Google is constantly updating their search index to provide better search results and direct visitors to high-quality, informative content that answers their query. Whether it’s searching for a product or information, Google’s algorithm updates are intended to filter out irrelevant results and present the best possible user experience.
There have been a host of Google algorithm updates in 2021, here we discuss 5 of the biggest and explain how they affect your website.
Product Reviews Update (April 2021)
The Google product reviews update was released in April 2021 with a goal of encouraging in-depth reviews rather than brief summaries of products. With Google’s increasing focus on user experience, this update clearly fits the brief with their list of recommendations including:
- Express expert product knowledge where appropriate
- Show what the product is like or how it is used
- Provide quantitative performance measurements
- The benefits and drawbacks of the product
- Key performance indicators and how the product performs against them
How does it affect your website?
If you have an ecommerce store, providing detailed product descriptions is essential for helping your visitors decide whether to purchase your products. This new algorithm update acts as a useful set of guidelines to ensure you are really selling your products and convincing your visitors that it is the right product for them.
Many ecommerce websites copy their product descriptions directly from their suppliers, so the inclusion of ‘unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer’ is an interesting recommendation that will help to generate unique content across Google’s search results.
Page Experience Update (June 2021)
Although originally scheduled for May 2021, the page experience update rolled out over June and July.
This algorithm update focused on several website performance indicators including page loading speed and how stable the content is during the load. As part of the update Google introduced a new tab to Google Search Console called the Core Web Vitals report, this details issues that can negatively impact your search engine performance.
You can read more about this update in our blog May 2021 Google Algorithm Update.
How does this affect your site?
The Core Web Vitals report includes a running tally of how many pages on your website provide a good page experience, so it’s essential that Google is seeing that your website performs well to achieve the best search engine rankings.
The tally also takes into account mobile usability, security issues, whether the site is secured with an SSL certificate, and ad experience. Working with a developer to ensure as many issues as possible are resolved and aiming for a 100% page experience score are vital to your online marketing.
Link Spam Update (June 2021)
The link spam update was a two part update that rolled out in June. Google is constantly trying to protect their users from online spam, so they are continually developing AI that removes spam from the index and most importantly, keep it off the first page of Google. With over 40 billion spam links being removed from the index per day, you get an idea of just how big a problem it is!
How does this affect your site?
There are many ways that your website can be affected by a spam update. These include:
- Hacked content – you should ensure that your website’s security is up to date at all times to try and prevent hacks. Hackers will often add hundreds of links to a hacked website, these links contain low-quality content that is duplicated across other hacked websites. This content can pretty quickly get your website removed from Google.
- Low quality content – There are many websites on the internet that use low-quality content to attract and deceive visitors. If your website includes low quality content, you could be mistaken for one of these sites and penalised. Low quality content includes content taken from other sites, gibberish text, and spun or auto-generated content. It is essential to include professionally written content on your website to meet Google’s E-A-T guidelines.
Mobile First Indexing Update (June 2021)
Google has gradually been placing more importance on mobile searches as the use of mobile devices continues to grow and desktop usage declines.
In 2016, Google introduced mobile-first indexing to reward mobile responsive websites with higher search positions.
In July 2019, Google began prioritising mobile-first indexing for all newly indexed websites. In June 2021, mobile-indexing became the default for all websites.
How does this affect your website?
June’s mobile-first indexing update has had a significant impact on many websites that hadn’t prioritised the mobile version of their website. To ensure your website is performing well on mobile, you should work with a developer to achieve the following:
- Create a responsive version of your website that is designed for mobile. This may even be a condensed version of your desktop site, including a layout that is easier to use on a smaller screen and text that has been rewritten to focus on specific information in a more impactful way.
- Using lazy-loading and image compression to improve the page loading speed and deliver the content more quickly.
- Remove intrusive pop ups that make the site difficult to use.
- Optimise forms for easy collection of data.
Page Title Update (August 2021)
The page title update is the latest algorithm update to drop and it’s not a popular one!
Over the years, Google has been creating custom titles from information taken from the page content to better respond to the search query.
With this latest update, Google has announced that they will no longer do this and instead generate a title that represents the page as a whole. This has seen major traffic and keyword position drops for many websites as Google uses the information from header tags, image alt tags, and in some cases, anchor text from other website pages.
How does this affect your website?
Obviously, the way titles are being generated by Google is problematic but they have confirmed the majority of titles aren’t rewritten and around 80% do use the information entered in the html tag.
To ensure you are doing everything you can to not be affected by this change, we recommend the following:
- Work with an experienced SEO company to create high-quality, relevant title tags that include your main focus keywords.
- Add professionally written content that is optimised for the focus keywords and include highly-relevant header tags that summarise the information included on the page. If Google do decide to use this content to generate a title, it shouldn’t create too much of an issue as it’s still relevant.
- Update image alt tags to include descriptions that are relevant and keyword optimised.
- If you are creating an internal link to the page, make sure the anchor text is relevant to the content of the page and reflects your target keywords.
If you are looking for an SEO company to help you navigate the endless maze of algorithm updates, contact 123 Ranking today. Our team have over 20 years’ experience of providing online marketing services to businesses across the UK. We stay up to date with all the latest algorithm updates, so we can identify any issues with your online performance and assist with resolving them.