Google tried to sneak their Quality Update past us!
We at SEO Inc. have seen the “Google Quality Update” on the horizon for a while now. We and the rest of the SEO world thought it would release with more fanfare (or at least with plenty of warning as with Mobilegeddon). But with the mostly silent release of the Google Quality Update on Tuesday May 19th, Google proves once again that it is perfectly comfortable holding us SEO experts at its mercy.
Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz saw a lot of buzz earlier in the month from webmasters reporting changes in their traffic. Following up on talk of a possible Panda update, he reached out to Google and got a response: No update, they said.
Schwartz didn’t rule out the possibility that something had changed, suggesting a “bug,” a “limited update,” or even an update that was not “according to Google’s terminology.”
Two weeks later, we find out there was an update. No, it wasn’t a Panda update. But it did release, despite Google’s earlier claims that no update had released.
Recommended for YouWebcast: Turning Your Website Into a Lead Generation Machine
What Google Quality Update Means
The Google Quality Update, as the folks over at Search Engine Land are calling it, is confirmed to be a change to Google’s “core ranking algorithm in terms of how it processes quality signals.”
This means that sites that have higher quality, according to Google’s new quality update, will start to show up higher on the SERPs.
Like Mobilegeddon before it, the quality update is really a small-scale version of a larger effort — an effort to improve Google’s search results, and therefore, user experience.
Google’s John Mueller explained in a Google+ hangout that these algorithmic updates happen “all the time” in pursuit of the goal “to make sure that the quality of the search results are really as high as possible.”
More Quality to Come?
Since many have found their website’s rankings unchanged, and Mueller is suggesting these are really rather minor updates, can we expect more updates affecting Google search quality? We think the answer is a resounding “yes.”
We suggest all webmasters be on the lookout for additional quality updates, which may affect your site’s rankings. Some how-to sites have reported lowered rankings, such as HubPages, a website dedicated to providing thousands of “how-to” guides and blogs.
What’s interesting is the supposed coming of Knowledge-Based Trust being implemented into Google’s algorithms. Content based on verifiable facts could very well be one of the factors included in the new algorithms that contribute to a site’s “quality.” But what to make of the HubPages, which has content dedicated on how to, assumedly, answer a variety of issues and questions.
Despite this hit to how-to websites, Search Engine Land states that the quality update did not target any specific kind of website. As they put it, “it was an update to the ranking algorithm itself.”
What to Do if Your Quality is Lacking
If you’ve seen a dip in rankings since earlier this month, it may mean something’s wrong with your website. If you think you’ve been hit by the Google quality update, you might want to review our recent SEO tips blog post, or contact your SEO service provider.