This post goes out to our search enthusiasts – a vital component of any Web or digital strategy. That’s just one of the focuses of the Yarra Web team, but we aim to bring the latest and greatest of all things digital and Web oriented to our visitors on the Yarra Website.
It’s been a busy year for Google – an integral player in the game of SEO and online strategy for your brand. You’ve been able to extend your browser with WebAssembly – it offers new features so that you’re able to port the AV1 video decoder and play it as well. Google I/O 2018 edition has made improving the performance of your Website even easier and there are simple current tools, optimization techniques and libraries that are here to help. You can even speed up your Web operations with Web Worker OffscreenCanvasAPI, found on Chrome 69. Google is an improvements and enhancements machine, and here at Yarra Web, we’re sure that we’ll see even more updates through the end of 2018. But not all have been great, especially for the healthcare sector. Just this month, on August 1, a broad core algorithm update was rolled out that hit healthcare sites hard.
Here are the words straight from the horse’s mouth (or Google twitter’s):
“Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year….
As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded….
There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”
Please note – The full conversation with comments and questions can be found on the page of @searchliaison.
It’s been referred to by many, specifically Barry Schwartz who is a well-known writer in the search industry, as “the Medic Update.” Sites that saw losses up to 50 percent include prevention.com, buoyhealth.com, verygoodhealth.com and patient.info. This can be deceiving because the algorithm update did not just affect the healthcare sector. It also impacted YMYL sites, which stands for “Your Money Your Life”, but in quite the opposite way. Examples of sites in this area like Carfax.com and rent.com saw gains beyond 60 percent.
So, what have been the outcomes and the feedback? In general, the answers that we’re getting from Google about the reasoning behind the rollout are pretty vague (see example A above in their tweet). But we can analyse a little bit. We’ve noticed that if you search for large companies now, instead of being immediately routed to their main page or specific information, you’re more frequently being routed to their job postings or pages. This greatly benefits larger recruiting or job sites. But our favourite takeaway in looking at reports and findings from analysts at Sistrix or SearchMetrics think that this is really about the intent. Google wants you to go to the sites that match the intent of your search, versus buoying the sites of companies that match more generic information. This ties directly into their updated search quality rater guidelines, and specifically the beneficial purpose of a page. In short, they want their teams to look at sites and say, “what would a user gain in their life from looking at this site?”
That’s one assumption from experts and there are next steps that it can help drive. Yes, Google’s directive is to focus on making your site the best it can be. That’s pretty vague and we can assume that you’re already aiming to do that. But when you’re designing or updating the site for your company or brand, do some with a different lens. Don’t just list your benefits in the top third and call out the best deals on your products. Try to address the needs of your target consumer right up front. Try to assume the questions that your audience would be asking in order to route them to your site. Get in the head of your consumer and think about how you can solve a challenge in their lives.
There’s surely more to come in the search space over the coming months, and the Yarra Web team will be right there to help answer any questions that you may have. Please reach out with any questions and comments. Also, check out the other blog articles right here on the Yarra Web blog to learn how to enhance your Web presence and finesse your SEO and SEM strategies.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you.