Search Engine Optimization June 21st, 2019
Google rolled out it’s latest core algorithm update between Monday, June 3 and Saturday, June 8. Site admins continue to report steep declines in the aftermath of the update, with news sites seeing significant drops in traffic practically overnight. Most notable is the Daily Mail, the #2 most read tabloid in the UK, and CCN.com, a leading cryptocurrency news site. What’s unique in the June Core Algorithm Update is that Google search liasion Danny Sullivan actually announced when the algorithm update was rolled out.
In addition to the broad core update, a diversity algorithm update was rolled out as well during the same five-day period. They’re meant to provide a wide range of page results from unique domains. Diversity updates are quite common and have been regularly conducted by Google since 2010.
The core algorithm update took five days because it takes time to roll out the changes across all of Google’s servers and data centres around the world. While the details of the update are scarce, it’s telling in the sites that took the most notable dips: soft news sites.
The Daily Mail is a U.K. tabloid with a reputation for writing clickbait headlines then using their large social media community to drive traffic. In the five-day update period, the Daily Mail lost 50% of their traffic, which is a big hit to their ad revenue.
Their news stories have sensationalist headlines. They also do a poor job of citing sources. Providing value through contnet because citing sources with external links to an authoritative source is crucial for E-A-T.
In the case of CCN.com, the articles published are almost all about cryptocurrnecy, but there are several stories that are more suitable in the National Enquirer (See Cryptic FBI Tweet Exposes Top Secret ‘Bigfoot Files’“.
CCN’s mobile traffic dipped 71% as a direct cause of the update. Soon after, the company announced they’d be shutting down operations in a YouTube video. However, it was likely a publicity stunt that was used to call out Google for perceived bias in Google News rankings.
While Google repeats there’s “nothing to fix”, there is in fact measures you can take as a webmaster to recover lost traffic and defend your site from another core algorithm update.
Blogs are a valuable source of awareness traffic and can be used to drive traffic not only from organic but from social and referral channels as well. The issue is when blogs are your main source of traffic (and avenue to boost service page keyword rankings through internal links) is quality and relevancy. What this means is that it’s not simply enough to build a massive amount of links to a blog post to rank. Neither is it enough to write outlandish headlines to generate clicks on social media — you need to provide tangible value in your content that is authoritative.
This requires citing sources with externals to credible sites, including an author bio which speaks the writer’s knowledge on a topic, and most importantly, providing FULL answers on a topic. This means answering the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” — a journalistic principle. These questions should be answered in the first paragraph and included as H2s where possible.
The update in March was about page dwell time and bounce rate. A mobile user would bounce or click to another page if the blog is too thin, doesn’t answer their question(s) right away, or the page load speed is too slow. Think about this in terms of E-A-T; assuming your site is following best practices for technical SEO and page speed is optimal, then it comes down to how credible does your content look? Essentially, if it looks like the content provides more benefit to the webmaster in terms of traffic/ad revenue, people will see through it and click on the next link.
If it looks like it was written in a rush, then why would a user trust you enough be satisfied with your answer to their query?
Here are a few questions you should consider as a webmaster when analyzing your blog content from a 2011 Webmaster Central blog post:
Blog posts provide valuable online awareness, but it’s consideration traffic to the service pages that drive lead generation. Don’t lean entirely on blog traffic to keep generating traffic because your service pages are too short to rank for difficult keywords. Remember, just because overall site page views go up, doesn’t mean your leads list will. That’s why you need to write and design a detailed, but intriguing sales pitch on your service pages in order to boost dwell time and decrease the bounce rate across your site.
Speak to your ideal customer through the copy and do your best to answer the most pressing questions. In the long run, you should see these keyword positions recover after a few tests — assuming you’ve already been building quality backlinks on relevant sites.
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