If your company creates digital content, then you’re affected by Google’s algorithm updates. Not only do these updates mark the internet history, but they also affect how your business unfolds in the future.
Now, you might ask, “Why is it so important that we know what goes on behind our computer screens?” To understand that, let’s look at some facts:
Given this very fact, Google changes their algorithm around 600 times every year, and each one of these changes have the capability to bring about small or big changes in a marketer’s typical day. Recently, Google launched a core algorithm update on March 7, 2018, which boosted under-rewarded content pages.
The good news? As a HubSpot user, you can use your marketing tools to keep your content relevant—even after 600 algorithm changes.
2018 Google Algorithm Updates
Before we dive into what you can do with your HubSpot content, let’s review some past Google algorithm changes. In the midst of rolling out 500–600 yearly updates, every once in a while, Google also rolls out some major ones such as Google Penguin and Google Panda. Below are some of these major algorithms that were rolled out in 2018 and impacted the search results:
Medic core updates — Aug 1, 2018
Rolled out over a period of a week, the update majorly affected the health vertical, although the impact was seen across all verticals. Overall, the medic update was an extension of the previous updates, where Google suggested that there was no fix for pages that weren’t performing well. Since it was a global update, every site across the world got affected.
Mobile speed update — July 9, 2018
Google rolled out the mobile page speed update after six months of announcing it, enabling page speed as one of the top-ranking factors for mobile results. Google later claimed that this update only affected the slow mobile sites and that there were no major mobile ranking shifts.
Unnamed core update — April 17, 2018
According to Moz, MozCast picked up heavy algorithm flux that peaked on April 17 and continued for over a week. Google later confirmed a "core" update, but didn't provide any specifics, and the update wasn't named by Google or the SEO community.
Check out some more information on the history of Google algorithm updates here.
So, What Can You Do?
Since Google has made it clear that there's no fix for bad pages, you’ll just have to keep working on improving your site with better content and overall better user experience. After all, even the small changes can have a big impact on site rankings; imagine what a major change can do to your site!
However, the sites that lost rankings weren’t all because of low quality. Instead, some were due to the fact that rankings of other sites improved with the update, satisfying the user search way better than those with low rankings. So, if Google’s ability to understand user intent gets even better, then the site that delivered exact matches to user queries will maintain its leadership in the market.
The SEO industry has long believed that Google’s algorithm updates are only targeting low-quality web pages. But there’s no confirmation on that from Google itself. Since the reason for the site to lose their rankings was another site’s improved rankings, it’s undeniable that Google is getting better at understanding user behavior and intent. So, Google is actually not trying to target the low-quality pages on purpose; it’s trying to rank those sites that best meet the user query.
So, if your rankings are down, there is less to worry than what it looks like. Let’s help you move with a step-by-step strategy as to how search engine reads content and how the algorithm updates make a difference to your rankings.
Create buyer personas in HubSpot
Long story short: If your content isn’t good enough, your site won’t be displayed on the first page of Google search results. Essentially, you’re giving away your prospects to your competitors who have done a better job at writing relevant content for their—and now your—potential buyers. You’re clearly showing your knowledge gap between how well you understand your buyer’s interests and the kind of content you decide to share. The main reason for this disconnect is the lack of thorough buyer persona research.
With buyer personas, you can understand what your buyers actually want you to offer them. You can also categorize that offer into different stages so that you’re aligned with the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision stages.
To get started, you can use HubSpot’s buyer persona tool, Make my persona, to create professional, customizable personas in minutes. The tool helps you swim through specific questions designed to help you create well-defined personas. Once you’re done, you’re presented with a customizable and shareable document with important details about your target audience. The whole process helps you clarify who you’re targeting, which you can further categorize into three to five main personas to target initially. For a free lesson on how to create buyer personas in your HubSpot account, check out Creating Buyer Personas for a HubSpot Academy tutorial.
Create content using the SEO tools in HubSpot
There are sites that can actually pretend to have the best content by manipulating their ranking with the help of a few intelligent tactics. One of the most common ones is by using keywords to replace in-depth and valuable content.
But Google is intelligent, too.
It will always favor well-placed, contextually framed, and valuable content that can trigger search queries. So, your job is to keep writing that amazing content that compels Google to put you on top of the list.
One way to do this is by using the SEO tools in HubSpot. You can create well-thought-out topic clusters and pillar pages to organize your website and blog content architecture according to the changing behavior and needs of your buyer persona. These pillar pages help your visitors get answers to their queries as quickly as possible.
The SEO tools in HubSpot will help you understand what you can write about, how to organize it into different topics, and track the ROI of your content efforts. Here’s a detailed description of how these tools work so that you can use them to adapt to the new search shift.
Final Tips for SEO Success
Google doesn’t like sniffing for great content; understanding your site should be easy. To achieve this, here are some of the best elements in HubSpot that you can use for your content:
- Cluster topics with a main pillar page: Use the HubSpot SEO tools for this.
- Addressing buyer pain points and solutions: Create website pages, landing pages, and blog posts in HubSpot that align with the content your buyer personas need.
- Meta descriptions, tags, and titles: Add these elements to any content you create in HubSpot.
Some additional elements to consider are a local SEO strategy and schema with NAP. Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services among local prospects and customers with the help of local content, social profile pages, links, and citations and provides the best local results to users.
Get a comprehensive guide on local SEO here.
Similarly, a Schema is a set of code which enables search engines to understand your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) better, which in turn, helps search engines offer relevant and user-friendly data.
So now that you understand how to keep your content relevant despite regular Google algorithm changes, it’s time to log in to your HubSpot account and start creating buyer personas and increasing the SEO of your content. Good luck!
Want to connect with others on HubSpot tips, tricks, and updates? Head over to the HubSpot Community to join a conversation or start one of your own.