Google algorithm updates are mostly about ranking the most relevant and user friendly webpages on search results and lowering the ranking of pages deemed to be less relevant or user-friendly. It is a misconception that Google has penalized you if your webpages have lost traffic after the Google Algorithm Updates. If it were a penalty, Google would have sent you the notice about Webmaster Guideline violations through Google’s Search Console.
The Good News is that you can take certain steps to recover your search rankings after an in-depth website audit.
Here are 12 best ways to regain your SERP rankings after Google Core Algorithm Update
1. Measure Core Web Vitals
2. Understand User Intent
If you have lost traffic after the Google core algorithm update, look at the keywords that have dropped in ranking or disappeared from SERP. Analyze the intent and content of the page on which these keywords were trying to rank. For example, if you are an ecommerce website that is trying to rank on general terms or informational intent keywords, but the content on webpage was mostly about buying or selling, its best to focus on buying intent keywords. Google Algorithm wants to show the webpages that closely relate to the intent of the searcher’s query.
If someone is looking for ‘how to use air purifier’ an article or informative blog has the best chance to rank on it. On the other hand, ‘Buy Air purifier’ search term gives ecommerce websites better chances to rank. Pick your battles wisely. Revisit the content, Title tag, H tag and other SEO elements to target the keywords that would best match the search intent of users and your business goals. You can also target POA (people also ask) and other rich results to get additional traffic.
3. Update Meta title and description on affected web-pages
SERP Competitors – Look at the websites that are now ranking higher than you in SERP. For example, if you are an ecommerce website but notice Amazon or Walmart ranking higher than you, it would make it difficult to compete with them. If you an informative blog but have lost keywords to popular news or authoritative service website, you are bound to lose traffic.
If your ranking has tanked after Google Update, the solution is to create original content, re-write your Meta title and description to make them more eye-catching to increase the number of clicks (CTR). Even if you are not ranking on top positions, an impressive Meta title and description with good CTA (call to action) can get you the desired traffic. For example, if your Meta title is “Top 10 SEO Tools’ change it to “Top 10 SEO Tools [Updated for 2021]” or “Top 10 SEO Tools [Free eBook Inside]”. Check your Google Search Console for more information on pages that are receiving fewer clicks after the update. Look for queries that they used to rank earlier and update the Meta tags accordingly. The key is to create content that is original, helpful, and provide accurate answers to the user’s query.
4. Test and increase your page speed
Websites with slow loading speed provide users a bad browsing experience. Google is most likely to downgrade the ranking of webpages that have poor loading time. Test your website with PageSpeedInsights and check your CDN (Content Delivery Network) and cache settings. Compress the images and evaluate any plugins or 3rd party extensions on your websites that can possibly increase the page load time.
5. Reduce the amount of Affiliate ads, banners and links
If your website or blog is using excessive affiliate ads, it’s time to cut-short them. Intrusive 3rd party ads and banners leads to bad user experience. Except for Google AdSense, if you are using amazon affiliates or any other advertising or affiliate links reduce their quantity, especially on pages with thin content. Also mark all affiliate links as no-follow and sponsored. Check your rankings again, it is likely to improve once the scripts loading the affiliate ads are reduced.
6. Author Bio is critical for search ranking
To recover from Google Core Algorithm Updates make sure all your posts have author byline. Google is very particular about the expertise of authors who provide information that falls under YMYL category. For example topics related to health, finance and well-being of people. Apart from that, having author bio with social links enhances the user experience and trustworthiness which in turn increases your chance to rank on desired keywords. You can increase your website’s chances of quick recovery by including author information and relevant reference links to trustworthy sources in the article.
7. Give attention to ‘About Us’ page
8. Build quality backlinks
Instead of low quality backlinks, focus your energy on gaining relevant backlinks from quality websites. There are various ways to attract quality backlinks to your websites including guest blogging, launching giveaways and social media outreach. Here are 7 Quick and Proven Backlink Building Strategies. Content syndication on websites such as Medium and Quora can also help promote your content and increase the visibility. If you have previously engaged in tactics that generate low quality, irrelevant or spammy backlinks, try to get them removed by approaching the webmasters of those sites. As last resort go to Google’s disavow links tool page and remove the toxic links.
9. Revisit your publishing schedule
Google prefers fresh and updated content from websites. Increase the frequency of posting content on your website and regularly update the old articles. Google from time to time removes the obsolete content and replaces it with engaging fresh content. If you have reworded, scrapped or duplicated content from other website, it is best to remove the content. Take a look at Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG) and publish quality content to meet the guidelines as much as possible.
Analysis of Google December core algorithm update showed that Google prefers the content which match search intent of users. To recover from Google update, create quality content which solves queries of readers and publish such topics regularly.
10. Gain Social Signals
Social signals do play a vital role in search rankings. It is debatable on how much value Google places on social signals, but there is no denying that the more socially liked and shared content rank higher than others. Bing Webmaster Guidelines clearly states the importance of social media signals in rankings. If not from Google you will definitely see improvement in ranking and traffic on Bing and Yahoo. Energize your social media profile and encourage users to like and share your content for better search rankings. Convert your content into interesting infographics or videos and share them on Pinterest, YouTube and other social media channels. These channels in turn would increase traffic to your website.
11. Avoid Excessive Pop-ups
Try to remove and disable distracting popups and annoying opt-in widgets. They not only slow down the website but also provide bad user experience. Carefully choose the timing and pop-up designs to make them least disruptive. Such pop-ups are often responsible for low search rankings if not integrated seamlessly into website. A/B test and see the impact of pop-ups on your website. You can also take a user survey to better understand how your website visitors like them.
12. Prioritize Mobile Friendliness
After Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, it is imperative to have a responsive website that is mobile friendly. Check for any display issues, loading errors or poor formatting on mobile device. Make sure the text and images are readable and displayed equally well on all devices. There are many free mobile-friendly test tools including the one available at Google search console and Bing Webmaster. Resolve all errors that appear in the mobile usability report in the Google search console.
Additional Tip- Check your SSL certificate and mixed content warnings
Having a HTTPS secured website is must. Make sure your SSL certificate is working fine without any errors and warning. Also see if all URLs are properly 301 redirected from http to https version of website. Since chrome browser will start to block web pages with mixed content by December 2019, make sure that you have no resources (scripts, images, style or links) on your HTTPS secured website that are being loaded using the insecure HTTP protocol. You can check for such mixed content from Screaming Frog Crawl Software, Simply SSL (WordPress Plugin)
Finally don’t forget to update your sitemap. Submit your updates links for re-indexing in Google Search Console.
Let us know about your experience of recovering from Google Core Algorithm Updates in the comments below.
Hunaid Germanwala is an INTP Author and digital marketing specialist whose mind is always buzzing with creative ideas and is eager to explore new perspectives. Hunaid is a prolific copywriter who enjoys crafting online and print content on several interesting topics. Hunaid graduated with a Masters Degree from Ulm University in Germany and is working as digital marketing executive since 2014. He is a health enthusiast who enjoys yoga, body building, cycling and spending time with his family. His motto in life is “Better to Light the Candle than to Curse the Darkness”.