The Quality Update: Google’s Latest Algorithm Change

Samantha Pena

May 21, 2015

The Quality Update: Google’s Latest Algorithm Change

Have you been seeing a fluctuation in your keyword rankings over the last month? You’re not alone. 

Google announced just two days ago that they’ve been making changes to their search algorithm – and already, it’s been impacting rankings for quite a few websites.

Here’s some background about this latest Google update

For the last month, there’s been a lot of chatter in the SEO world about changes people were seeing in Google’s search results. SEOs and publishers had been noting a major decrease in keyword rankings, causing many to speculate that Google was targeting “How To,” credit loans, or informational sites with thin content. 

However, with no verbal confirmation from Google, this fluctuation in search results pages was dubbed “The Phantom Update.”

Dun Dun Dun meme

Google Finally Announces…The Quality Update?

Now that Google’s had their laugh for a month though, they finally confirmed on Tuesday that they had indeed been testing out changes to their core algorithm in terms of how they assess a website’s quality. Thus, the name “Quality Update” was born. 

So. What is the Quality Update?

Google hasn’t given us the inside scoop on what the Quality Update entails. All we know for sure is that in the last month, they’ve changed how they determine website quality, and it’s a big enough change to make waves in website rankings.

What do you mean by “website quality”?

For several years now, Google has repeatedly emphasized that SEO is all about creating high-quality website content that is optimized for users, not for search engines. What do I mean by this?

Basically, the first rule of SEO is this: don't be spammy. Tweet this

Seriously. Google hates it when you try to trick the system. So when Google talks about “quality,” they’re really looking at the following things:

  • Can users trust the website?
  • Would users be comfortable giving their credit card to the website?
  • Is the website recognized as an authority on its topic?
  • Does the website contain useful information for users?
  • Does the website look legit?

I can go on and on about the importance of quality website content and how to do it (in fact, I already have here and here).

With this quality update though, I’m speculating that Google is probably weighing some quality factors more and some less. As to what those factors are, they’re being incredibly vague about the details as of right now – hopefully, we’ll get more details within the coming months.  

How Does the Quality Update Impact My Rankings?

Although it’s an algorithm update in the sense that it’s a change in how Google ranks websites, this Quality Update is neither spam-related nor technically a part of Google’s past algorithm update menagerie (i.e. Penguin, Panda, Pigeon, or Hummingbird).

I can say this though. From what I’m seeing, the update can (and does) affect how your website ranks on Google.

It’s clear that Google is further tightening its bootstraps, ranking websites that have compelling content, great design, and a seamless user experience higher on search results.

Therefore, if your website is lacking in one (or all) of those aspects I just mentioned above, you need to work on improving all of that for the sake of your business’s online presence.

What Can I Do About the Quality Update?

The best piece of advice I can give you about the Quality Update is this: 

When users land on your website, the first thought in their head should be, "Damn they're good." Tweet this

Seriously. As soon as users land on your website, they should be:

  1. Amazed by how great your website looks
  2. Pleased by how easy it is for them to find the information they’re looking for

Not quite sure how to make this happen for your site? You might want to read these:

Conclusion

Regardless of the update happening, all of your online efforts should be focused on creating a quality experience for your prospects and customers. In delivering only the best for your audience, you not only protect your website from any future algorithm changes but more importantly, you are also gaining people’s trust and leading them closer to purchase.

Samantha Pena

This article was published by Samantha Pena.

Samantha Pena is a Content Strategist at Hudson. Her main focus and passion is creating amazing content that is accurate, up-to-date, and (most importantly) interesting. Her main obsessions are social media, trending topics, and anything web-related. When she has the time, she likes to read, write, and travel. Follow her on Twitter.