Finally, we knew this was coming, and now it is here, Google posted advice on what you can do it help your site perform better in the Google search rankings in the days of Google’s core algorithm updates. This is despite Google saying there is no fix, they repeated, there is no fix, but Google is trying to help site owners focus more on overall quality.
First of all, this reminds me about the post about update about updates — updates to our search algorithms.
Double Down on No Fix.
Google said it again, there is no fix. Google wrote “We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.” Google added “As explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something.”
Google added this:
There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.
One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.
The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.
Got it – no fix.
Here Is What You Can Fix.
Okay, so you can’t fix anything but since us annoying SEOs don’t stop pestering you about advice, you decided to give us some advice. What is that advice? Three folds (1) look at the Panda advice, (2) here is a list of stuff you can think about not in the Panda advice and (3) look at the quality raters guidelines and focus in on the EAT section.
(1) Panda advice: Google points to the advice it gave in 2011 named More guidance on building high-quality sites saying “a starting point is to revisit the advice we’ve offered in the past on how to self-assess if you believe you’re offering quality content.”
(2) Updated list of advice : Here is an updated list of advice from Google “with a fresh set of questions to ask yourself about your content” broken into (a) Content and quality questions, (b) Expertise questions, (c) Presentation and production questions and (d) Comparative questions:
(A) Content and quality questions
Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book? (B) Expertise questions Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life? (C) Presentation an production questions Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
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? (D) Comparative questions Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
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?
(3) Quality raters guidelines and EAT: Then Google says you should really dig into the quality raters guidelines with a focus on the EAT section. Google said “If you understand how raters learn to assess good content, that might help you improve your own content. In turn, you might perhaps do better in Search.” “In particular, raters are trained to understand if content has what we call strong E-A-T. That stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider,” Google added.
Then Google linked to a bunch of SEOs content around it, which was super nice!
E-A-T and SEO, from Marie Haynes Google Updates Quality Rater Guidelines Targeting E-A-T, Page Quality & Interstitials, from Jennifer Slegg Leveraging E-A-T for SEO Success, presentation from Lily Ray Google’s Core Algorithm Updates and The Power of User Studies: How Real Feedback From Real People Can Help Site Owners Surface Website Quality Problems (And More), Glenn Gabe Why E-A-T & Core Updates Will Change Your Content Approach, from Fajr Muhammad
Some are questioning Google why these SEOs got links:
It’s good content. People should reward good content by crediting it. That includes linking to it in a way that search engines can use to help understand where good content exists.
‘” Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) August 1, 2019
We linked to good content. That’s not the same as endorsing a particular SEO firm. We’ll continue to link to good content just as we’d encourage anyone to link to good content.
‘” Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) August 1, 2019
I have two follow up stories on this document, so stay tuned… One on how the Google Discover feed also uses these core updates and the other is on how Google does not announce or confirm smaller core updates.
Note: This was suppose to be posted August 2nd, but I accidentally published it early.
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