As a webmaster, you need to know what updates Google is bringing next. Because Google is making new algorithm updates and changes all the time. So if you don’t want to be outpaced by others, you need to be updated on how and when the updates are affecting the webpages. 

But why does Google keep bringing so many new updates? 

Because Google’s search algorithm is not perfect. It needs to be changed and modified constantly. And as the world is changing all the time, the new and newer algorithms keep changing the search results to keep up with that too.

So, how do you produce and optimize your content? 

Search intent

Recently Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller at an SMX event hosted by search engine land discussed the importance of search intent. Even if you don’t do all the technical parts of optimization, your content can still outrank your competitors. don’t get me wrong, backlinks, site speed, social shares- all of these are great search signals and they affect your ranking. 

But if you can focus on only one thing and that is the searcher’s intent, and produce the best content on that topic, you will rank higher than your competitor.

Want to know about why SEO is still important in 2021?

So what is search intent exactly? And how should you work on it?

Well, in simple terms, you have to understand what the searchers are searching for. And then write your content according to that. 

A good piece of content not only answers the search query directly but also predicts the next question and answers that too. If the user is searching for a certain problem, give him a precise answer at the very beginning. 

For example, if the query or the topic is:

“How to know if I have diabetes?”

Answer that question by telling the symptoms and signs of diabetes. Then suggest having a blood glucose test. At this point your answer, if you answer properly with correct information, is complete. The searcher got what he came for.

However, right after that if you write about how to control diabetes with a diet under a subheading, the reader will likely stay longer on that page. It is because that is the next question they will likely ask.

So, understanding the search intent and delivering the best content according to that, is the most crucial part to rank higher right now.

EAT

After all the recent google algorithm updates EAT has become one of the buzzwords among marketers. This word actually came from the Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

What is EAT?

The full form of EAT is Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness.

EExpertise
AAuthoritativeness
TTrustworthiness.

E= Expertise

Whatever your website is, you should have expertise in that field. Otherwise, why should you be ranked higher than the other sites? Generally, there are two types of expertise.

Formal expertise

Suppose, you are a doctor, or a lawyer, or a psychotherapist. You have a degree and certification in your subject. That is proof that you are an expert. 

Experience (certification, Degree)

The second type of expertise comes with experience. Even, if you don’t have any kind of formal experience meaning a formal degree or certification, you can have years of experience on any subject. 

A= Authoritativeness

You must have authorities on your subject if you want to rank higher than your competitor.

Credentials

Add credentials to your website.

Author’s Bio

Your website must have a well-written author’s bio. This gives your readers more information about who you are and what you do. It will help to create an authority.

Photos

On the about us or the author’s bio page, you should include photos.

Relevant interactions

Just creating content will not help you build your authoritativeness. You have to interact with relevant sites. It will signal Google that you are an authority on your niche. It can be other blogs in your niche or forums.

Reviews on 3rd party sites

Reviews on any 3rd party sites will increase your authority. If your targeted audience is of any local area, third party websites’ reviews will help.

Inbound/ outbound links

A good authoritative website must have both inbound and outbound links. Meaning if you have authority, other websites will link back to you naturally. And you need to link to other relevant sites as well. 

T= Trustworthiness

Do your readers trust your content? Why would your reader listen to your suggestion or purchase from you, if they don’t trust your website? It is crucial to build that trust between you and your user.

Feeling confident in reading your content

Your users must feel confident when they are reading your continent. Otherwise, there is no need to read your content. They will soon bounce off. 

Accurate information

In which niche you work, you must ensure your information must be accurate. Especially on the YMYL (Your Money Your Life) niches.

What can you do to increase EAT?

So now that you have a decent idea of what EAT is, now let us get to the main course. We will tell you how you can increase your expertise, Authoritativeness, and trust.

Build Expertise

  1. About us page

Create an excellent about us or the author’s bio page. Introduce yourselves to your readers. If you have a team that is working on that website, introduce them too. And tell them about your experience in the relevant niche and how passionate you are about your work or in other words helping your readers.

Do you know Online Presence helps websites to build expertise other than any other methods

In a well written about us page, you must include-

  • Display your credential
  • Show your images. If you have a team working, add their images to the page too.
  • Link into the other relevant forums or websites that you are on. And also, from that relevant website, link back to your website as well. If you have any personal blog site, link out to that too. And also link back to your website from that blog as well.

2. Link out to other relevant websites

In your content, link out to other useful websites in your niches. If you collect any information or statistics from any website, cite them. This will slowly build and help Google understand which niche you are working and expert on.

3. Interact in relevant communities

Find relevant blogs and forums. It can even be Quora or Reddit or any Linkedin or Facebook groups. Ask and answer relevant questions and interact with them. It will impact your brand and signal Google about your expertise. 

4. Use Google My Business (GMB)

Make sure to set up a GMB account, it is a free service by Google. For local businesses and service providers, Google My Business reviews can help your EAT a lot.

Build Authoritativeness

  1. Author bio and images

If you have multiple authors on your website, make sure to create a bio for every author of your site. In the bio, introduce the authors along with their images. You can do it on the about us page and on the author’s bio page separately.

  1. Interact with relevant site owners

Find other website owners of your niche. And contact them. Ask them if you can contribute to their website anyway. And ask them if they can add your website link to their site as a relevant website. 

  1. Guest post on relevant sites

To increase the authority of your website, you can guest post on the relevant websites and have links back to your site. Even if the website does not allow you to link back to your site in the post, you can have a link in the bio section.

  1. Well organized internal linking

Many of the marketers don’t give much attention. However, internal linking between the posts and the pages is a great practice. It will help you to-

  • Show relevant contents that increase page views
  • Decrease bounce rate
  • More time on page

By increasing more pageviews, decreasing your bounce rate, and increasing the time on page, you will make a better user experience. Which will lead to a better rank in Google.

Build trustworthiness

1. Install an SSL Certificate

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. In 2021, you must have an SSL certificate for your website. If you don’t have an SSL certificate it will directly affect your search ranking. 

Depending on your hosting company, you might have to spend a few more bucks to have an SSL certificate. Some hosting companies provide free SSL certificates though. Talk to your hosting company to know more details about it. You can also install a free SSL from Cloudflare. Cloudflare also provides a free CDN or Content Delivery Network, which will make your website load faster. There are tons of youtube videos about how to install SSL from Cloudflare with a step by step tutorial. 

2. Make Privacy Policy

Every website should have a privacy policy. There are plenty of online privacy policy generators to work with. Fill up the form there and generate a free privacy policy page for your site. 

3. Use a GRPR Cookie Consent

Use a free plugin to show the cookie notice on your website. It does not have to look fancy or anything, just make it simple. Make sure it does not look odd compared to your site’s theme and color.

4. Create a Contact Us page

Your website also should have a contact us page. Make it easy for the users to contact you. If your contact us page is well structured and placed, and users can easily contact you, then it is a good signal to Google to up your ranking.

5. Protect your site from hackers

You must at all costs protect your site from hackers. If your site gets hacked, not only you will lose control over your site, but also it will hamper your Google ranking.

There are a few ways you can prevent it. 

  • Install Wordfence or any other plugin that does the same job.
  • don’t install nulled or cracked themes and plugins
  • Use an unconventional and strong password 
  • Use Cloudflare to prevent DDoS attacks.
  • Update your plugins regularly.

YMYL

What is YMYL? The full meaning of YMYL is Your Money or Your Life. There are a few categories of niches that got affected during the 2019 September Google Update. By the way, the term YMYL is directly picked from the Google Quality Rater Guidelines.

If you are planning to start a website in any of these niches, make sure to have a solid plan and understanding about how you will establish your Expertise, to users and to Google.

For example: 

If someone is searching for “First Aid for Epilepsy Seizures” or “what to do during a seizure”, what will Google show him? You might write an excellent article on this topic, writing every possible situation and their solution.

But, even then, do you think, without credentials and professional degree or experience, can you outrank CDC or Webmd? Good luck!

Only writing an excellent piece of content on this subject, will not ensure you a higher rank. After the Medic Update, Google does not value a new website more than those high authority websites with hundreds of certified doctors writing about problems’ solutions for them.

If you want to work in the Health niche, you have to build your EAT carefully. Because Google will not serve content or information from a random no one. You have to have the authority to give medical advice. And needless to say, it will take time.

The same goes for Finance and Law niches.

So, be careful about these niches. The EAT is highly applicable and directly affects YMYL niches. So what are the YMYL niche categories?

Your Money or Your Life niche categories

  1. News and current events
  2. Civics, government, and law:
  3. Finance
  4. Shopping
  5. Health and safety
  6. Groups of people

In the guidelines, Google also tells us that Google has a very high standard for measuring the page quality of any posts in these niches. Why? Because Google will not take the risk to negatively impact someone’s health, financial stability, safety, or happiness.

Grammar and spelling mistakes

Google will punish you if your contents contain a lot of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Thanks to Google’s Natural Language Processing, it can calculate the context and focus topic of your content. And as the BERT update puts more emphasis on natural languages, using bad grammar and numerous spelling mistakes clearly hampers your ranking.

But why does Google care? Because the bad grammar and the spelling errors irritate the users.

Major Google Updates

1. Smith Update (Speculative)

Roger Montti in his recent post in Search engine journal, talks about this update. As Google did not confirm this new update, we have no evidence about it except SEJ’s (Search Engine Journal) article.

According to Roger Montti, the new Smith update outperforms the BERT update when it comes to understanding passages of longer posts. And this might very much be an introduction to the soon to come passage indexing update.

2. December 20 20 core update

This was one of the major Google Updates.

December 2020 Core Update Semrush Sensor
Source: SEMrush
Mozcast Decembor Core Update 2020
Source: Moz Cast
Rank Ranger December Core Update
Source: Rank Ranger

The graphs say it all about how much change it brought in the search ranking. This core update started on 3rd December. In the first couple of days, a lot of sites noticed their ranking was increasing. It continued like this for 3 days.

And then Google launched a reverse update after that. Which causes the increase in traffic and rank quickly going downwards. And in some cases, the ranking drop even lower than they had at the beginning.

3. May 2020 Core Update

May 2020 Core Update Semrush 1
Source: SEMrush
Rank Ranger May 2020 Core Update 1
Source: Rank Ranger

There is not much info about this core update. And the only advice that Google and all the experienced marketers gave was to create more compelling and in-depth content and update the existing content.

4. Featured Snippet Algorithm Update

Featured Snippet Update Semrush
Source: SEMrush
Rank Ranger Featured Snippet 1
Source: Rank Ranger

In January 2019 Google made a new algorithm update that affects the featured snippets. In this update, Google stopped showing the featured snippet’s website in the top 10 search results. 

As we all know, Google used to show the snippet’s results or listing twice in the SERP. Once in its usual position in SERP. And the 2nd is at the top of all the search results which is also known as the 0 position.

Now, when Google picks up content for the snippet, it removes the previous search result of that webpage (the previous position)

5. BERT Update

The word BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is a language processing algorithm, like Neural Matching Algorithm. 

Bert Update Google 1 1024x322
Source: Rank Ranger

Google first introduced the BERT in October only in English. However, later in December 2019, it launched for 70 different languages. 

BERT affected around 10% of the total search results. So, it was a major update from Google. With this update, Google stepped into the context-based ranking more. So, after this update, even if you don’t put all the words in the same order, Google would be able to figure out the context of the content.

Therefore, it changed the keyword stuffing game a lot. And the marketers were gradually forced to produce and promote more in-depth and relevant information of the same context

6. Rank Brain

It was one of the major updates of Google. Google made this update live in October 2015. The main affected sites of this update were the sites that produced thin or insufficient content. 

And the sites with poor user interfaces also got affected by this update. So sites with high quality and in-depth content and that focused on user experience got a huge boost in ranking.  

7. Medic update

The medic update was a huge blow for the medical sites with little or low EAT scores. In this update, Google made it clear, in order to have a medical health website, you must provide 100% authentic information and have the authority to help a medical case.

Even with the proper medical expertise, you will find it hard to rank in a short time in medical or health-related websites.

8. Mobile-Friendly update

As more and more people started using the internet on their mobile phones, Google had to bring a mobile update for the search results. This update was also known as Mobilegeddon. 

Google made this update live in April 2015. It focused on the sites that have a good mobile user interface and have web pages optimized for Google.

After that, web developers focused to optimize their website themes for mobile. 

9. Pigeon update

Pigeon update made a big impact not only on the google search queries but also in the Google map. In this update, Google focused on the user’s location and showed results based on that.

This update also was focused on both off-page and on-page optimization.

10. Hummingbird update

Google Hummingbird Update is one of the major algorithms updates that affect the search results greatly. The main affected websites were those that stuffed keywords in the posts and produced low-quality content.

11. Penguin update

This update was made in April 2012. It was focused on 2 things-

  • Punish or demote the sites with spammy links
  • Posts with over-optimized contents
  • The webpages that had irrelevant links

12. Panda update

The panda update was made to boost the ranking of high-quality content and demote the sites with thin and plagiarised content. It was released back in 2011.

Conclusion

Google updates their algorithms all the time. Most of the time it is the small updates. Sometimes they release the core updates which happen to affect a large number of websites. So, for some webmasters, an algorithm update might be a blessing and for some others, it might turn out to be the opposite. So, in order to adapt to the latest update, create high quality and relevant content, and update it with the latest information. This way your content will always thrive upwards no matter what update Google brings.