Google Unleashes New Core Algorithm Update
Google’s latest algorithm update continues to place emphasis on demonstrating Expertise, Authority and Trust (E-A-T) across your web materials.
Following the last confirmed Google algorithm update known as the ‘Medic Update’ last August, March 12th saw Google release another broad core algorithm change which has created a lot of chatter in the SEO world.
Whilst the result of this update - the third confirmed change since Google began using the terminology - is yet to be fully felt and understood, early data sets show that it could be fairly similar to the changes brought about by Medic.
The Medic Update
August’s Medic update, also referred to as the E-A-T update, had a heavy focus on ensuring sites that provide information relating to personal health, financial advice and similar topics, had the authority and expertise behind them to impart such sensitive information.
Because these types of sites have the potential to strongly impact the lives of individuals who rely on them for information, Google sought to ensure it provided results showing only those they deemed as having the greatest expertise in the subject matter.
As such, websites about health, medical advice and money, also known as Your-Money-Your-Life (YMYL) websites, saw huge upheaval in search as the Big-G re-evaluated their E-A-T attributes.
The March 12th Update
It’s still early days to tell what changes were brought about in this update, but various outlets are reporting on data that tells a very similar story to the Medic update.
YMYL and similar sites are continuing to see both positive and negative fluctuations in their rankings and search visibility. As expected, websites that are able to demonstrate a high trust-value are being favoured. Interestingly though, the trend shows that these sites seeing positive improvements are also those with a strong brand presence and broad topical focus within their area of expertise.
Unfortunately, the flipside of this is smaller sites operating in highly specific niches of said wider areas of expertise are now suffering as their lack of size and breadth struggles to demonstrate E-A-T.
Will I be affected?
It’s safe to say that whenever Google releases an update, it’s hard not to be on edge about the potential impact it might have on your site, organic traffic and ultimately, your business.
However, unless your site falls under the umbrella of YMYL, you can probably breath a sigh of relief, though make sure to keep an eye on your traffic and rankings over the next 4-6 weeks to spot any anomalies which might indicate otherwise.
If you are worried that you’ll be included in this group, there are various ways to improve your E-A-T profile, and in fact, it’s best practice for everyone to be doing this anyway.
Demonstrate expertise in as many ways possible
For users, and search engines, to really trust your content, you need to demonstrate you’re qualified to be talking about the subject matter. A few ways to implement this might be:
- Including profiles about team members on your website, detailing what certifications or experience qualify them as experts on the topic;
- Ensuring you provide an author bio at the end of articles or blog posts that qualifies the author as a subject-matter expert;
- Utilising schema markup alongside the above to clearly indicate each person, their qualifications, experience, expertise and more, and then relate the Person markup with Article schema.
Develop brand authority
Relying purely on search traffic to drive your brand growth has the potential for disaster, one wrong algorithm change or ranking penalty could cause the house of cards to collapse. Instead, work on building your brand through other channels to provide indications of your authority as a recognised name in your space.
Achieving high volumes of direct traffic from users who know you and trust your website for answers will result in being more recognised when you do appear in search and over time this will help to develop authoritativeness in the eyes of Google.
Highlight trust factors clearly
Your website should very clearly express what makes you a trustworthy source of information, this can be achieved via:
- A strong backlink profile from other E-A-T websites in your space;
- Showing off your awards, accreditations, partnerships or similar signals of trust within your industry on your homepage and other relevant areas of your website;
- Collating user reviews and testimonials via a trusted review aggregator, such as Google Reviews, Reviews.co.uk, Feefo, or Trustpilot and then clearly displaying these across your site with associated schema markup.
Still worried? Help is at hand
If you feel you might have been affected by the March 12th Algorithm Update, or require assistance in implementing E-A-T signals across your website, we can help guide you through the process.
Our expert team can not only provide development support for your website, but can assist with ongoing search engine optimisation, website audits and recommendations to improve your search marketing capabilities.