Have you seen weird jumps, peaks and turns on your Google analytics recently? You are not alone. Google has made several core updates on its algorithm (more than we are used to) and it made us, the digital marketing soldiers, reframe some of the parameters on tracking and revisit the conversion metrics we had established for our websites and digital advertising campaigns.
In the ever-shifting tides of online search, staying ahead isn't just a strategy – it's crucial. So, let's dive into the depths of Google's most recent algorithmic updates, untangle the complexities that could sway the course of your digital presence and how they affect your organic and paid traffic landscape.
It's vital to stay updated on these changes and adapt your website's content and SEO tactics to maintain and improve your search rankings.
Riding the Waves: October and November 2023 Updates
Google, the gatekeeper of the digital universe, has recently unleashed not one but two core updates. Their mission? To elevate the search experience to new heights.
The October and November updates follow closely on the heels of the earlier transition to GA4. Remember that? The one where all things ‘tracking and measurement’ took a giant leap forward? Well, it seems Google is still fine-tuning the gears over there.
What is a Google Core Update?
A Google Core Update is like a routine checkup of the rules Google uses to decide which websites appear first in search results (aka “the search algorithm”). Google renews the way it assesses content and decides what is relevant and valuable to be shown on the first page of a search query and what has to go to the tail end. This is “The Google Ranking System”.
Think of it as a library rearranging its books to ensure users find the most helpful information when they search. If you notice changes in your website's performance after a core update, it's simply because Google has updated its criteria for what it considers the most relevant content. It affects your website because your content and the way your customers interact with your digital assets are being evaluated in a different way. So, staying up-to-date and evolving at the same pace as Google is a challenge but also a “must-do”.
What do Google's algorithms do?
Google's algorithms form an intricate system designed to fetch data from its search index and promptly provide the most suitable results for a query. Using a blend of algorithms and various ranking factors, the search engine arranges webpages by relevance on its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
In its initial stages, Google implemented only a few updates to its algorithms. Nowadays, Google introduces thousands of changes each year. Some of them are ‘list updating’, while others affect the way a page is ranked and how content is qualified to win or lose on the search position battle.
Impact on the SEO Horizon
What to Anticipate
Hold on to your virtual hats – fluctuations in website rankings and organic traffic are on the horizon. Historical data suggests these shifts typically spin around 3 to 4 positions.
Here's the scoop: Google is cracking down on AI-generated content and playing referee to keep the bots in check.
The catch? Whether it's an increase or a decrease in position, it depends on factors like the quality and relevance of your content.
The result? Human-to-human content is stealing the spotlight.
2023 Google Core Update marks a substantial shift in Google's search algorithm, prioritising the promotion of high-quality content to enhance search results. This aligns with the global pressing challenge in the digital landscape: combating the influx of false clicks generated by bots and steering clear of content that's replicated countless times and distorted by AI content generation, driven by unscrupulous intentions.
Good news – If you have been building your domain authority under SEO best practices, with high-interest content, targeting specific buyer personas or audiences, and on top of this, using progressive and constructive SEO tactics, you are safe.
But how can you assess if your business will be impacted by these changes?
Consider this: Is your website bulletproof when it comes to core updates? Will your marketing strategies continue to thrive when the titans of the digital audience such as Google and Meta decide to move the goalposts? This is ‘business continuity in the universe of digital marketing’.
Business continuity is the readiness of a company to survive after an emergency or critical disruption. In the digital world, besides security breaches and data outages, algorithm changes should also be considered. They can be almost undetectable or generate a disaster, breaking a ton of links. If your website wasn’t built on strong foundations and it is not agile enough to be updated, it could negatively impact your customer’s experience, thus, your revenue. In addition, if your metrics are not up to date, you could soon find your data redundant, and therefore your decision-making may lead to undesirable outcomes.
Impact on Paid Campaigns (SEM)
Watch Out for Ripples
While the updates primarily focus on the organic side of the pool, they could send ripples into the paid media waters too. Brace yourselves for changes in conversion tracking coding and keyword rankings that might affect your ads, influencing conversion rates and user engagement.
Our Game Plan for Smooth Sailing
From the Starting Line
During the 2-to 4-week rollout period of these updates, our eyes were glued to the screen, monitoring the tides, and tweaking our strategies to stay on top of the ever-changing search landscape. We sailed headfirst into a GA4 audit. It's not just about keeping up with the latest updates; it's about ensuring our conversion tracking is rock solid across all platforms – Google AdWords, LinkedIn, Meta, you name it. This meticulous approach is our promise to deliver top-notch performance in every campaign.
Google and its peers can make changes at any time. Facebook announced several changes in segmentation and targeting to be rolled out in 2024. LinkedIn is developing marketing tools to win a chunk of the paid media share of market. Change is the heartbeat of the digital sphere. The question is not whether change will come; it's how prepared you are to navigate it. At fileroom, our team is always ready and in tune with the latest updates, which gives us the ability to support your business in the digital race.
As we sail through the waves of Google's latest updates, rest assured, your success remains our guiding star.
Stay tuned for more updates, and until then, happy growth!