Google recently announced two back-to-back core updates that rolled out in June and July 2021, as well as the highly anticipated Page Experience update, which is rolling out through August 2021. These Google search algorithm updates are often noticeable to local marketers as they can cause changes to their rankings in search results.
Google also recently announced the upcoming MUM update, which will help deliver even more relevant results for complex search queries. With the bevy of recent Google updates, many businesses are wondering how they can better prepare for these and future updates. And, what action, if any, do they need to take should their search rankings suffer after one of these updates.
We recently assembled a panel of local search and Google My Business (GMB) experts to help us answer your pressing questions, break down what these updates mean for marketers and how to solidify your local marketing strategy for the future of search. Our panel included Joy Hawkins, Owner of Sterling Sky, Inc., Ezekireal Thomas, Senior SEO Strategist with MediaHub, and Amanda Tento, GMB expert and educator.
Below, we will share the top takeaways discussed during the webinar, or you can watch the full webinar on demand now.
Expect to See Changes in Search Rankings
Several times a year, Google makes significant, broad changes to its search algorithms. As Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Google Search, says, these updates can produce some noticeable changes — though typically these are more often seen by people actively running websites than ordinary users. However, our panel agrees that this time around most businesses should expect to see a noticeable change in search rankings.
The June and July Core updates were noticeable for many brands. In fact, Joy shares these two back-to-back updates were more impactful for her clients than other Core updates in recent years. This holds especially true for businesses that have focused on providing an optimal on-page experience for their users. Joy also notes that businesses that saw positive increases in June, saw even higher increases in July. This further solidifies Google’s push towards improving the user experience and rewarding businesses that do so.
Authoritative Content Will Outrank Surface-Level Content
Our panel also notes Google is getting better at determining which web pages should rank higher for keywords. If a page that once performed well has dropped in ranking, it can likely be attributed to the authority and specificity of the content. For example, a personal injury lawyer with a blog post on safety in the workplace will likely be seen as a less qualified source of information than a government website that covers the same topic.
Focus On Easy Wins When Improving Page Experience
Optimizing each of your web pages for the Page Experience update can be a daunting task for local marketers and agencies. However, our panel agreed that although this update has been highly publicized, they don’t anticipate this update will be as significant as marketers are predicting it to be. For example, minor improvements in site speed won’t necessarily be rewarded with this update.
Amanda also adds that keeping your content relevant, researching keywords your customers are using to find your business, ensuring your website is technically sound, and elevating your long-tail keyword strategy should also be part of your local marketing strategy when preparing for a Google update.
Don’t Forget Your GMB Content Too
In addition to optimizing your local pages, your local listings should not be neglected. Amanda recommends continuously updating your local listings for each of your locations to ensure searchers are able to find everything they need to interact with your business at a glance. This includes selecting all attributes applicable to your business, adjusting your product feed as pricing changes, or changing your map pin when necessary.
For more expert tips on the Page Experience Update, download our The Ultimate Guide to Google Page Experience for Enterprise Brands e-book.
Intuitive Searches Will Drive More Relevant Search Results
The upcoming MUM update is expected to significantly improve the search process—delivering better results to queries and giving searchers the answers they need quickly, regardless of how complex their query is. MUM is a step in the direction of reshaping SEO; it is intelligent enough to understand 75 diverse languages as well as multiple forms of information, such as images, text, and video to deliver the most relevant answer. In fact, in its first application, MUM identified 800 variations of vaccine names across 50 languages in seconds.
Optimizing your content across all your channels is key for improving search ranking in light of the MUM update. Consider where Google is sourcing information regarding your business, products, and services. Google has been pulling keywords from your reviews, review responses, your business description, your product descriptions, and local pages. Make sure you’re putting your target keywords as well as long-tail keyword terms in all the places Google is looking.