Strategies for Responding to and Handling Core Updates

It’s the phrase that can strike fear into the heart of an unprepared webmaster or business owner – core update. This refers to an update to the main search algorithm of a website that overhauls the search and indexing process, resulting in a more holistic view of the content with a greater focus on expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness – the EAT metric – and overall quality. 

So how do you prepare your website for a core update and make sure you’re prepared for the new paradigm? This involves filtering through your content to ensure you’re only retaining the quality SEO-worthy content and disposing of sites and pages that don’t offer you any benefit. Here are some key strategies for adapting to core updates, so your website comes out stronger than ever. 

Use Search Engine Guidelines

For better or worse, Google is the make-or-break search engine for businesses. The vast majority of online traffic goes through this one portal, so it’s especially important to be aware of their standards and use them to optimize your website. 

Their Search Quality Raters Guidelines change regularly, so it’s critical to be aware of the standard metrics and use them as a guideline for your site’s improvement. This involves avoiding the key pitfalls that could get your site penalized and finding the things they favor that could lift you above the crowd. 

Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness 

No factor determines success on Google’s metric more than E-A-T. Google rates sites based on these three factors. Expertise refers to the authority of the creator of the content, which means they’ll want to look into the writer’s background. Authoritativeness refers to the site’s record and whether it’s seen as a reliable resource on the subject. 

Finally, for Trustworthiness, Google will be looking for a track record including the writer and webmaster’s identity, ways to contact the people behind the site, and information on the site’s history. These factors are so key to success that many people use an expert digital service like Site Explorer to make it easier to find their site’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Ask for Help

This is a complex change for any website, and handling it correctly is key to maintaining your strong search engine ranking. This is why it may help to bring in outside assistance from a professional or peer. It can be hard to see the faults in your own website without an impartial third party to contribute since you only have your own perspective. 

It may be helpful to partner with another webmaster so you can each identify each other’s weak spots. This new perspective might open the door to some positive changes that would have never occurred to you without an outside view. 

SEO Review

A core update is also a great opportunity to review your content and make sure it’s still performing for you. You’ll want to take advantage of your statistics suite to find which content is evergreen and which is past its expiration date. This is especially important for large websites, which might have thousands of pieces of content simply gathering dust. 

This can clog up the search results for your website, making it harder for customers to search for the specific piece that will be able to help them. By culling the old and outdated pieces, you can create a new line of content carefully curated to take advantage of Google’s new algorithm.

Offer Your Readers the Best Content Possible

This one should be self-explanatory – but you never know! Many websites think they can get by with a constant stream of content that keeps them active but doesn’t provide anything of value. Relevant content might not be published as often, but it will provide you better lasting results. 

The best way to curate your content is to keep track of how it’s performing, evaluate the underperforming content, and make improvements when necessary. You’ll want to keep track of this process so you can fall back on what works and avoid repeating old pitfalls by creating a list of most-valuable to least-valuable content types. 

Don’t Fear the Update

Core updates can throw many an update and their algorithm into chaos. This only needs to happen if you’re not prepared. Some simple steps can avoid the troubleshooting after a big change. 

Make sure you’re up on Google’s latest standards and keep track of your site’s E-A-T scores. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; make sure to audit your content, so it’s consistently high-quality. You’ll find that core updates are a step to success rather than a stumbling block. 

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