2019 has seen Google carry out a major ‘core’ update in March, put increased focus on the use of images in search as well as having to deal with a number of bugs in the system that resulted in vast numbers of sites being de-indexed. Here, we take a look a closer look and find out what it all means…
By Greig Barclay / Abigail Crisp, Digital team.Last month we saw Googles ‘March 2019 Core Update’, which showed major improvements and losses across various sites, but what does it all mean?
Whenever a Google update occurs, there is always a great deal of secrecy and speculation. What changes have been made to the algorithm? How does it affect my websites? What changes do I need to make to improve or recover losses? Many have suggested the update feels like a roll-back of previous updates and whilst Google didn’t confirm this was the case, it certainly didn’t deny it either. Regardless of the intention, looking at information and insights from various organisations and SEOs there does seem to be a consensus of how to approach the recent update.
According to Search Engine Land, it seems the best advice to recover your website SERP position is to simply improve you site in general. It goes without saying that if your website has seen a significant drop, then it may be worth taking the time to re-asses these key points:
- Trust: Whilst there is no official ranking or metric for ‘Trust’ there are factors in which Google will favor or ‘trust’ your website more. Factors such as spam, quality and originality of content, relevant and high-quality links, fast loading pages and a seamless user experience (including mobile friendly) are just some of the factors that can affect how much Google ‘Trusts’ your site and ultimately, how well it ranks it.
- Quality Rater Guidelines: It’s important not to ignore Googles Quality Rater Guidelines as they provide some useful insight into what Google considers important and how the algorithms should be ranking your website.
- It’s all about the user: It may seem obvious, but it’s worth reevaluating how well your site and its content are answering users search queries. If content digresses from the subject matter or doesn’t clearly answer the question the user is looking for, then it’s unlikely that Google will show you site in a top SERP.
It looks like Google search results are now showing (or will be showing) an increase in the frequency that image results are covered in core website searches. Searching on a desktop will display an image box where Google believes you’ll want to see more image search results. When you search on mobile, more results are also showing an image thumbnail.
Why does it matter? In short, it’s another opportunity for you to drive traffic to your website. If Google continues to push images in search results, you’ll want to make sure that images become a focus of your optimisation strategy today.
For more information on search images and best practice this article from Search Engine Land is a good place to start.As well as images, it also looks like featured snippets are making a more regular appearance. There is often much debate as to how positive feature snippets and knowledge panels are for your website. On the one hand they are a great way to rank organically. On the other, it may result in the user’s query being resolved within Googles search engine, without the user needing to click through to your site.
Towards the end of April, Moz conducted a survey of 1,400 searches about Google. Results showed that 22.1% of users indicated that they read the snippet without clicking on the link and that searchers aged 13-18 are 220% more likely to consider their question answered without clicking. Showing that younger age group prioritise speed of response. Although it’s not an immediate cause for concern, it’s worth paying attention to over the coming months.
Making sure the information on your site is updated regularly to match the users understanding and search intent is an important step. Ensuring the quality and accuracy of content is key to encouraging click throughs where featured snippets are presentBack to our blog.