Google’s Quality Updates: How They Could Be Affecting You

Google’s Quest for Quality

Google are suspected to now be refreshing their quality algorithm as frequently as every month now, with recent updates taking place on the 17th May, 25th June and now 19th August. This is great news for web users, who benefit greatly from Google ironing out but not for anybody who could be at risk of being hit.

If you are one of the people who have experienced a seemingly unexplainable drop in traffic and search rankings from around mid-August, this article should at least help you to understand why your website was hit and what you need to consider to be bypassed by the quality algorithm updates in the future.

What is ‘Quality’?

Unlike other Google algorithm updates, the quality updates aren’t as simple as saying if you do ‘x’ you will be safe. Many people who have conducted research into the quality update have been unable to draw exact conclusions about what factors of quality have been considered. General feedback claims that it is the overall combination of quality indicators which are having impact. These include aspects such as:

  • The technical SEO implementations on your site
  • How you handle advertising
  • The quality of your website content
  • Any aspects which might be impacting on the user experience


Characteristics of Websites Affected

Pages Full of Links

Websites which contained pages full of links, which simply directed people onto more content, took a nosedive. No surprises there – there’s nothing worse than ending up at a page which you think is going to have something useful, only to be prompted to again select another page.

User Interface Issues

Here we are talking about those broken flash elements. They don’t play on mobile, they are disabled in Chrome – basically, they just make people unhappy. Google recognises this too, and websites which contained broken elements on their page saw problems.

Ranking From Pure Luck

Sometimes, websites start ranking well for things which they just don’t deserve to rank for. Lots of those people saw a drop due to Google cleaning up people who didn’t have a right to be in those top positions. (Great news if you are someone worthy of those top spots!)

Annoying Advertising

Websites which override the experience of the user by bombarding them with relentless popups, adverts which are difficult to get rid of and adverts which aren’t obviously adverts. Basically – websites who are trying to be deceptive or overly aggressive in their advertising techniques.

Content Which Is Not Quite Up To The Mark

Even websites which offered content that was pretty good saw a downturn if their competitors had produced something better.

Not All Doom & Gloom

Yes – some companies did see decreases in rankings for quality issues such as those mentioned above. However – there was a good boost available to those companies who had been hit by an update in the past but who had been working hard to recover. Whether that’s from extra investment in higher quality content or website improvements to user experience and user interface.

Key Takeaways

Don’t just try and ‘polish a turd’ to get you through quality updates. A few small changes isn’t going to help if you have a major site structure issue, for example. Take the time to hunt down all of the quality issues on your site, order them by priority and get to work on resolving them. Our free audit can help any businesses who are struggling with some of the more technical aspects.