How to Improve Your Website Rankings After Google’s March 2019 Core Update
In mid- to late-March, Google launched an update to their algorithm that they are officially calling the “March 2019 Core Update.” If you’ve recently seen changes in your website rankings, this update (like most other updates) may have affected your SEO techniques and replaced your website in search results with one that the new algorithm finds superior.
Updates to Google’s algorithm are nothing out of the ordinary, in fact they happen almost daily, but Google is not likely to announce the update unless people start questioning the rankings of lots of sites. SEO experts are usually quick to notice when just about every site’s rankings are changing, and Google has confirmed this update after these changes were brought to light.
(On a little side note: Google is also usually against naming their updates, but this time around they announced the name of the update on Twitter, saying “We understand it can be useful to some for updates to have names. Our name for this update is ‘March 2019 Core Update.’ We think this helps avoid confusion; it tells you the type of update it was and when it happened.” So, likely in the future, we’ll be able to clarify which updates we’re talking about.)
Maintaining Your Website Rankings
Not unusually, Google has not given any advice on how to maintain your website rankings after the update or provided any information on what specifically has changed in their algorithm. They usually only do this if they are trying to get webmasters to act on a certain behavior.
In fact, those SEO experts we mentioned before also haven’t provided any specific advice. That’s because most of them are looking at this as more of a step back rather than a step forward due to the fact that many sites whose rankings went down in previous updates actually saw their rankings go back up. This leads us to believe that previous updates may have been a little harsh on some websites, and the March 2019 Core Update has reversed those updates to make it even.
As of now, the only official advice that we have is statements that Google referred to on their Google Search Liaison Twitter Account: “Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year. As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”
For those asking how they can improve their rankings after the March 2019 Core update, Google really had only one thing to say: “There’s no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”
While this isn’t very specific, the advice can be summed up like this: keep creating valuable content (keyword being valuable). As long as the content on your website matches the content that your audience is searching for, you’re good to go. Google’s algorithm is designed to find websites that match the keywords and phrases that people are searching for, so by creating high quality content with an audience-specific SEO strategy, you’re naturally setting yourself up for a higher ranking.
If you’ve noticed a drop in your ranking since the update, you might want to consider publishing some fresh content to give Google something new to index on your site. Google also searches for sites with a good EAT rating (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness). So, if you’ve been hit by the recent March 2019 core update, here are some simple ways to improve your content and EAT rating:
- Add an author byline to all of your posts. This allows Google to know if your content is being written by someone who is an authority in your subject. This is especially important if you are in the healthcare, wellness, or finance industries.
- Don’t duplicate content. Google will decrease your ranking if it finds that you have duplicate, paraphrased, or rewritten content. It’s best to have completely original work. And if you have duplicate content that is already on your site, you might want to consider taking it down.
- Establish a strong personal brand. Making sure that Google knows you are a unique brand can include adding things like an “About Us” page, contact information, or testimonials or customer reviews.
- Include only natural, quality backlinks. Instead of creating backlinks through Private Blog Networks or blog commenting, try some other high-quality techniques like networking, blogger outreach, and broken link building.
- Make your site more secure with HTTPS. Google likes to suggest websites that are more secure for readers, so getting SSL certified will help to improve your EAT rating.
Regardless of where your website sits in terms of Google ranking and how the most recent March 2019 core update has affected it, creating valuable content is the best way to improve your ranking. Keep giving your audience what they want and Google will automatically detect that you are a reputable source.
If you have questions about how to get your law firm website to achieve top rankings and dominate online in your area, please contact us to arrange a free consultation with our law firm marketing specialists.