What Google’s Algorithm Updates Mean For Your Business
Pop quiz: How many Google algorithm updates were introduced in 2014?
Two? Three? Five?
A handful grabbed headlines, like updates to Panda and Penguin and the new Pigeon update. But Google blessed us with a total of 12 updates in 2014 alone.
So what does these mean for your business? If you’re starting to sweat because you feel like you missed something, just relax.
Why Google Updates Its Algorithms
Google and all other search engines exist to perform a single function – provide users with the most relevant results for each user search.
Google is constantly refining its processes in order to deliver better results for users. These refinements come in the form of algorithm updates.
Most Google algorithm updates are intended to penalize or deprioritize websites and content that are using dastardly “black hat” tactics to cheat the system and prioritize truly relevant and high quality content.
If you change your content to “comply” with a new update, there are gains to be had. But those gains will be short-lived if you’re just trying to “play the game”, and you can bet the next update will balance things out.
Some companies spend a lot of money chasing those short-term gains, but living update to update isn’t a smart long-term investment or strategy. Even the folks at Google don’t want you to do that.
Assuming you play by the rules, your overall search strategy and philosophy shouldn’t be altered by every Google algorithm update.
Stop Trying to Figure Out Google
Instead of trying to figure out what Google wants, focus on what your audience wants. Google will never penalize you for focusing on the needs of your audience.
Write content that’s useful to your audience. Provide them with the best possible website experience. Look for ways to deliver more value. Focus on long-term gains instead of short-term spikes.
In other words, stop worrying about algorithms and try to help real people – you’re customers.
Google’s Mobile-Friendliness Update
The update that’s been getting the most attention in 2015 is by far their “Mobile-Friendly” update. If you haven’t heard about it, you can read more about it on Google’s Blog.
On April 21 Google will be updating their search algorithm yet again which will penalize websites that are not mobile-friendly.
If your site isn’t up to snuff with Google’s new “mobile-friendliness” standards, your mobile search results will suffer substantially… which isn’t a good thing with 30% of search traffic coming through a mobile device across the board.
If you want to know more about what this could mean for your website or e-commerce store, you can read more on Search Engine Land.
If you want to learn more about optimizing your website for mobile, check out our post on the benefits of mobile-friendly websites.
What Not To Do
While you certainly need to play by Google’s rules, that doesn’t mean you should invest in altering your content and search strategy with each algorithm update. That’s exactly what Google does not want you to do. You’ll waste time and money with an endless cycle of updates that don’t support any long-term strategy or vision.
And you won’t be delivering anything of value to your audience.
You can, however, view algorithm updates in Google and other search engines as a measure on whether you are or aren’t creating the best experience for your customer. Your business goals and Google’s business goals are aligned – you both are trying to create the best experience for your customers.
So, pay attention to Google algorithm updates, but don’t change your strategy for them. Build your strategy for your audience.
Then, partner with someone who knows how to make your audience-focused content more visible to the search engines.