Google’s algorithm has undergone massive changes in the past years. It has particularly affected YMYL websites, including sites that come under the medical, legal, or financial niche.
Major broad core algorithm updates result in a spike or a drop in website traffic. For sites that have been affected negatively by these updates, recovery can be very challenging.
In the worst-case scenario, all efforts to improve SEO rankings to the positions they fell from fail, resulting in total dismay.
So, what does Google say about recovering from core updates? Well, according to the search engine giant, there’s nothing much you can do about it.
However, saying there’s ABSOLUTELY no way to recover from core updates may be an oversimplification.
Sometimes, recovery is possible through significant effort, dedication and time. Even so, the increase in SEO rankings doesn’t always come to notice until a subsequent update rolls out or several updates go by.
Is Addressing EAT Issues the Only Way to Recover?
The recent Google updates have given rise to many discussions in the SEO industry about EAT being solely responsible for performance decline.
However, EAT is not the only issue affecting websites. In fact, EAT compliance is not essential to every site.
Want to know more about EAT? Check out this exclusive article on EAT, and its implications.
Here are ten strategies websites could implement to improve SEO rankings after being hit by an algorithm update.
Boost Real Expertise
One of the frequent recommendations from Google and seasoned SEO experts is to ensure that all authors have associated bios alongside their byline or on a dedicated author bio page.
This is a great recommendation considering you want to maintain transparency about your authors, but it’s not an inherent ranking factor.
What’s more important is to ensure that the content on your YMYL site is written with the help of real experts in the field.
Many top-ranking sites ensure their content is factually correct after getting it approved by expert reviewers, such as doctors, psychologists, or financial advisors.
Although expert-reviewed content is not any sort of confirmed ranking factor by Google, it improves the quality of your content, making it more accurate and trustworthy than other similar sites. This in turn can help you to improve SEO rankings.
Reduce Aggressive Ads
Google is ok with you having Ads, but when they become intrusive, the whole temperament changes. Google has been hell-bent on providing a good user experience, and they consider aggressive ads as a caveat to achieving this.
Back in 2012, Google had rolled out a page layout update that undervalued sites that caused hindrance to the users through too many above-the-fold ads.
Most sites used this as a clickbait strategy and caused a severe distraction to the user’s real intent of accessing the content.
Intrusive Interstitials is part of Google’s Page Experience algorithm, and you must ensure that the users’ experience is not getting affected by ads or other elements like popups.
Do an in-depth analysis of the ads-vs-content proportion above the fold for your mobile and desktop site and make sure everything is within the guidelines set by Google.
Implement Trust Signals
The drop in SEO rankings could also be because of the low trust signal for your site. If Google finds rampant negative reviews about your service, it may decide to pull the rankings down.
One way to avert this is by displaying the awards and certifications that you have earned on your website.
Additionally, make sure that you reply to the people who leave a negative review. Try to address their concern and get the negative feedback reversed. This not only helps in increasing your SEO rankings but also adds more trustworthiness to your website.
Use Editorial Policies and Ad Disclosures
Try to make the whole process as transparent as possible. Include an illustrative About page with the details of the people who are involved in the business. If your’s is a YMYL website, try to add the qualification of the team members so that it adds more credibility.
Talking about individual pieces of content, ensure that the author’s name and a detailed bio are added. If the author is not experienced in the YMYL niche, make sure to get the content reviewed by an expert and add the details of the expert too.
Improve Content Quality
It is a no-brainer that sites that improve rankings after an algorithm update maintain the highest quality of content. This is especially true for YMYL sites.
Any content that you publish on your site should be well-researched, well-edited, and contain citations from trusted publications.
When you use these citations, you’ve to ensure that these external links boost your SEO purpose since Google draws a connection between your content and sites from which you source them.
Try adding more value to the content by including your research and findings. This can help your content stand out and ultimately help in improving the SEO rankings of your keywords.
Audit Content Accuracy & Scientific/Medical Consensus
Adding any content that directly contradicts medical, scientific, or historical consensus could put your site in jeopardy.
Google’s search quality guidelines mention the word “consensus” multiple times, and contradicting it could result in your site being rated and failing to meet the lowest possible quality rating.
This happened to be the issue for several natural and alternative medicine websites that contradicted some of the most trusted medical publications like Mayo Clinic and WebMD.
Don’t Try to Oversell
It is important to avoid using transactional language on YMYL sites. Using informational content with a call-to-action can cause users to distrust information present on the site.
If you have a gated content that requires users to provide their details, Google becomes extra conscious of ranking your content. Try not to ask for critical personal information such as the Social Security Number or the details about the medical conditions.
Resolve Technical Issues
Addressing EAT, user experience, and content quality are definitely important for any website, but none of them should ignore technical SEO aspects on their site.
If Google cannot crawl and index your content, it makes all other efforts put on your site very futile.
You should take some measures to improve the technical quality of your site, such as ensuring the page speed is good, being easy to navigate by users, ensuring there are no AMP errors or issues that prevent search engine bots from crawling indexing new content.
Replace Low-Quality Content
If a section of your site has low-quality content, it can bring down the quality of the entire site. Replace low-quality, thin, or duplicated content with well-researched ones, else consider no indexing or removing low-quality content from the site.
Check for Local Intent in the SERPs
A thoughtful step to recover from core updates is to look at the search results for your query and ensure that the keywords you once thought generic are not now being classified as of local intent.
If you see map pack or localized pages ranking for your keyword, you’ll have to chalk out a strategy to make the keyword work for local queries.
So, these are some of the useful tips for recovering your SEO Rankings after Google’s core algorithm updates. While these don’t guarantee an improvement in your website traffic, there’s no harm in trying these strategies to improve your site quality and offering a good user experience.