Stop Panicking Over Google Updates

When it comes to the world of SEO, it can be natural to feel a sense of urgency with any significant drop in the amount of traffic that you are seeing. For many, the worry is all about Google offering up less information when it comes to algorithm updates. However, you could be flustered over the latest updates for nothing.

Typically speaking, if you are noticing that there is a good bit of activity in terms of fluctuations in the search engine rankings, it could simply mean that there have been some changes and updates that are leading to a drop in traffic. It used to be commonplace to worry about such large-scale changes that are rolled out. While it is still a good idea to understand what these Google algorithms contain, it is not necessary to know every single detail of the update in order to keep your website in the black.

The No-Name Rollout

It used to be that Google would share helpful information with SEO experts and even give each of the updates a name. This made it a whole lot easier to determine the issue by knowing the target of the update. Today, however, Google is not sharing as much of this information and they are staying quiet about the changes that get rolled out, or even why they come about.

All About ‘Fred’

Do you remember hearing anything about ‘Fred’? This is simply a name that was given for every update that an Indianapolis SEO company noticed that Google put out without a confirmation or an official name. If your site is suffering some sort of a downturn, this can leave you wondering what needs to be fixed and how you can begin to regain your rankings.

Can You Work Without A Net?

Today, you are in a post-update world where Google is rolling out updates on a regular basis. The algorithms are updating just about every day, with some several times per day. Yet, you are not privy to that information. In this post-update world, you are not going to be getting any sort of naming or identifying of the algorithm changes and no confirmation that a certain update has been rolled out. While this feels kind of like walking a tightrope without a net, you can still go to Google indirectly to get a good bit of the information that you need.

To understand the algorithm updates, you need to know exactly what they entail. Many of the updates are going to tackle issues that are under these categories:

  • Issues with links
  • Quality of content
  • Technical problems
  • User experience

The good news is that you can find a wealth of information using various resources to give you a whole lot of insight as to what Google wants to see whenever it visits a website. These are resources that span across everything from the guidelines on analyzing the quality of the website content to overall SEO best practices.

Google Webmaster Guidelines – This is a great place to go to find the basics for all webmasters and website owners.

SEO Starter Guide – Here you will find an outline of the best practices when it comes to indexing, helping Google crawl and getting a feel for your content.

Google Quality Raters Guide – This is the guide used by raters when it comes to the evaluation of search result quality, or when a user clicks on the listing of your website from a search results page.

While it may seem as though there is still a bit to be worried about when you are unable to predict what Google is thinking, these are some helpful things to consider instead. Rather than stressing about missing the latest rollouts, there are ways to work around the issue so that you can still get the valuable information you need to stay up in the search rankings.

Web Text Hidden By CSS and JavaScript Is Weighed Low By Google

Many web pages are structured so that some of their text is only displayed onscreen via CSS or JavaScript that has been triggered by user input. For example, when a piece of content is displayed with a button at the bottom that says something like “Read More,” clicking it makes the button disappear and makes the remaining portion of that content display. When users browsing the web are looking at online stores, descriptive text content is often contracted like this so that the browser sees only relevant introductory text. From there, the user may be enticed and may click on the button to read more details of interest.

This is a common tactic in luring potential customers without forcibly displaying extra details that might not be of interest to browsers that aren’t planning to purchase the product or service. In addition to the promotion of a better-formatted user experience, many site owners include this so that they can track how often consumers who may not ultimately buy anything are at least interested enough to dig deeper and bring up the additional information.

However, hiding text content behind expandable buttons ironically runs counter to the equally important need to increase the web page’s SEO and prominence in search engine results, most notably those of Google. In the particular case of Google, this is because the text that is hidden by default, while recognized by the engine to be in the source code of the web page, is ruled to be not as significant as the text that is allowed to display as soon as the page opens. Therefore, text hidden by scripts do not contribute as much as they should to the process of causing web pages to appear as highly in Google search results.

Oddly, other search engines do weigh visible text and the text that is initially hidden as equally significant in terms of SEO. Yahoo and Bing are notable examples, but Google is the most prominent and popular search engine used today by an extremely wide margin. This is why anyone who plans to hide text behind a JavaScript button will have to determine on their own whether hiding text to make a web page easy for visitors to visually parse is worth allowing that particular text to only do some of its part to help the page itself be visible to search engine users.

There is at least one option that site owners can pursue in order to more-or-less enjoy the benefits of both SEO optimization and organized visual priority, however. An overlay element can be displayed on the screen as soon as a web page is opened so that a relevant message can be shown effectively and directly in the center of the browser window, and it will occupy a box that only visually covers the text displayed on the page underneath. The user’s natural instinct will be to read what is shown right in front of them and then close the overlay in order to be allowed to read the text that explains and qualifies that message. Meanwhile, the fact that the text beneath the overlay is still considered to be the page’s “up-front content” will cause all of it to fully contribute to the page’s SEO.