Every Google update sends site owners worrying about how their websites will fare. Some will go down, while others will be sent up in the rankings. This uncertainty is the reason why the November update is yet another worrying move from Google for site owners.
Still, there’s no need to panic. John Mueller from Google has given his take on some of the concerns surrounding the latest updates and why site rankings vary.
The new technology on the block
The newest kid in town is BERT technology. Google claims it to be the biggest stride in search for the past five years. BERT works by interpreting the relation of each word of an entered query. This is a big development as Google used to search meanings through individual word interpretation.
So how does this translates to site owners? Well, it will directly affect your rankings on specific keywords. But this isn’t bad news. In fact, Google is just putting traffic where it’s due. That means you’re losing website traffic that’s not helpful or converting. As for your ranking, it just goes to show how relevant your pages are for the keyword you’re optimizing for.
The reason why your rank goes down
Don’t be surprised if your page rankings go down after the November update. This is BERT in the works. In fact, if you’re generating rich snippets before, it may not show up this time.
The reason for this is that other pages could turn out to be relevant to the search than yours.
So what can you do here? You don’t necessarily have to fix anything. Just continue producing relevant content. You can also employ a new content strategy so you can outperform the top ranking sites.
From the point of view of a Googler
John Mueller recently addressed some concerns on a webcast as to why some websites rank even if they don’t meet certain ranking factors. Also, he was asked what site owners can do after the big November update.
According to Mueller, there’s no need to panic. BERT is yet another Google update. There’s no need to fix anything to recover from your rank losses.
How come slow sites rank higher than mine?
One webcast member asked Mueller why some sites with slower page speeds rank higher than his. The Googler clarified that page speed is just one of the ranking factors that the search engine takes into account. There are other bigger factors to consider here, including relevance and positive signals.
Junk links and keyword stuffing
Junk links are expired links that don’t’ have any use for your site. The good news is that Google doesn’t pay attention to this. Once it expires, you’ll go back to your original ranking. Nevertheless, you can enjoy the short-lived boost of your pages.
Aside from junk links, Google also allows some sites to get off the hook with keyword stuffing. If a website is popular and in-demand, Google will still place them on the top spot even if they are notorious for keyword stuffing.