Last March, Google updated its algorithm in a way that influenced how highly websites are ranked in search results. In the past, Google hasn’t officially named very many of their updates, and they usually only name the ones that are more significant. This one was pretty significant, and it was officially given the name “March 2019 Core Update.” Since that update, websites that were ranked highly might rank lower than they used to. In this blog post, we’ll explore this update and answer the following questions:
- What did they change?
- Why was the update necessary?
- Who is being affected by it?
- How are we at taking advantage of the update to make our clients’ websites rank more highly?
What Did They Change?
The purpose of this update was to make sure the websites that rank the highest in any given search are providing accurate and credible information. There are millions of websites on the internet, but only a very small number of them can be trusted. Most websites are influenced by some sort of bias, and many of them intentionally provide false information.
Google knows that its users are looking for accurate and credible information on the internet, so they do their best to put the most trustworthy websites at the top of any given search result. They do that by analyzing websites and looking for a few key things that can be remembered by using the acronym EAT, which stands for:
Because of this update, before Google puts a specific website near the top of a search result, it reviews the website to make sure that it portrays those three things in an understandable way. If it does, it will be allowed to appear near the top of search results. If it doesn’t, it will be ranked lower than it otherwise would have been.
Why Was It Necessary?
Google is constantly updating its algorithm. And when we say “constantly,” we mean it: Usually, they make 500-600 changes to the algorithm every year. Every single one of those changes impacts search results and how highly websites rank on the site. Some of the updates are minor (in fact, most of them are unnoticeable), others (like this one) are more significant, but every update shares a similar goal:
To help Google provide more useful and relevant information to its users.
Google isn’t like most websites. Most websites want people to visit for long periods of time and interact with it in multiple ways. Google, on the other hand, wants the exact opposite: Their goal is to have their users stay on their page for short periods of time and interact with it as little as possible. When they get you off of their website quickly, that means they provided you with relevant and useful information in a timely manner, which is exactly what they’re supposed to do.
Whom Did It Affect?
The short answer is everybody with a website. No matter what your website is, if it doesn’t clearly portray expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, it will now rank lower than it did before the update. There are, however, some websites that were affected more than others.
Specifically, any websites that fall into the “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL) category were the most impacted by the update. YMYL websites are ones that tell people how to spend their money or how to live their life. Here are a few examples of websites that would fall into this category:
- Legal information pages that provide advice on important topics such as divorce or bankruptcy
- Medical information pages about physical or mental health, addiction, or any other related topic
- Mommy blogs that offer parenting advice
- Any webpages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, or do anything else that is related to transferring money from one place to another
- And more
What Are We at Gravitate Doing About It?
For the unprepared, this update could have been devastating—websites that used to rank in the top three search results might find themselves hidden on the third or fourth page. For the prepared, on the other hand, this update is a wonderful opportunity to rank higher and get more traffic. Lucky for you, we were prepared for this update, and we are using it to your advantage by making sure:
- Your credentials are clearly listed on your website
- Your website portrays accurate information
- The backend of your website contains structured data, which allows Google to more easily understand it
- Your website demonstrates your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness
- Important information is easy to find on your website (this includes addresses, “About Us” pages, and telephone numbers)
- Your website has an SSL, which is the standard level of security for websites