If you own your own business or otherwise operate a website, chances are you want to be found by Google users – according to statcounter, in October 2022, accounted for 92.78% of all searches by UK internet users, distantly followed by Bing with 4.64%. Making sure you rank is called search engine optimization (SEO), and much of this process is based on search ranking systems.
The issue is, SEO is in a constant state of flux. This is primarily because Google is always engaged in the process of updating its search ranking systems. In 2020, Search Engine Land reported that Google made 4,500 changes made to search (its ranking systems, user interface, and so forth), underscoring how turbulent the task can be for webmasters and optimizers. But why is this the case?
It all comes down to the quality
The key reason behind the changes comes back to Google’s reason for being: delivering the best search results for the query and user.
Most of us remember Google in the noughties. It was an amazing and mind-boggling tool, but the results served up were sometimes less than optimal. The search engine misinterpreted what we meant, and often you needed to input the exact match of what you wanted to see to get the result.
Today though, Google’s algorithm has been improved to understand synonyms (so SEOs don’t need to use a long list of keywords in their copy), naturally spoken language (enabling voice search), and locally relevant results (so you get a local plumber served up in the results, not the plumber in the UK with the best website).
All these changes came in, big and small, as part of Google’s drive to improve the relevancy of its results.
Why keep abreast of updates?
It’s absolutely imperative that businesses keep an eye out for these updates and when they are occurring. Failure to do so, and could see a big impact on where pages rank on Google. What do the experts say about this? Well, it’s a case of getting familiar.
Chris Shelbourn, Head of SEO at digital agency WMG, notes that “It’s important for businesses to become familiar with Google’s core algorithm updates as these can potentially impact your organic Google rankings, both positively and negatively.
“Changes in rankings are likely to, in turn, impact your SEO traffic and revenue – so any business that is serious about SEO as a marketing channel needs to familiarise themselves with these updates.”
To keep track of updates, it’s crucial to keep on top of industry news and work with experts in SEO if you don’t fancy the work yourself. That way, you can keep making the much-needed changes to your site you need, and stay at the top of the results in kind.