How Do Google Core Updates Affect SEO?

How Do Google Core Updates Affect SEO?

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Google often releases core updates to its algorithm in order to either address a problem or to improve the relevance and quality of search results for users. With Google changing how its search algorithm works so frequently, there can be some disruptions to SEO. But how, exactly, do core updates affect SEO and what can you do about it?

Do Core Updates Change SERP Rankings?

The short answer is that yes, an update can impact your rankings. It doesn’t always; in many cases, rankings may stay the same if your content still meets Google’s requirements for high quality. However, because the core update may reassess what Google considers to be top quality, rankings may decrease or even increase, depending on how your content matches up with the new qualifications.

What Does It Mean If Your Rankings Decrease After a Core Update?

Each core update just means that Google is adjusting how it ranks content in order to better match users with the best possible search results. In some cases, you may have ranked higher on a keyword that didn’t quite match your content as well and now you rank better for other, more suitable keywords. In other cases, you may need to revisit your content quality and update accordingly to meet Google’s standards.

What Can You Do If Your Rankings Drop After a Core Update?

Whether there’s something you can do or not will depend on the core update. If there’s a specific action you can take to restore your rankings to what they were before the update, Google will let you know. For example, when it switched to mobile-first indexing, optimizing for mobile devices first was something Google announced that you could do to improve your rankings. Sometimes, however, there’s nothing specific and Google will announce that along with the core update.

What Should You Do If There’s Nothing To Fix After a Core Update?

If Google has announced that there’s nothing to fix after a core update, then you should focus on improving the quality of your content and your website. This can mean focusing on EAT principles in your written content as well as improving the technical SEO on your website for things like loading speed.

Do Google Core Updates Cause Ranking Volatility?

It’s possible that a core update could cause volatility in the search rankings as the algorithm adjusts to the new criteria. Rankings may not stay static and may change multiple times during the weeks that the update is being rolled out. If in the immediate aftermath of an update, your rankings aren’t what you’d expect, don’t panic. It may take some time for the rankings to settle after the gradual rollout of the update.

Can You Anticipate a Core Update’s Ranking Changes?

There’s no real way to anticipate the changes that Google will make ahead of time. However, there are things you can do to future-proof your SEO. Focus on producing quality content that will benefit and engage your users. If users find your content genuinely useful and keep coming back to it, then your rankings may more easily recover or may not be affected at all by an update. You should also regularly revisit your technical SEO to make sure that your site is keeping up with current expectations for load speed.

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Preparing Your SEO Strategy for the Holidays

Preparing Your SEO Strategy for the Holidays

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We’re nearing that time of year again. The holidays are almost upon us and if your business is to maximize this season, then it’s essential to make sure that your SEO strategy is prepared for it. SEO is typically a long game rather than showing short-term benefits, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look at your strategy in the lead-up to the holiday season.

Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile?

Google has been operating on a mobile-first approach when it comes to website optimization for many years now. Your site, therefore, is probably already optimized for mobile. But it’s a good idea to check to be sure. Most purchases are made on mobile, so it’s worth double-checking that you’re not inadvertently driving away potential customers because your site isn’t loading as quickly or looks clunky on mobile.

Do I Need To Do Holiday Keyword Research?

No matter which holiday you celebrate or how you celebrate that holiday, online search behavior changes in November and December. People are shopping for gifts, preparing to travel, hosting visiting relatives, and much more. You’ll want to know what your audience is searching for at this time of year in order to properly optimize your website, any special landing pages you create for the holidays, and your marketing efforts.

Are Last Year’s Trends Relevant for This Year?

While each year will be different, trends from previous years can help to inform you what to focus on. Look at your own site data to determine which pages were the most popular with your audience at this time in previous years. These should be your focus and can help to inform your overall strategy.

Does Content Need To Be Holiday-Themed?

People search for holiday-related content during the holidays. For that reason alone, it’s a good idea to have some holiday-themed content planned out. Ideally, you should have begun planning your content for the holiday season several months before it began. In particular, if you’re offering deals for Cyber Monday and Black Friday, you’ll want content ready promoting those. The holidays are a great opportunity to highlight your products and services and if you don’t have holiday content ready to promote those, you could be missing out.

Should I Use Generative AI?

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Generative AI has been a popular tool for a variety of different tasks. It can be an aid to writers and marketers as well as provide a first line of defense in customer service. Many websites now use generative AI chatbots to help field questions their customers have, helping those customers more quickly and reducing the number that need to wait for a phone call or an email.

When Should I Start My Holiday SEO Strategy?

The sooner you can start prepping for the holidays, the better. Ideally, you would have months to prepare, analyze data and trends, and create the content for your holiday SEO strategy. If you haven’t started yet, then it’s better late than never, however. Get started as soon as you can so you don’t miss out on the possible benefits that SEO for the holidays can bring.

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What’s New With Google’s Helpful Content Update?

What’s New With Google’s Helpful Content Update?

Reading Time: 5 minutes
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Google has released the September 2023 helpful content update. As with all search engine updates, it’s important to understand the changes being made and how these changes will affect your websites.

The helpful content update is expected to roll out over a two-week period from its initial release and will encompass revisions to Google’s helpful content system.
man with a cup

What Is the Google Helpful Content System?

The helpful content system that Google utilizes is a system that’s designed to guide users to the most relevant, appropriate, and helpful content out there. Google is working towards polishing up this system and this update is meant to bring the search engine one step closer to that goal.

The primary focus of this system is to promote content that is knowledgeable and often written or reviewed by experts in the field. This update aims to push out quality websites while the less relevant sites get lower rankings.

What Will Google’s Update Improve?

When Google announced this new update, it mentioned that there would be an “improved classifier” for helpful content systems. A classifier is a machine learning algorithm that is used to assign a class label to data input. In other words, this helpful content update will improve these labels to push out the most relevant content associated with different search keywords and phrases.

How Does the Update Affect Third-Party Content?

Google has let their opinion on third-party content be known as early as 2019. They’ve expressed that while it’s not technically against their guidelines, hosting third-party content could affect the main site’s rankings. Because of this, Google has recommended against renting out subdomains or subfolders without close supervision from the main site.

With the new update, Google states, “If you host third-party content on your main site or in your subdomains, understand that such content may be included in site-wide signals we generate, such as the helpfulness of content.” They then go on to say that if the third-party content is independent of the main site’s purpose or has little to no supervision from the main site, they recommend blocking it from being indexed by Google. Google’s official guidance to having search engine success is to provide value-added content from your own efforts that reflect your brand.

Where Does AI-Written Content Fit In?

Previously, Google’s wording for the update read said that their aim was to “better ensure people see original helpful content written by people, for people in search results.” This gave the impression that websites that used AI to help write their content would not be as relevant to users.

However, Google adjusted its stance and now reads that it wants to ensure people see “original helpful content created for people in search results.” This solidifies the fact that content does not need to be written solely by humans to be considered helpful, allowing AI-written content to also appear in search results. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that AI-written content will rank as highly as human-written content, which can offer expertise and experience that AI doesn’t have.

What if Your Website Is Negatively Affected by This Update?

If you’ve seen a trend in your site being negatively affected by Google’s past helpful content updates, Google suggests self-assessing your content. Google asserts that if you’re producing helpful, original, and relevant content then there is no need to do anything in preparation for this update. On the contrary, Google believes that this update will benefit those who write helpful content since this update is designed to reward those helpful websites.

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What Are Ways You Can Make Your Content Helpful?

If your analytics are being affected by this update, then it may be time to polish up your website to become more helpful for users. There are many ways you can update your strategy and content to show Google’s helpful content system that your content is relevant to users.

Show Your Expertise

Google has been saying that it’s helpful to have your content written OR reviewed by an expert. This can mean hiring individuals who are specialized in that area to write and/or edit the content for your website. It should be obvious in the way the content is written that the individual has a certain expertise or enthusiasm for the content. The way that experts write about their special topics is noticeably different than how amateurs write about a topic.

Refresh Content if You’re Going To Republish

A common mistake made by content creators is re-uploading content from years ago to make their website feel more “fresh”. However, Google is familiar with this strategy and it is not beneficial for you. If you plan on re-uploading blogs or webpages, be sure that you’re also refreshing that content so it stays relevant. If you aren’t substantially changing the content and are just putting an updated date on an outdated piece of content, you might be hurting your website more than helping it.

Only Remove Irrelevant Older Content

While it’s important to clean up your website for relevancy’s sake, it’s important that you aren’t removing or adding content just to make your website “look fresh.” Google has gone on record to say that this doesn’t necessarily help to increase your search rankings. Instead, you should focus on analyzing your existing content and making sure that it’s relevant to your audience and suits your site’s purpose and mission. You can remove older content if it no longer works for your site.

What Should We Expect From Google?

This September 2023 helpful content update is making changes to how content is provided to its users. Earlier this year in May, Google said that a helpful content system update would be released to improve how it ranks results in searches with a greater focus on content with unique expertise and experience. While minor improvements can be seen in this update, Google says, “This work is still continuing and is not part of this particular update. We’ll share more about our work in this area in the future.” This is a promise from Google that better optimization to push out more helpful content with unique expertise and experience will be seen in the future.

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How ChatGPT Works With Bing

How ChatGPT Works With Bing

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ChatGPT and Bing

Microsoft announced in February of 2023 that the groundbreaking new AI chatbot ChatGPT would be incorporated into both the Bing search engine as well as Microsoft’s web browser, Edge. But what are the benefits of this partnership and how does it work?

 

Microsoft Claims Bing’s Chat Is Better Than ChatGPT

Why would you use Bing’s chatbot when you could just use the existing ChatGPT? Well, according to Microsoft, Bing is even better than ChatGPT. This is because the Bing version has incorporated OpenAI’s latest language model rather than the one currently used by the free version of ChatGPT. This means that those wanting early access to ChatGPT-4 without paying for ChatGPT Plus can try it out via Microsoft’s Bing chat.

 

How Is Bing Chat Different from Alexa?

The release of ChatGPT changed the game on the Internet. Search engines use AI and algorithms to produce search results, but it’s not the same as the conversational nature of interacting with a chatbot like ChatGPT. Cortana, Siri, and Alexa have been around for a while, but are built on command-and-control systems rather than a language model like ChatGPT. This means that partnering with ChatGPT brings Bing into the AI chatbot space much faster than Google.

 

chat gpt with search engines

Does Google Have an AI Chatbot?

Google announced in February that it was building its own chatbot, called Bard, which is not yet released. You can sign up for their waitlist, however. The announcement outlined a strategy of quality over speed. Google’s preference was to avoid rushing to produce a chatbot, preferring instead to take their time to make sure that they got it right.

 

How Can You Access the Bing Chatbot?

Bing’s chatbot is currently the only free way to access GPT-4. It’s not available just anywhere, however. There are a few ways to use it but all require a Microsoft product.

 

How to Access Bing Chat from Microsoft Edge

First, download the latest version of Microsoft Edge if you don’t already have it. Then, navigate to bing.com. There, you’ll see a Chat option next to the Microsoft Bing logo on the upper left side of the window.

bing menu
 

How to Access Bing Chat from Windows 11

If you have Windows 11 installed on your computer, then you already have it. You can use the search bar to open a Bing chat window.

 

How to Access Bing Chat on Mobile Devices

There are two ways to use Bing chat on a mobile device. You can either download the Bing mobile app or use the Microsoft Edge mobile app. Either will connect you with Bing chat.

 

How Does Bing Chat Work?

Bing’s chat is already incorporated with ChatGPT-4, so you don’t have to do anything other than start typing. Just like with ChatGPT, you can ask questions, prompt for written content, and more. You can even select the conversation style.

welcome to new bing

 

What Are the Limitations of Bing Chat?

Just like ChatGPT and any other AI chatbot, Bing’s chat also has limitations. It may not understand when something is true or not and could therefore offer incorrect information or even biased responses. Bing warns about this by saying that surprises and mistakes are possible.

AI can therefore be a useful resource, but shouldn’t be relied upon as an authority. If you’re using AI as a writing tool, understand that AI-generated content may not be as high quality as a human writer’s. Therefore, editing would be needed to improve its content.

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