Google is the lifeblood of a thriving ecomermce business, but it can also prove fickle. How many times have you worked hard to rank your site only to see your traffic tank after a Google algorithm update? The good news is you have more control over how algorithm updates impact your site than you might think. Here’s what to expect from the last algorithm update, how it affects your ecommerce business, and what to focus on next.
Product Reviews Matter
Product reviews have always helped shape the online shopping journey. Surveys show that nearly 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. Like the rest of Google’s algorithm updates, its Product Reviews Update is designed with the user experience in mind. Marketers and content creators are encouraged to avoid thin, flimsy content and focus on detailed online reviews.
Creating your own product reviews may not be possible on your ecommerce site. But you can still feature the best reviews from your customers or compare your competitors’ products. Keep it thorough, honest, and helpful. If your competitors shine in a specific area, don’t be afraid to say it. You may miss out on a few sales, but they’re unlikely your ideal customer. In return, you improve the quality of your content and earn more search volume, which can ultimately lead to more traffic and sales.
Spam and Link Spam Algorithm Update
No one likes spam, and the latest Google algorithm rolled out a robust spam update in all languages worldwide. This is nothing new, as Google is always rolling out new and improved spam-fighting updates, but the latest is specific to link spam.
The good news is you would have to be maliciously trying to trick users into providing personal details or installing malware on their site. Instead, you’re an ambitious ecommerce owner looking to increase the customer experience and earn more sales. If you suddenly see a significant drop in traffic, it’s a good idea to check your site’s security (or work with your web team) to see if you were attacked and unwittingly creating spam of your own.
Low Performers Are Increasingly De-Ranked
It’s no secret Google has never been a fan of low-performing websites that don’t offer much value. Of course, as a new or growing ecommerce store, your page probably isn’t performing well. But don’t worry; there is a difference between de-ranked and not ranking. If you’re still gaining traction, Google will continue crawling your site, evaluating your content with its algorithms, looking for social signals, and paying attention to things like bounce rate and site speed.
The problem is if you’re already ranking well and Google’s new algorithm sees that you’re not offering much relevant information. Let’s say you built a travel website but suddenly switched and are now selling supplements. Google will likely determine your content is no longer relevant to the searches it was ranking you for and de-rank your site.
Think About Value, Not Keyword Stuffing
You probably won’t rank well for long if you’re keyword-stuffing your way to high search results without offering much to your audience. More than relevancy, the latest Google algorithm looks for value to keep ranking your site high. Google can and does remove pages that detect keyword stuffing and instead prioritizes pages with value. Your SEO is about so much more than just keywords.
Google’s algorithms can pose a mystery for online entrepreneurs, but it all comes back to focusing on the value to your customers. What is considered valuable? Do you provide relevant, researched information that’s easy to read? Is the user experience regarding where customers can find what they’re looking for? Do people come and, more importantly, stay on your website? Google’s algorithm takes notice and determines your site is valuable to customers.
Optimized Pages for Mobile Search Are Rewarded
Google is obsessed with the mobile experience and previously announced a mobile-first index. The search engine primarily uses the mobile version of a webpage to rank and index sites. The good news is just about all website templates, platforms, and tools are already optimized for mobile. You can open a website and actually read it, unlike the days when surfing the Internet on mobile was a novelty.
There’s more to mobile search than being able to see and navigate the site. If Google sees that mobile users suffer through your mobile experience, they’re likely to de-rank your site. A truly rewarding mobile experience makes it easy to surf your online store, navigate to products, read the copy, add products to an online shopping cart, get help through chat, and intuitively use your website.
Should You Be Worried About the Latest Google Algorithm Update?
If you’re worried about Google updates, don’t be. Their algorithm updates are generally always about improving the user experience from start to finish. Instead of creating content or an experience that pleases Google, focus on your customers. The results are cyclical. When you provide a better user experience, Google notices and is more likely to bump up your ranking.
Of course, results take time, and there’s considerable detail and nuance that goes into creating an ideal user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). Ready to make the most of the new Google algorithm update? Book a call with us today to discuss improving your own rankings and ensure your site is exceeding your customer expectations.