Every algorithm update released by Google is oriented towards improving the users’ experience. The Google Core Updates, which it rolls out a few times each year, always proves to be an effort in that direction. The latest stream of updates by Google is somewhat rolled out uniquely as the first part of it rolled out in July 2021.
The Search Liaison of Google, Danny Sullivan, said that the second part wasn’t yet complete in June. So, the company decided to divide the update into two parts rather than waiting for the entire core update to be rolled out together.
This hints towards the intensity and the enormity of these June-July 2021 core updates, considering Google decided to roll out the updates separately. When you look closely at these updates, it can be broken down to few aspects where Google has focused the most.
It includes the quality and relevancy of the outbound links, targeting the websites slandering people, the page experience of the users, and eliminating/reducing spam as much as possible. These are the core metrics Google has focused on in their June-July 2021 Update.
The rank volatility is one factor that is often analyzed to understand how the Google updates impact the websites across different categories.
The internet industry is booming in South Africa, and with more and more businesses and content creators getting online, it is only expected to grow in the coming times. The latest update has somehow helped many websites from the categories, including – (in descending order)
- Arts & Entertainment
- Online Communities
- Food & Drink
- Computers & Electronics
- Law & Government
- Internet & Telecom
- Business & Industrial
- People & Society
Though the list is huge, we have named the top ten gainers from Google’s July 2021 Update. Many of the South African websites from these categories would have noticed a spike in their rankings in July.
Many websites from these categories that noticed a sudden or considerable drop in June 2021 might have witnessed a reversal or consolidation of their position in the search engine results in July/August.
So, how can South African websites adapt to the Google July 2021 Update?
Avoid Link Spam – At All Costs
South African website owners and administrators should be wary about using Black Hat techniques to gain temporary higher positions in the SERPs. The July 2021 Update is also referred to as ‘Link Spam’ update, and rightly so, as Google targets websites that are misusing the weight outbound links carry to gain higher positions in the search results.
The outbound links should be relevant, high-quality, and organic. It doesn’t apply to affiliate links, so the emphasis is on the use of ‘rel attribute’ that indicates the nature of the links. Focus on using content that helps in the organic population of links on the web rather than link spam techniques.
Improve & Enhance ‘Page Experience’
One of the key attributes of Google’s July 2021 Update is measuring the page experience offered by the web pages. There are hundreds of parameters and signals that Google checks to quantify the page experience offered by a web page. It revolves mainly around the page loading time, visual stability, interactivity, performance, responsiveness, easy-to-navigate, web page’s security, mobile-friendliness, overall user experience, and HTTPS use.
South African websites have to focus more on how their websites interact with users and strive to offer a smooth, seamless, and streamlined experience to the end-users. So, if your website is slow, unload extra graphics, elements, images, and scripts that make the website slow.
If unwanted elements on the website hamper your website’s usability or interactivity, consider optimizing or removing them. The use of HTTPS in the website is simply non-negotiable in today’s date for any website on the web. Focus on offering valuable content to the users that answers their questions and matches their queries rather than just making the website visually appealing.
The universal rule to safeguard your website from any Google Update is to ensure the content on your website is well-optimized and value-oriented. If the users love the content, they will share it on social media and talk good things about it, which is always a positive sign Google looks for.
This is also one of the important elements of Google’s June-July 2021 update. It is directed towards websites that talk negatively about other people without references or evidence. This update came as an aftermath by a New York Times article on how many websites were publishing fake news or slandering individuals online, positioning these web pages on top, and then blackmailing the individuals for a ransom to get the slandering pages to be removed.
It is a form of warning by Google that they know what’s going on and wouldn’t hesitate to remove or blocklist websites engaged in such activities. It is a kind of spam prevalent worldwide in the undercurrent, and the South African internet industry isn’t invulnerable to it.
This move by Google will help the South African internet community get filtered for good. The South African websites or online communities engaged in publishing reports or news about individuals must tread carefully when publishing news. Every article and its information must be authenticated before publishing to ensure it is not construed as slander by Google.
The South African internet industry and community are growing at a rapid pace. If you’re directly or indirectly related to the online industry, it is important to keep a close watch on updates rolled out by Google. It would help you align your web properties to the guidelines set out by the internet giant. If not, be ready to be penalized or get beaten by your competitors to oblivion.