Recent Google Algorithm Updates

2022 saw a substantial amount of Algorithm updates from Google, most recently there have been two notable updates: the December Helpful Content Update and the December Link Spam Update. Google algorithm updates are extremely important to be aware of and stay up to date with as they can significantly change traffic levels for websites. If your website is impacted by an algorithm update it can take a while to recover which is why it is so important to keep up to date with them.

December Helpful Content Update: 

The Helpful Content Update has been updated by Google to specifically target content that has been created for ranking high in search pages rather than informing or helping users. This algorithm update is designed to help users find high quality content. This particular update is a sitewide algorithm meaning if Google determines that your website is creating a high amount of content that is not user friendly and is essentially for gaining a higher ranking, your whole site will be impacted. This means that users need to be aware of all of the content on their website, not just sections of it, as one section of “unhelpful content” could impact rankings across the website as a whole – this is a great opportunity for you to undertake that long-awaited content audit. 

How to ensure your content is helpful:

To ensure that your content is helpful for the user, you need to constantly think about who your audience is. It is imperative that you are writing content that will help and benefit your audience. Think about what it is that your audience wants to know and are you answering that question. After they have read your content, will they leave your website knowing what they need to know and will they have had an enjoyable experience on your website? If the answer is no, you need to change your content strategy and make sure the answer is yes. Some ways in which you can improve your content if you don’t think it’s already helpful could include:

➡️ Stay current and up to date with trends in your industry so that you can provide timely information related to your customers needs 

➡️ Implementing FAQs to answer popular user questions

➡️ Implementing guide-style content to help show how a particular product or service works

➡️ Implementing more information about a product or service, this could include looking at the materials a product is made of 

➡️ Implementing user reviews 

December Link Spam Update: 

Google has also recently updated its link spam algorithm, which is designed to target link spam, which can be an issue for many websites. This update will be focusing on websites that engage in link spamming practices. These practices occur when you try to artificially boost your website’s ranking by creating links to your site from low quality websites. Some of these practices could be: 

➡️ Buying or selling links for ranking purposes 

➡️ An excessive amount of link exchanges 

➡️ Using automated services to create links to your website 

➡️ Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various websites

Any links that are intended to manipulate rankings in Google Search results could be considered link spam by Google. Websites that have been practicing this will likely be penalised with this new update. 

What to do after the update:

The December Link Spam Update can have a significant impact on your website’s search engine rankings so it is essential that you know the next steps to take. Due to this algorithm update, it is important to monitor your web traffic and rankings. If you notice any drops in traffic then it could mean that your website has been impacted negatively by the Link Spam Update. With Google’s Link Spam Update, it is likely that poor quality links that used to count towards the website will not pass any value any more which will lead to a drop in rankings. So essentially, websites that were once getting value from these links may not get the value anymore. To avoid this, ensure that all of your website’s links are natural and continuously work on improving your website naturally which will enable you to attract new links over time. To build up that lost value you need to be building high quality links through things like Digital PR. 

To Summarise:

There have been many recent updates to Google’s algorithms to ensure that all websites are focusing on high quality content and making sure that the user experience is the top priority. The algorithm updates can have a significant impact on your website so it is important to always stay up to date with the latest updates from Google so you can understand how they could impact your website and ensure that you always adhere to best practices.