Google is known for constantly tweaking its algorithm to improve its search index and give users the best possible results. Many of these changes slip under the radar, but a few times a year, Google releases major updates that we all need to be aware of. These are known as Core Updates, and they have the potential to significantly impact your performance in search.
As it happens, Google just recently finished rolling out the March 2023 Core Update. So, if you’ve noticed a drop in traffic, let’s take a look at 3 ways you can recover your performance.
#1 – Update your content
Over the years, Google has made it clear that if a core update has affected your site, it doesn’t always mean there’s something that immediately needs fixing. It could be the case that you haven’t done anything wrong, but other sites may have done things better.
For this reason, it’s important not to panic and go around your website changing things for the sake of it. It’s more likely that you’ll benefit from making a small number of targeted optimisations in specific areas of your website.
Here’s Google’s official advice to those who have been affected by a Core Update:
“We suggest focusing on ensuring the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”
So, our first recovery method is to update your content, here are some ways you can do this:
- Make sure your content is trustworthy and authoritative – answer a visitor’s needs in an in-depth manner with correct, verifiable information.
- Include relevant keywords that will attract users and encourage them to stay engaged.
- Mark up your page with schema to help search engines better understand your content.
- Break up your text into digestible chunks with clear titles and headings.
- Compress images and remove unused code to increase page loading speed.
Once you’ve covered these key areas, your content will be in a better position to perform well post-update. But if, after some time, you’re still not seeing the desired results, you may need to dig a bit deeper. Google has provided a detailed checklist of content-related questions to help in this regard.
#2 – Group your content by topic
How you organise the content on a website is almost as important as the quality of the content itself. It’s essential that both users and search engines can quickly and easily navigate through your site.
By grouping your content together into clear and organised groups, you can achieve this goal. You may also find that this makes it easier to ensure that you’ve covered your subject matter in more detail. By starting from a broad topic and working down into individual pieces, you can create a hierarchy of content that’s simple to follow, review and manage.
So, if your content is scattered across your site and it’s difficult to locate important pages, this might be the cause of a drop in traffic. Unfortunately, producing high-quality content alone may not be enough to withstand a core Google update.
Think about how you can begin to group your existing content into main categories and sub-categories that follow a clear, logical path. And when you come to create new content, spend some time planning how it’ll fit into your new structure in an organised manner.
#3 – Improve internal linking
Internal linking is a highly effective way to help users navigate through your website and find the content they’re looking for. It also allows search engines to discover more of your content and understand the relationship between pages.
We’ve already covered grouping content together, which is one form of internal linking. But there are other ways you can implement this technique to boost your site’s performance:
- Adding key/underperforming pages into the main navigation or footer.
- Run a technical audit to identify broken internal links, redirect chains and loops, or orphaned pages (pages that aren’t linked to any other page or section of your website).
- Make sure all pages within your site can be reached in 3 clicks or fewer. If they can’t, add more internal links leading to them.
- Optimise your anchor text. Avoid using phrases like ‘click here’ and ‘read more’ as it’s better to provide specific context explaining where your link is taking the user.
- Link to important pages directly from your homepage.
- Make sure you have submitted a sitemap to Google.
Internal links also help to spread link equity from one page to another. Link equity or ‘link juice’ is a level of value or authority that is passed from one page when it links to another.
If you have a page on your website that you know performs well, you can use it to boost underperforming pages by linking to them and passing along the link equity.
Ready to turn things around?
If you have been impacted by the March Core Google Update, or any other update for that matter, the most important thing is not to panic. Remember that during the update period, it’s normal for rankings to temporarily fluctuate. Even after an update has finished rolling out, it can still take some time for things to settle.
If your rankings still haven’t recovered, feel free to get in touch with us. Our SEO team can perform a full audit of your site to see what might be causing the issue and help get your website back on track!