To keep its index as up to date, relevant and helpful as possible, google regularly updates the way it ranks pages and they recently announced that they have fully deployed their May 2020 update, the second one of the year.
Of course, every time they make changes, there are websites which slip down in the rankings as well as those that move towards their top position. Fingers crossed that your site isn't one of those that have recently suffered.
As ever, the google stance on having your site findable by the search engine for your keywords is the same. They have a term for how they rank website content which is “E.A.T”. This stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. And they say that the more your content aligns with E.A.T, the higher the ranking score in their search engine index.
It also looks like this current update has a particular emphasis on the technical quality of your site. Is the design and code fully responsive? Does it adhere to the proper page and content structure format using the Header (H1, H2 and so on) tags and are there any code errors stopping your audience from enjoying your site?
So what do you have to do to make sure that your site competes in the rankings? Well as google always says, a website that is made to give your users a great experience should index and rank highly for them.
So as usual, the advice is this:
Don’t make your site solely for the search engines
As we have previously mentioned, google likes sites with expert, authoritative and relevant content. Stuffing your site full of irrelevant or out of context keywords will make your site less easy to read for your visitors, giving them a less than adequate experience and giving you a less than adequate search ranking! Keep your content relevant, make it no longer than it needs to be and as easy to read as you can.
Make sure that users can navigate your site
Use different types of content
It has become apparent in the last few updates that google favours a good, responsive design. Try to make use of images, videos, infographics, quotes and highlighted areas because they simply make your site easier to use for the user and therefore for google too!
Make sure your site is technically error free and fast
Constantly monitor your site for errors (you can find them in site logs or ask your developer) as well as 404’s, accessibility errors and page structure errors. For example, making sure your pages only have one H1 tag and properly structured metadata.
Google also loves sites that work well on a mobile device from a usability and speed point of view. Is your hosting environment able to serve your pages fast enough even if the user hasn't got a good connection on their phone? Are your images optimised for speedy transfer?
There are so many tools out there that you can make use of and google itself provides a fantastic search console which will highlight any issues it finds. And it goes without saying that if google tells you there's a problem, then fix it!
Get some quality sites linking to yours
Try to identify relevant blogs and industry sites and start a conversation with them, your goal should be to get a relevant link from theirs to yours. Mention influential people in you industry and tag them on social media in the hope they will retweet you etc. If someone links to you, then you borrow a little bit of their ranking to boost yours so work hard at it.
It’s this process that elevates a good ranking site to a fantastic ranking site
Follow these and you should continue to rank regardless of any future updates to the google ranking system.
Craig Pickles - Headland.co.uk