What Google’s ‘core algorithm changes’ mean for your website

The search engine undergoes frequent tweaks, but the rollout of major modifications means a new emphasis on user intent. Here’s a look at the ramifications for businesses.

Google is continually updating its algorithm—but the current modification is significant.

Often, Google’s tweaks have minimal effect on your ranking, assuming you’ve been complying with its SEO guidelines. However, Google recently released a tweet mentioning “broad core algorithm changes,” which are relatively rare.

Such an overhaul puts many companies at risk of losing their search engine ranking. Here’s a close look at the changes:

What does a ‘core algorithm update’ mean?

Google frequently updates features of its ranking algorithm; this time, the company has updated the algorithm’s foundation. Many websites will be affected by the changes, even if prior updates had no effect on their ranking.

Why is Google making such major algorithm changes?

All changes are intended to improve search results. This one is supposed to help understand user intent as well as deciphering the content itself.

For example, if someone searches for “cars to buy,” he’ll see results of websites that sell cars, even if they have a lower ranking than more prestigious websites that include content about the “best cars to buy.” If someone searches for “the best cars to buy,” she will get results of more informative websites, because her “intent” is to garner more information.

How do I find out if my domains are affected?

This is only the beginning, so your domains could still be affected in coming weeks and months. In the meantime, you can check your keyword rankings and ensure your websites are mobile-friendly.

Content-heavy websites, such as major news portals, have seen a boost since the algorithm changes took hold. Websites with scant content, such as Etsy, have seen a negative effect. Make sure each page that you publish (and that Google indexes) has at least 500 words.

A version of this post first appeared on Ignite Digital.

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