SlideShare a Scribd company logo
@lilyraynyc
FUTURE-PROOF YOUR SITE
FOR GOOGLE CORE
ALGORITHM UPDATES
SMX WEST | LILY RAY
@lilyraynyc
LILY RAY
SEO DIRECTOR
@lilyraynyc
Seismic Shifts on Google
@lilyraynyc
Your Money
Your Life
@lilyraynyc
Does This Look Familiar?
(health site)
@lilyraynyc
Does This Look Familiar?
(health site)(drug site)
@lilyraynyc
What does Google
say we should do about
core updates?
@lilyraynyc
NOTHING!
@lilyraynyc
@lilyraynyc
“With core updates, we’ve changed
our calculations and found other pages that
we think are more relevant.
So it’s not a matter of doing anything wrong…
We just don’t think these pages are as
relevant as they originally were.”
@lilyraynyc
SEOs:
@lilyraynyc
Ignoring
Google’s
advice for a
minute…
@lilyraynyc
Can you
recover from
a core update?
YES.
@lilyraynyc
Can you
recover from
a core update?
…but it isn’t easy.
YES.
@lilyraynyc
Recovery
takes time,
hard work,
and patience.
@lilyraynyc
Client Recovery Story
@lilyraynyc
12 Steps for Future-
Proofing Your Site for
Google Core Updates
@lilyraynyc
Have a neutral 3rd party review
your website’s usability and the
quality of your content.
1. Content Quality
@lilyraynyc
Common Scenario
We have the best
content on this topic
so I don’t understand
Why we were hit.
CLIENT
ME
@lilyraynyc
@lilyraynyc
Stop producing
content for the sake of
producing content.
@lilyraynyc
Common Content Problems
• E-A-T issues
• Mixes YMYL & non-YMYL
• Making claims without
sufficient evidence
• Overly promotional
• Too much of it
• Spelling, grammar or readability issues
• Insufficient depth
• Poor structure
• Lack of originality
• Using blogs for evergreen topics
@lilyraynyc
Jumplinks
Thoroughly
researched
Contains citations
to trusted sources
Shows both sides of
the story
Supports claims with
evidence
Sufficient depth
Captions on all images
Labels on ads
Good structure &
optimized headlines
Links to related articles
Reading level: 9.6
Non-distracting
ads
@lilyraynyc
Have you ever manipulated search results in a
way that violates Google’s guidelines?
(…be honest.)
2. Own Up to Past Bad Behavior
Because there are
167 pages of things
to consider.
When is the last time
you read the Quality
Rater Guidelines?
@lilyraynyc
When SEOs discuss the
Quality Rater Guidelines…
@lilyraynyc
Ben Gomes
Google VP of Search,
Assistant & News
“You can view the rater guidelines as where
we want the search algorithm to go. They don't tell
you how the algorithm is ranking results, but they
fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.”
FUTURE
PROOFING!
@lilyraynyc
What can we learn from the QRG?
• Different topics require different levels of E-A-T
• Ads are ok if they are not too distracting
• Your brand’s reputation matters
• Misleading article titles are bad
• Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories are bad
• Misinforming, spreading hate, or deceiving users are all bad
@lilyraynyc
What can we learn
from Google’s
webmaster
guidelines? • There are at least 12 different types of link
schemes
• Low-quality localized landing pages are
doorway pages
• Spammy user generated content can result in
a manual action
@lilyraynyc
Has the intent of the search results
changed for the search queries
for which you lost visibility?
3. Focus on Relevancy & Intent
@lilyraynyc
4 Intent Types:
Informational
Provide
information
Transactional
Buy
something
Navigational
Find
something
Local
Visit a
location
@lilyraynyc
Google Search Console is Your Friend
Use Google Search Console
to identify the pages,
queries and topics that saw
the biggest declines.
Check current top
performers and the SERP for
relevancy and intent.
@lilyraynyc
Check if your keywords
switched to a local intent:
• Local 3-pack (Maps) displayed
• Localized organic results
• Google appending city names to
title tags
Your non-localized page may no
longer be relevant among local results.
@lilyraynyc
Be careful using overly
transactional language on
YMYL content that’s intended
to provide information.
@lilyraynyc
Informational page about “Rosacea”
Links to his main product
@lilyraynyc
Author bios are great
and you should use
them, but leveraging
help from real experts is
even better.
4. (Real) Expertise
@lilyraynyc
Author Bio
(Losing Nutrition Site)
@lilyraynyc
Expert
Reviewers
(Winning YMYL Sites)
@lilyraynyc
Identify & resolve issues related
to your organization’s
trustworthiness and credibility.
5. Manage Reputation Issues
@lilyraynyc
-mycompanywebsite.com “my company” reviews
-mycompanywebsite.com “my company” scam
-mycompanywebsite.com “my company” fraud
-mycompanywebsite.com “my company” quality
-mycompanywebsite.com “my company” customer service
Conducting Reputation Research
@lilyraynyc
Explain why you exist, how you make
money, and why your content should
be trusted.
Maintain ad disclosures & editorial
policies.
6. Transparency is Key
@lilyraynyc
Healthline’sAd&SponsorshipPolicy
1. We choose the ads.
2. We don’t endorse any products.
3. We will not accept certain types of ads.
4. We clearly distinguish ads from editorial
content.
5. We clearly distinguish between sponsored
and nonsponsored content.
6. We clearly distinguish content that is part of a
cobranded program.
@lilyraynyc
Give users reason to believe your
website and your organization can
be trusted.
7. Trust Signals
@lilyraynyc
@lilyraynyc
• 6,000+ words
• Jumplinks to navigate content
• Citations to trusted sources
• Built-in fact-checking
• Shows both sides of the story
• Disclaimers about controversies
• Easy to understand
• Evidence “trust-meter”
TheDietDoctor’sKetoDietPage
@lilyraynyc
If your pages take too long to
load, or the ads distract from
the main content, this can work
against you during algorithmic
evaluations.
8. Page Speed
& Ad Experience
@lilyraynyc
• Limit ads above the fold
• Make ads easy to close
• Ads should not distract from
the main content
• Ads can create performance
issues; pay attention to load
times
Google’s Recommendations
For Using Ads:
@lilyraynyc
Your comments contribute to the
overall quality of your page.
Poor quality or unmanaged
comments can get your site in
trouble during algorithm updates.
9. Take Control
Your Comments
@lilyraynyc
Google interprets the
comments on your page to
be part of the main content.
@lilyraynyc
Client Example: Drug Testing
These comments are
indexable & considered
part of the main content
on a YMYL page!
@lilyraynyc
Handling Comments
If you want to
keep comments
and have them
indexed
Check if
comments
are
indexable
Check that
they are
actually being
indexed
Moderate
comments
for quality
If you want to
keep comments,
but don’t want
them indexed
Require a user
action (i.e. JS
button) to view
comments
If you can’t keep
up with your
comments or
they are low-
quality
Disable
comments
entirely! https://bit.ly/2TV0ScG
Read Glenn Gabe’s
great post about
comment
indexation:
@lilyraynyc
Warning: this advice is
controversial, but it comes
directly from Google’s Guidelines.
10. Content Accuracy &
Scientific/Medical Consensus
@lilyraynyc
Contradicting Consensus = Lowest Quality Rating
Google mentions “consensus” 20 times in the Quality Guidelines
@lilyraynyc
4 Natural Medicine Sites:
@lilyraynyc
Updating Content to Improve E-A-T
@lilyraynyc
January 2020 Core Update: Natural Medicine Sites
Beginning to Recover?
@lilyraynyc
Recovering from core updates requires more
than improving content quality and E-A-T.
Your technical SEO health also matters.
11. Technical Issues
@lilyraynyc
• Crawling, indexing and/or rendering issues
• Mobile un-friendliness
• Coverage report in GSC
• Page speed
• AMP errors
• Manual actions (Schema, link spam,
hacked content)
• Broken pagination
Technical Issues
@lilyraynyc
Core updates look at your overall site
quality.
Low-quality pages can bring down the
quality of the overall domain.
Noindex or remove them.
12. Noindex Low-Quality Content
@lilyraynyc
Remove (or Noindex) Low-Quality Content
John Mueller paraphrase: Filter out the junk from the high-quality
content, search engines evaluate the domain as a whole. (Source)
@lilyraynyc
• Own up to past “bad behavior” on Google and reconcile any
efforts that violate Google’s guidelines
Share these #SMXInsights on your social channels!
@lilyraynyc
• Own up to past “bad behavior” on Google and reconcile any
efforts that violate Google’s guidelines
• Improve content quality and E-A-T by leveraging real experts
and removing/improving low-quality content
Share these #SMXInsights on your social channels!
@lilyraynyc
Share these #SMXInsights on your social channels!
• Own up to past “bad behavior” on Google and reconcile any
efforts that violate Google’s guidelines
• Improve content quality and E-A-T by leveraging real experts
and removing/improving low-quality content
• Don’t ignore technical SEO – doing so can also get you in
trouble during algorithm updates.
@lilyraynyc
SEE YOU AT THE NEXT SMX!
THANK YOU!
Slides: https://bit.ly/2GNlJHb
Twitter: @lilyraynyc

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