In 2019, for the first time in Google history, Google announced a broad core algorithm update. They released the update at the beginning of June and concurrently, Google also released what they dubbed the diversity update. The diversity update was separate from the broad core algorithm update, which was designed to limit multiple results from the same domain unless it made the most sense for the query.
Due to the update, sites across multiple niches noticed major dips in organic search visibility. If you’re relying on organic traffic to keep your business running, it’s important to take steps to future proof your SEO strategy to withstand changes to the algorithm, like the broad core algorithm update and others you might see in the future.
Google Has a Stronghold on Search
Not only does Google control the search marketshare, but, they are also using search results as final destinations for many users as well. As a user, you can now find local businesses in Local Pack results, find flight information in search results, get answers to many questions, and much more.
Along with that, Google is overriding meta data provided by websites because they feel they can provide the best titles and descriptions that match the user intent.
The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are being changed constantly with the intent of keeping users on Google to answer all their lives burning questions, book travel, and find local businesses. This is very powerful.
In order to really “Future Proof” your SEO, you have to think about it holistically, think about it as a long-term strategy, and continue to iterate on it all the time, so you’re not chasing algorithm updates regularly.
Obviously, this is all being done for user experience and allowing users to get to the things they need in the fastest, most reliable, and easiest way possible. As a user, I love finding all the information I mentioned above quickly and easily. It’s massively helpful.
But many publishers and websites are seeing the impact of this by the loss of traffic. Who is Next? Or, is the real question, how do take advance of these SEO algorithm updates? Or, how do marketers figure out ways to drive more awareness and visibility to their brand, from search…or even other channels.
But also, how do you make sure you’re being a smart SEO by building it into your product and making sure algorithm updates don’t strike fear in your heart, when they are announced.
Minimizing the Impact of Future Algorithm Updates
Google will never stop updating the algorithm and making changes in the name of improving the user experience. In fact, I’m all for that. The good news for you is that you can take steps to make your site more resistant to future updates and at the same time, less dependent on traffic that comes to you from Google.
Long-Term Results Instead of Short-Term Wins
First and foremost, do you have a real strategy for how to win at SEO? Instead of blaming Google or going on a tangent about algorithm updates by Google, maybe a better approach would be taking all that time to think about how your site wouldn’t need to worry about this.
If you don’t have too much content, it might be time to add more.
If your crawling and indexing hasn’t been well thought through and you have hundreds (or thousands…or even tens of thousands) of pages. There is a need to invest in this.
How is internal linking done across the domain?
Could you be writing more, or any, blog content on a regular basis that provides value to the people coming to your website?
And, how are you thinking about all this, and other channels, more holistically so you are really delivering on creating a marketing strategy that stands on its own for the long haul?
Answer the above questions right and I guarantee you will never be stressing about algorithm updates.
Quality Content Always Survives
Remember how I mentioned content above, well, it’s really important. And, it has been extremely important for as long as I can remember. “Content is King” has been a phrase around for a couple decades now online and will be around for the foreseeable future.
I’ve always said that it’s important to create content people will find value in. And, if that value matches the intent of searches queries, then it’s a win-win. The fluctuations and algorithm changes won’t impact this too much. While you might see a dip here or there, it will be just that. And, if certain content loses its luster after a while, you should already be creating so much content, you won’t be thinking about it.
Remember, focusing on the long-term is the name of the game.
If you’ve got a solid, long-term approach to organic search, aimed at creating value, that’s the only way you’ll benefit from any and all algorithm updates.
SEO Does Not Sit on a Silo
When I worked In-house, I never thought of SEO as its own department. It touches content, PR, product, and technology. The truth is, it doesn’t work unless you think about it holistically and how to partner with those teams or tie it to those efforts.
Because it can touch so much, you can also make a bigger impact than when it’s being worked on in a silo. When you think holistically and you think about the long-term strategy, you can ensure that content, user experience, and the technical details that all apply, are done with SEO in mind. And, they truly are a “future proofed” way of thinking about SEO.
Many times, people think about hacks, quick wins, or quick ways to generate traffic from SEO. While I have done that too, it’s always paid off much more when I have thought about SEO in a more holistic sense.
And, if it all plays nicely together and you’ve built a solid traffic mix, if SEO traffic is reduced by a small number, you will feel much less of an impact.
Doing this in a thoughtful and holistic way, you will build a stronger, healthier, foundation while reducing dependence on organic traffic.
Build Relationships and Your Brand
New traffic from organic search is always a great thing, and as someone who has done it for 15+ years, I will always believe in the power of SEO.
But, again, thinking about this more holistically, it’s important to nurture relationships with returning visitors, too. Having a thoughtful approach to engaging an audience via various channels can help drive more conversions and revenue.
Thinking about things from a reliance point-of-view, the more you engage your audience through multiple channels, the less reliant you are on one channel, when, and if, it does falter. This isn’t exclusive to organic search and SEO too, think about all the publishers and sites that were crushed by Facebook’s algorithm a few years back, the same applies here.
You are playing a losing battle if you think it’s okay to not setup email marketing, re-engagement, a community or some form of engagement to nurture your audience and build a real brand.
Be Holistic, Think Long-Term.
I’ve been a believer in thinking about SEO and Content holistically, but also in what your full marketing funnel and mix is. What is the customer journey with and without SEO, because that could be the deciding factor on how well your business really does from a growth perspective.
There are no shortcuts to building great business and the same applies to growing your traffic, your audience, your visibility and revenue. Any “hack” that you might find, might work for a temporary period, but you’ll always be worried about Google’s algorithm updates like the Broad Core update announced this year.
In order to really “Future Proof” your SEO, you have to think about it holistically, think about it as a long-term strategy, and continue to iterate on it all the time, so you’re not chasing algorithm updates regulary.