and penalize them in the search results.

October Core Update

The more recent of the two Core Updates, October’s update continues to accomplish Google’s goal in improving overall rankings. It targets all types of content in all languages and in all regions. Like the August update, it is not so much a “penalty” for poor web pages as it is a “reward” for helpful web pages.

Overall Impact of the Google Algorithm Updates

Throughout the year we have seen websites that provide high-quality content and information get rewarded, while websites that use spammy tactics or publish low-quality content are penalized. We also see a trend of Google rewarding frequency of updates, when content is updated to be as current and relevant as possible.

What Marketers Can Do

While there is no magic formula on how to rank high on Google, businesses can follow widely accepted best practices to improve their chances by doing the following:

  • Focus on creating content that is designed for humans, not search engines. Information should be relevant, informative, and engaging to your target audience. Make sure that this content is written free of errors, published on a regular basis, and promoted well on social media.
  • Acquire backlinks from high-quality websites relevant to your business niche.
  • Invest in Technical SEO, making sure your website follows Google’s Core Web Vitals best practices by loading fast and being easy to use.
  • Avoid engaging in old-school, spammy SEO tactics like cloaking content, keyword stuffing, and sneaky redirects.

Butler/Till’s Take

Butler/Till always engages in a proactive, rather than reactive, approach when it comes to Google’s search engine results landscape. We are an agency fueled by purpose and that’s why we are a 100% “white hat” SEO provider, meaning we work within the boundaries defined by Google to improve search rankings for our clients, while also maintaining high integrity.

Our SEO team continues to monitor our client’s rankings daily, as well as staying on top of the latest industry news, like Google’s recent announcement of a November Core Update as well as a Reviews Update. It’s true, the world of SEO is complex and ever evolving, but with Butler/Till by your side, you’ll have a trusted partner to help you reach your organic search goals.

See what we can do for you, we can’t wait to chat!

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