So we had a nice number of updates to the Google search ranking algorithm in September. Google is honestly not saying much but they did confirm some of these updates, including the Google Birthday update. John Mueller from Google has commented about the update both in yesterday’s video hangout and on a Reddit thread.
In short, John said these are normal algorithm updates and there is nothing you can really specifically do to make your site rank higher if you were hit by one of these updates. He said just focus on overall quality and keep improving your site.
In the Reddit thread, John said:
Things change, that’s kinda normal on an ecosystem as dynamic as the web. There’s no meta-tag or HTML tag that will prevent change, and change isn’t a sign that your site is bad. One idea might be to work on limiting your dependencies on a single source of traffic, work on turning first-time users into repeat-users, so that as you grow traffic through one source, you also grow the regularly revisiting traffic – which is more independent of the initial traffic source.
He pretty much echoed this advice in the webmaster hangout video:
With regards to the algorithm updates that recently happened. I think towards the end of September and beginning of September or somewhere around then. These are essentially normal normal search algorithm updates as they always happen. So that’s not something where I would say we’re looking at something very unique a very special. These are essentially changes as they always happen, where our algorithms try to adopt to what what is happening on the ecosystem. To try to figure out what is relevant and try to understand websites a little bit better and make sure that we’re bringing relevant results to users. And sometimes when we look at these things over time we kind of have to rethink what we show. And that’s not a sign that these sites are bad that are less visible. It’s essentially just a sign that things have subtly changed over time.
There’s nothing specific around the these updates that we will tell you we’re focusing on a specific meta tag or a specific kind of content what we’d saying like you need to make sure to, I don’t know, make your text readable or something like that. A lot of these updates are just essentially general search ranking relevance updates that we would always make. So it’s not that there’s anything specific that we could point out and say this is exactly what you need to do. Rather we’re kind of re- evaluating how we look at websites overall and how we show them in the search results. And again that’s not a sign that you’re doing something wrong. It’s essentially just the kind of a re-evaluation of what we think we should show for individuals.
And I realize this makes it kind of tricky as a webmaster that’s affected by by these kind of changes. But essentially it’s it’s more a matter of taking a step back and thinking about your website overall . And thinking about what could you do overall to kind of really significantly improve things. So that with the next updates when when Google makes some things will look better again. And this is something I’ve seen for for some of the sites over the last couple of months where though say oh I was like one month everything is terrible and then a month later I was like yes we made it we got things back on track again and these things can change over time.
I don’t have any specific advice where I could point at the site this is kind of the meta tag that you’re missing that you need to do. Tt’s really a matter of taking a step back and think about what you could do to increase things overall.
And sometimes things for example like the quality rater guidelines you can kind of think about how you could view a website. Also the how Google looks at quality on a website or questions you could ask yourself of that quality. That’s something that might be useful. All of these things are not always completely straightforward but it’s worth thinking about like what is Google thinking about only when we try to find relevant search results and when we try to show them in the search results for users. And what could you do do make it so that it’s much more obvious that your site is actually really in line with like be the goals overall of providing relevant results that are useful and helpful for people.
So – just make your site better already!
Forum discussion at Reddit.