June 9, 2020

What Google’s New Algorithm Means for Your Content

Like the sun rising every morning and setting every evening, there are some things that you can count on day in and day out. In the content marketing world, changes to Google’s search algorithm are one of those things.

And, right on schedule, recently the search giant announced a new core update, its second of the year. The last one was in January 2020, but this one is by far more impactful.

As Google said in its announcement: “Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the May 2020 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before.”

This all happened in early May, so these changes are already live.

There’s a lot of tech under the hood here, but these are the nuts and bolts that really matter. Going forward, Google is focusing on the following attributes. If your content has them it will perform better. If it doesn’t, your organic traffic will likely suffer.

All of this is captured in two new ranking factors: the core web vitals and the page experience signal. The page experience side includes:

Mobile Friendliness: It’s no secret that Google sees mobile (correctly) as the future of the internet, so thinking mobile-first when creating and sharing content now matters more than ever. Long videos, unresponsive pages, desktop-focused layouts are all toast.

Safe browsing: With an eye toward controlling the web’s “digital wild west” reputation (which was well earned), Google is prioritizing sites and pages that take steps to protect their users. Part of that includes what’s below…

HTTPS security: If you’ve been putting off the move to HTTPS now is the time to take that step. It isn’t that hard.

No intrusive interstitials: Get rid of them. Nobody likes them and they’re hurting you more than helping you.

While the core web vitals include…

Loading speed: The time it takes for a page’s main content to load. An ideal LCP measurement is 2.5 seconds or faster.

Interactivity: With a bias toward interactive pages that load quickly.

Visual stability: Google doesn’t want layouts that move around too much to accommodate images, so unexpected layout shifts of visual page content should be minimized in your overall design.

How do you know if your content is ‘high quality’?

So, what does this all mean? If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember Google’s “Panda” update from 2011 that was one of the company’s biggest and was focused on content quality. According to Google, the following list of questions is a good place to start when evaluating your content:

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  • Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  • Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Overwhelmed by all this? Don’t worry, at Layup Content we do this stuff every day and know how to ensure your digital presence lives up to your expectations. Contact us today to find out how.

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