Back in November 2021, Google released a Broad Core update which was another update to its algorithms. The Broad Core Update could impact the importance of search terms and/or how links are weighted for rankings. Search Engine Journal explains that core updates affect Google’s primary search algorithm.
The update could affect:
- Page rankings
- Keyword popularity
- Site ranking
- Linking relevance
What does this mean for car dealerships? A core update might affect how pages are ranking. Keywords used on content pages might have fallen in importance or popularity. In addition, dealerships focused on linking might notice that those links on other blogs aren’t rewarding them with higher rankings.
Broad Core Update: No One Really Knows What Changed
As Search Engine Journal explained, SEO experts don’t really know what exactly the algorithm change means or what factors are now negatively impacting rankings. No one knows, because algorithm details are only known to Google.
The primary algorithm is essentially Google’s trade secret for how it ranks sites. However, SEO experts can look at their site’s ranking data to find clues. Dealerships might now notice that a keyword is plummeting in rankings or that content is no longer ranking high on main search queries.
Perhaps blog articles that placed the page high on search rankings for a particular search term now end up on page four of the results. Looking at SEO data could help the dealership and its marketing or SEO team make necessary changes.
Algorithms are complicated, but a core update doesn’t target content for penalties. However, some algorithms are designed to weed out sites that are using black hat SEO tactics to manipulate the search engine. Black hat techniques are those that don’t adhere to the terms of service of a search engine. Using these techniques will cause a site to be penalized by Google or even disappear from the engine completely.
Google is constantly sniffing out SEO that tries to manipulate its algorithms. Even guest blogging, which wasn’t considered a black hat technique, is now getting penalized because SEO experts use guest blogs to earn back links.
According to another article on Search Engine Journal, guest post links are ‘devalued’ by Google as the search engine considers these particular links to be “unnatural.”
What Does Google Say About Core Updates?
SEO experts might be concerned that pages are now falling in rankings, but Google’s explanation about its core updates notes that experts shouldn’t assume that page content was bad or that they did something incorrectly.
This is how Google explains its core updates:
“There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites….”
Google goes on to explain that companies should look at these core updates a bit like the changing ‘most popular’ lists for movies. More movies are introduced that might bump others lower on the list. As these lists change, so, too, do rankings.
However, Google also throws SEO experts a bit of advice: focus on content. Companies or sites that are noticing that they have fallen in the rankings could simply work on ensuring that they are providing the best content to Google users.
How Can Dealerships Improve Rankings?
Google’s latest core update might have impacted a dealership’s rankings. What can the dealership do to bump up its relevance with the search engine once again?
Remember that Google’s advice is to focus on content. While dealerships might have fallen in visibility because of new sites that are now deemed more relevant, updated content could help reinvigorate the site.
When Google launches a core update, this is a great time for businesses to conduct an SEO audit of their pages and content to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Dealerships can review ranking data to better understand what pages might have been most affected by the algorithm update.
For blog articles that might now seem less relevant, updating the article with new content could help. Perhaps the dealership can expand on the topic or provide new data that gives customers more insight.
Moving forward, the dealership also can focus on strengthening its content. Brainstorm new ideas for blog articles. Refresh on-page content with keywords that might rank higher on the search engine.
Content vs. Rankings
For car dealerships and all businesses, Google algorithm updates can sometimes create a tug-of-war between writing content for customers and writing content for ranking. All businesses want to rank high. Yet, Google does reward quality content. The search engine wants content to be meaningful for those who are using Google to find the best resources.
Keep in mind that Google wants content to meet its customer’s search needs. When focusing on popular keywords, don’t just integrate them into content. Instead, use those words to create content that addresses what the Google user needs.
- Contain reputable sources
- Answer the question of the search
One of the major points that many SEO experts might forget when creating content is to answer the search question. Many keywords are actually questions that Google users type in the engine. While SEO teams and writers might weave these words into content, do they provide the answer for search users?
Nothing can be more frustrating than clicking on a link and realizing it doesn’t even address the search query. Instead, that content might simply include the terms without even providing relevant information.
Think of key search phrases as a guideline or a road map for content. Dealerships need to consider both their potential customer and the Google user when writing content. Write with authority, include relevant and reputable sources, and address the search terms with an answer or an explanation.
Offer Engaging Content
All website pages typically include written content. However, the user experience is amplified when dealerships also include unique and interactive visual content. Create a website content that offers numerous resources for customers and those who find the site via Google.
Incorporate immersive imagery that encourages user engagement. For example, 360 spin photos of vehicles let users interact with the photo using a mouse or their finger. They can spin a vehicle around and see every angle of the exterior. Interior panorama photos provide the same experience for the interior of the car; users can look around the vehicle to better understand its features and designs.
More car buyers also are using the internet for research purposes and many are even buying their vehicle online. Create an interactive virtual showroom using augmented reality. These experiences allow car shoppers to use their smartphone or a tablet to preview a vehicle in their own environment.
Content is King
While SEO experts might never know the extent of how Google’s latest core update has changed the primary algorithm, the update provides a great opportunity for car dealerships to audit their content and their rankings.
Review the page and keyword data to see what’s working and what might have fallen lower on Google’s radar. Focus on updating content and on creating content that informs and engages site visitors. Dealerships also can add other immersive visual experiences to complement written content and amplify the user experience.
While the latest update might have decreased visibility, use the opportunity to refresh the site and create content that sets the dealership apart from the competition and boosts its rankings, too.