This past year has seen some incredible updates in Google’s algorithm. In fact, we’d go so far as to say, these have been some of the biggest updates since Penguin and Panda and Poo (just kidding on the last one!).
First something that we saw was the site speed update, which was set to roll out in July, but actually rolled out much sooner (began in March and finished in May). Now, those of us in the industry, new that Google always looked at site speed as a ranking factor. Why? Because it just makes sense that if a site takes forever to load, the user is going to click off of it and go to another site. Basically, when that happens, it’s bad press for Google, which Google does not want.
The next big update that we saw this past year was the mobile responsiveness that Google had also been talking about for a long time and which was also related to the site speed update, but a little different because there could be a super fast site, but it’s just not very mobile optimized.
Now, there was a lot of hype about AMPed sites, and those were cool to get the little lightning bolt next to it, but really, that seemed to be more hype than not, especially because so many of the sites that didn’t have them remained ranking or even overtook sites that did have them. Probably because what Google is looking for is the backlink quality rather than a quick hyped up sticker. Maybe we’ll never know.
Then in August, we saw something really interesting. For years and years, Google has said that they always look at content to see if it’s a quality site. People in the know though, knew that that wasn’t the case and that Google’s algorithm ranked off of backlinks not content. And that’s still true. But, in August, Google actually put their mouth where the money is, or however the saying goes and updated the algorithm based on quality.
Now, how in the world would a computer judge quality? There are a couple of answers here.
First of all, how many pages (or posts) does a given website have?
Next, how much content is on those pages?
How many links are going out of those posts/pages?
See, with this last point, what a lot of people were doing, and it worked well, was put up two to three outbound links per one money outbound link. (Outbound links are links going from your site to another site. Money outbound links are links that you’re purposely putting up for the purpose of ranking a site that makes you money.) Well, the problem with this is that it doesn’t look very natural to have sixty-three thousand links coming from a 1000 word article! Okay, so there’s a bit of hyperbole there. But it doesn’t really look natural to have 7–8 links on that same 1000 world article, plus another 1–2 money links.
So Google caught on and started slapping sites that were doing it. It’s actually a good thing as it makes the web a bit more manageable, and helps to make sites push more for quality and real information instead of just junk.
In March of this year (2019), there was another big update. And it seemed to focus more on the domain name vs the authority of a site. So if there was a keyword in the domain name, Google seems to have given more credit to that domain vs a big site that has tons of links to it, but no keyword in the domain. This is one of those updates that is like most of the usual ones Google does going from domain to authority and back. And we’ll likely see more.
We’ll keep you posted on more updates!
And in the meantime—keep it dreamy, doll.