Navigating the New Normal: Adapting Your SEO Strategy Post-Google Update

Google has done it again. Just when we thought we had a handle on their search algorithms, they roll out a new update, shaking the foundations of what we thought we knew about SEO. This is a significant shift that demands attention from anyone who owns a website or works in digital marketing.

Staying ahead of these changes is essential. The landscape of search engine optimisation is like a living organism constantly adapting and evolving. To not just survive but thrive in this environment, we must be willing to evolve our strategies in tandem with Google’s updates. This blog post is your compass in the wilderness of Google’s latest changes, designed to help you navigate this new terrain with confidence and insight. Let’s dive into how you can adjust your SEO strategy to meet and exceed the new standards set by this update.

Understanding the Latest Google Algorithm Update

The latest algorithm update has certainly shaken things up, with many websites across the internet already seeing significant changes in traffic and rankings. It could be described as a game-changer in terms of how it has impacted many spammy websites that are looking to take shortcuts in the SEO space. 

We have seen digital marketing agencies and professionals on social media already having quite a bit to say on the matter!

Huge Expected Google Impact From Today's Update
Understanding the Latest Google Algorithm Update2
Understanding the Latest Google Algorithm Update3
March 2024 Google Algorithm update

So, what exactly are SEOs up in arms about regarding the latest Helpful Content update? 

This update can be described as a significant refinement aimed at enhancing the user experience on the web. This update places a stronger emphasis on the quality of content, the usability of websites, and the overall relevance of information presented to search queries. It underscores the importance of creating web pages that are not only informative and well-researched but also easily accessible and user-friendly across all devices.

Like every time Google fine-tunes their system, the update is essentially looking to reward content that is more genuinely helpful to users (the clue is in the name). After all, that’s the ultimate aim of the search engine – to make things more satisfying and rewarding for those using it. If you think about it, that’s really what makes their service valuable and why it is used as much as it is. So, it makes sense that Google would want less spammy content to come up in search results. 

By rewarding sites that are optimised for actual human beingsrather than those engineered solely to play the SEO game, Google is pushing for a more authentic and enjoyable internet experience. 

What Does This Mean For AI-generated Content?

A lot of content-based websites have seen rankings negatively affected as it may be that many of these website content factories – for lack of a better term – have likely been exploiting the use of AI.

With the introduction of ChatGPT and other AI tools to the digital marketer’s toolbox, content has never been easier to smash out. Unfortunately, this has resulted in spammy SEO operators generating thousands and thousands of low-quality, low-effort and often poorly researched articles that have been posted on blog websites and link farms around the internet. 

Google has rightly identified this as an issue, not because these posts are using AI generated content, but because the content isn’t helpful. And this is the main issue – by all accounts search engines have no issue rewarding content that is AI generated, as long as it provides real and unique value to users. Indeed, many recent posts that we see ranking in SERPs even now has had AI helped to shape them. 

Our advice – Use AI as a tool to inform your article and research, rather than leaning on it exclusively as a way to create content. Always fact check information that you are getting from AI tools and put effort into making your content sound human and engaging. Google has always rewarded content that is valuable and punished spam, and nothing has changed now. 

Adapting Your SEO Best Practices

As always, it’s time to fine-tune your SEO practices with a renewed focus on what truly matters. This update hasn’t exactly brought anything new in terms of where your priorities need to lie; it has made a holistic approach even more beneficial. 

Here’s how you can adapt to stay ahead:

Content Quality and Relevance

We mentioned earlier that the spotlight is on delivering content that’s good and great. Content must be deeply relevant to your audience’s needs and interests, crafted with care to provide real value. This means going beyond surface-level articles and investing in well-researched, thoughtfully written pieces that resonate with your readers and align with the updated algorithm’s emphasis on quality and relevance. If you expect your content to rank and earn SEO kudos, ask yourself before posting – does the information here provide value, and is it unique?

Enhanced User Experience (UX) 

The user’s journey on your website should be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. This includes ensuring your site is fully optimised for mobile devices, as more people access the web on the go. Page loading speeds can’t be overlooked; a delay of even a few seconds can lead to increased bounce rates and lost opportunities. Streamlining your site’s design and optimising images and code are crucial steps toward a better UX. To enhance your website design, contact us for website UX/UI services.

Strategic Keyword Use

Keywords remain a cornerstone of SEO, but the strategy around them needs to evolve. The latest update calls for a more nuanced approach to keyword use, focusing on context and relevance rather than mere frequency. This means integrating keywords naturally within high-quality content and considering the searcher’s intent to ensure your pages meet their needs and queries effectively.

Technical SEO Adjustments

The backbone of your site’s SEO and technical structure may need a check-up. Review and refine elements like site architecture to ensure search engines can crawl and index your pages efficiently. Implementing or updating schema markup can also enhance your site’s visibility in search results by providing search engines with a clearer understanding of your content’s context and purpose.

Building Authentic Backlinks

The quality of backlinks pointing to your site has always been important, but the focus now is on authenticity and relevance. Building a network of genuine backlinks from reputable sites within your industry not only boosts your SEO but also enhances your site’s credibility. This involves creating content that’s genuinely worth linking to and engaging with your community in meaningful ways. If you are building backlinks, the quality of the content you are publishing should be your number 1 consideration.

Algorithm Updates Moving Forward

Keeping tabs on how Google’s algorithm updates affect your website’s performance is crucial at the best of times. What we are seeing as time goes on is that Google is essentially looking at where its algorithm is being exploited and adjusting how it rewards websites accordingly.

Google Algorithm Update

In the past, we saw keyword stuffing work to manipulate rankings, so Google made that a focus area and started to punish those websites found to be doing it. As a result, we are seeing better, readable content on websites rather than having search engines reward what is essentially a lazy strategy. 

We then saw Google encourage strategies that incorporate E-A-T practices to better ascertain what businesses are legitimate and worth recommending to its users. The result is that spammy SEOs have a harder time duping the internet into thinking their content is valuable and from a genuine expert. 

This time around, we saw a lot of low value generic content being published with the idea that this would help websites rank more quickly. March’s update has looked to correct this and ensure that the algorithm rewards genuine, high quality and well-researched content that makes search results more helpful to the user.

It’s clear that as we go, Google is moving towards a situation where a good business can’t be ‘faked’ online. There are fewer ways spammy practices can impact SEO rankings, and a business or website will be ranked on its merit alone. 

The lesson here is to look at your SEO strategy not as a way of duping Google and finding quick wins to rank quickly but as a reminder to build up your brand’s quality and reputation holistically over time. Find out what your audience wants and provide that as best you can. 

Looking ahead, the future of SEO in a post-update world is bright for those willing to embrace change and learn from it. Algorithm updates, while challenging, are reminders of the importance of building websites that prioritize user experience and valuable content above all. By viewing these updates as catalysts for improvement, we can continue to refine our approaches and achieve lasting success in the ever-evolving landscape of search engine optimisation.