Team having a discussion

Team having a discussionThis month, many companies noticed a huge change in their website rankings, with some companies enjoying an uptick in site visits and ranking while some experiencing a significant drop in both.

Some analysts noticed that web pages of large, corporate chains were negatively impacted in favor of small-to-medium enterprises. In Minnesota, search engine optimization focuses on local business, which means this broad core algorithm update might just be a blessing in disguise.

What is a Broad Core Algorithm Update?

Google updates are a regular occurrence, with several algorithm changes happening over the course of a week. Although most of these updates contain very minor changes focused on specific issues, there are some updates that are major enough to affect a large number of websites across the internet.

So, what makes a “broad core algorithm update” different? The answer: no one is 100% sure. In the past, Google released detailed reports on updates like Penguin and Pigeon (the former was an update that addressed link spam, the latter addressed local SEO spam). With the broad core update, however, they’re keeping tight-lipped.

Some SEO analysts say that the broad core algorithm update is a change in the main search algorithm itself. If this is true, that means the August 1, 2018 Google update majorly changed the more than 500 ranking factors and signals that digital marketers rely on.

Despite the lack of hard proof (in the form of a detailed Google report), this speculative definition of the term “broad core update” isn’t without merit.

Google’s Priorities and How These Affect You

Over the past couple of weeks after the update, analysts note that the change is less in how many websites were affected and more in how they were affected.

This seems to be confirmed by Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan when he tweeted that affected pages should focus on creating “great content”, and then referred people to a new section in the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Again, no hard confirmation from Google, but the new sections in the guidelines do give people a clue to what might have been changed.

Section 7.3 outlines Page Quality Rating Guidelines and mentions a new web page classification: Your-Money-or-Your-Life pages or YMYL. In a nutshell, YMYL pages are any page that affects a person’s current or future quality of life. Google shares five examples like:

  • Pages that solicit personal information
  • Pages used for monetary transactions
  • Pages that offer medical or health information that could impact your physical well-being
  • Pages offering advice on major life decisions
  • Pages offering advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances

These pages are targeted specifically because their content can have a significant impact on users, so Google demands higher quality from these pages. With this update, websites with YMYL pages need to heavily invest time and effort into creating authoritative content that positively impacts a user’s quality of life.

So instead of focusing your digital marketing strategy on fancy new apps or website gimmicks, it might be best to go back to basics and remember that age-old, yet perennially relevant, saying: Content is King.

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