Where to Focus After Algorithm Updates

where to focus after algorithm updates Reading Time: 4 minutes

Are you a “Proactive SEO” or a “Reactive SEO”? Perhaps the best approach is a healthy portion of both.

Being proactive in SEO means that you are building a web presence towards what you know should be there. You’re planning for not just the here and now, but for years into the future. You’ve conducted deep keyword research and used this to inform your content planning, across the customer/visitor journey. You’ve dug deep on competitors to understand what they have done to be successful in their SEO efforts and helped this to inform your own efforts.

However, SEO is an extremely dynamic practice. You can never assume that all of your great work is safe from changes from your competitors or from the search engines themselves (we’re looking at you, Google). For this reason, you must – also – be reactive in your SEO practices.

Updating your SEO is nearly constant, especially if you are trying to continually push for more value out of your SEO investment. No matter how many algorithm changes occur, a few priorities remain the same.

Content Is King

Debates can happen about the future valuation of link building for SEO efforts. Something that simply isn’t changing in the world of SEO is quality content. No matter what changes, high quality content is central to the algorithm.

“Quality content” seems rather subjective, and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what that means for your website. Essentially, “quality content” implies content that is good for the user/visitor. That  will be different, based upon what the visitor is looking for:

  •     Product Descriptions?
  •     Evergreen resourceful content?
  •     Service offering description?
  •     Time-sensitive news item?

Google is trying to match the best content with the intent of a search. Knowing this, you must provide quality content for that search/query or you will otherwise not be rewarded with high rankings. This has been the result of Google updating its algorithm many times, in order to get to a point where “good content wins”.

Why Is Quality Content Still Vital? 

Ultimately all of the algorithm updates occur in order to better serve users. When your website provides information that is interesting and well-written, users are more likely to spend time reading the content, sharing the content with others,  and perhaps even linking to it. This signals to the search engine that a user has found useful information, and it should usher more users to your site.

Google is getting very good at recognizing content that has been well researched and written by someone who has Expertise on a particular topic, which leads to Google believing in your/their Authoritativeness and the company’s Trustworthiness (otherwise referred to as E-A-T in your SEO efforts).

User Experience

The broader umbrella that seems to withstand algorithm updates is quality UX measures. Focusing on ensuring that the right content is located where users would expect it to be, and that you are properly linking to associated/related topics is key to helping to move the visitor along a good/quality visitor path.

But the first thing that the visitor has to do is actually get a page to load quickly and not have a poor user experience due to technical challenges..

Google’s Core Web Vitals

Google has been teasing its Core Web Vitals update for months. Though the process was slower than anticipated because of the pandemic, the updates finally fully rolled out in July of 2021. This update represents a new set of standards facing digital marketers and UX designers. Overall, the rollout is a set of criteria that allows Google (again, a non-interpretive entity) to give an overall score to a website’s performance to ensure a quality experience for its users. Consider it the Better Business Bureau of the internet.

In order to create a quality score, Google developed three main categories that every website will have to perform well.

core web vitals

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This encompasses the largest piece of media on your website. This category is assessing how long it takes for the largest part of your website to properly load. This standard is set because the page is considered “loading” until the largest piece of media has properly appeared. Longer loading times mean a diminished user experience.

Anything under 2.5 seconds is considered good LCP. Anything above that will likely hurt your search engine ranking.

  1. First Input Delay (FID)

FID tracks the amount of time between when a user tries to use a function of your website and when the website responds. For example, if you have a large button that says, “click here for more information,” FID counts how long it takes from when the click occurs to when the “more information” appears.

Anything less than 100 ms is considered good. Anything more could affect your search engine ranking.

  1. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS covers any shifts or adjustments your page has to make before it settles at “fully loaded.” This can occur on either a mobile site version or a desktop version. The goal is to ensure that your page does not shift at all once it has appeared on a screen. It should be sedentary and usable.

A score above zero means that your page has room for improvement.

Long Term Success

Suffice it to say, the dynamic nature of search engine optimization is what continues to keep the industry in high-demand (you simply cannot “set it and forget it”). Keeping apprised of updates to the algorithms, as well as changes in competitor activity (and new competitors entering the market) is essential in maintaining any growth that you’ve experienced in organic search, and ensuring that you are not falling behind, in the years to come.

At Vizion Interactive, we have the expertise, experience, and enthusiasm to get results and keep clients happy! Learn more about how our SEO Audits, Local Listing Management, Website Redesign Consulting, and B2B digital marketing services can increase sales and boost your ROI. But don’t just take our word for it, check out what our clients have to say, along with our case studies.