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What Is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

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What Is A Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?


When Google announces a broad core algorithm update, many SEO professionals find themselves asking what exactly changed (besides their rankings).

Google’s acknowledgment of core updates is always vague and doesn’t provide much detail other than to say the update occurred.

The SEO community is typically notified about core updates via the same standard tweets from Google’s Search Liaison.

There’s one announcement from Google when the update begins rolling out, and one on its conclusion, with few additional details in between (if any).

This invariably leaves SEO professionals and site owners asking many questions with respect to how their rankings were impacted by the core update.

To gain insight into what may have caused a site’s rankings to go up, down, or stay the same, it helps to understand what a broad core update is and how it differs from other types of algorithm updates.

After reading this article you’ll have a better idea of what a core update is designed to do, and how to recover from one if your rankings were impacted.

So, What Exactly Is A Core Update?

First, let me get the obligatory “Google makes hundreds of algorithm changes per year, often more than one per day” boilerplate out of the way.

Many of the named updates we hear about (Penguin, Panda, Pigeon, Fred, etc.) are implemented to address specific faults or issues in Google’s algorithms.

In the case of Penguin, it was link spam; in the case of Pigeon, it was local SEO spam.

They all had a specific purpose.

In these cases, Google (sometimes reluctantly) informed us what they were trying to accomplish or prevent with the algorithm update, and we were able to go back and remedy our sites.

A core update is different.

The way I understand it, a core update is a tweak or change to the main search algorithm itself.

You know, the one that has between 200 and 500 ranking factors and signals (depending on which SEO blog you’re reading today).

What a core update means to me is that Google slightly tweaked the importance, order, weights, or values of these signals.

Because of that, they can’t come right out and tell us what changed without revealing the secret sauce.

The simplest way to visualize this would be to imagine 200 factors listed in order of importance.

Now imagine Google changing the order of 42 of those 200 factors.

Rankings would change, but it would be a combination of many things, not due to one specific factor or cause.

Obviously, it isn’t that simple, but that’s a good way to think about a core update.

Here’s a purely made up, slightly more complicated example of what Google wouldn’t tell us:

“In this core update, we increased the value of keywords in H1 tags by 2%, increased the value of HTTPS by 18%, decreased the value of keyword in title tag by 9%, changed the D value in our PageRank calculation from .85 to .70, and started using a TF-iDUF retrieval method for logged in users instead of the traditional TF-PDF method.”

(I swear these are real things. I just have no idea if they’re real things used by Google.)

For starters, many SEO pros wouldn’t understand it.

Basically, it means Google may have changed the way they calculate term importance on a page, or the weighing of links in PageRank, or both, or a whole bunch of other factors that they can’t talk about (without giving away the algorithm).

Put simply: Google changed the weight and importance of many ranking factors.

That’s the simple explanation.

At its most complex form, Google ran a new training set through their machine learning ranking model and quality raters picked this new set of results as more relevant than the previous set, and the engineers have no idea what weights changed or how they changed because that’s just how machine learning works.

(We all know Google uses quality raters to rate search results. These ratings are how they choose one algorithm change over another – not how they rate your site. Whether they feed this into machine learning is anybody’s guess. But it’s one possibility.)

It’s likely some random combination of weighting delivered more relevant results for the quality raters, so they tested it more, the test results confirmed it, and they pushed it live.

How Can You Recover From A Core Update?

Unlike a major named update that targeted specific things, a core update may tweak the values of everything.

Because websites are weighted against other websites relevant to your query (engineers call this a corpus) the reason your site dropped could be entirely different than the reason somebody else’s increased or decreased in rankings.

To put it simply, Google isn’t telling you how to “recover” because it’s likely a different answer for every website and query.

It all depends on what everybody else trying to rank for your query is doing.

Does every one of them but you have their keyword in the H1 tag? If so then that could be a contributing factor.

Do you all do that already? Then that probably carries less weight for that corpus of results.

It’s very likely that this algorithm update didn’t “penalize” you for something at all. It most likely just rewarded another site more for something else.

Maybe you were killing it with internal anchor text and they were doing a great job of formatting content to match user intent – and Google shifted the weights so that content formatting was slightly higher and internal anchor text was slightly lower.

(Again, hypothetical examples here.)

In reality, it was probably several minor tweaks that, when combined, tipped the scales slightly in favor of one site or another (think of our reordered list here).

Finding that “something else” that is helping your competitors isn’t easy – but it’s what keeps SEO professionals in the business.

Next Steps And Action Items

Rankings are down after a core update – now what?

Your next step is to gather intel on the pages that are ranking where your site used to be.

Conduct a SERP analysis to find positive correlations between pages that are ranking higher for queries where your site is now lower.

Try not to overanalyze the technical details, such as how fast each page loads or what their core web vitals scores are.

Pay attention to the content itself. As you go through it, ask yourself questions like:

  • Does it provide a better answer to the query than your article?
  • Does the content contain more recent data and current stats than yours?
  • Are there pictures and videos that help bring the content to life for the reader?

Google aims to serve content that provides the best and most complete answers to searchers’ queries. Relevance is the one ranking factor that will always win out over all others.

Take an honest look at your content to see if it’s as relevant today as it was prior to the core algorithm update.

From there you’ll have an idea of what needs improvement.

The best advice for conquering core updates?

Keep focusing on:

  • User intent.
  • Quality content.
  • Clean architecture.
  • Google’s guidelines.

Finally, don’t stop improving your site once you reach Position 1, because the site in Position 2 isn’t going to stop.

Yeah, I know, it’s not the answer anybody wants and it sounds like Google propaganda. I swear it’s not.

It’s just the reality of what a core update is.

Nobody said SEO was easy.

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Featured Image: Ulvur/Shutterstock





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8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

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8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

TikTok and Instagram may be taking their moment to shine, but Facebook is a social media platform your business simply can’t ignore.

Facebook’s monthly active users have continued to rise since its inception, with nearly 3 billion (2.96) monthly active users as of the third quarter of 2022.

It was also the most popular social network worldwide as of January 2022 when ranked by the number of monthly active users.

Knowing a substantial portion of your target audience likely uses Facebook regularly, it’s crucial as social media marketers to keep up with the Facebook marketing tips that can help you grow your business.

Your business is probably already leveraging Facebook to reach your target audience – and if you’re not, you’re missing out on valuable lead and conversion opportunities.

You’ve likely set up a Facebook Page to communicate with current and potential customers, share current updates, and build social proof.

But, is your Facebook Page optimized to engage your target audience? Have you invested ample time into ensuring you’re leveraging every form and field possible?

The good news is, starting from scratch is the most challenging part of getting your Facebook Page off the ground.

Since you’ve already done this, revitalizing your page is the easy part – and we’re here to help streamline the process even further.

This deep dive guide will succinctly outline what it takes to transform your Facebook Page from vapid to vivacious with the following eight marketing tips.

Read on to ensure you maximize the world’s most visited social media platform to your advantage.

1. Beyond The Facebook Page Basics

Your business can be found in many places online, from your Google Business Profile (GBP) to review sites and social platforms.

Potential customers should be able to find accurate information about your business anywhere they can find you. This includes your current physical address, website link, phone number, and more.

In fact, 20% of consumers are unlikely to visit a business with incorrect or missing listing information.

Ensuring all information on your Facebook page is up-to-date is a good place to start.

Next, it’s time for optimizations that go beyond the basics to help your Facebook Page stand out from your competition.

2. Leverage Facebook Pages’ Templates

Facebook offers numerous templates designed to enhance your Page and help customers find what they’re looking for.

There’s a standard template that you’ll most often see when visiting other businesses’ Facebook Pages.

But there are also templates that cater to different types of businesses, such as nonprofit organizations, restaurants, services, retailers, and more.

To find the template most applicable to your brand, once you’re on your Facebook Page, click on the More drop-down menu and select Edit Tabs.

In the template section, click the Edit button.

You’ll then see a list of available templates. Select the template that is most relevant to your business category.

Screenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook Page template example

For example, if you’re a service business and you select the service template, you’re able to clearly showcase the services you offer to customers, along with reviews and offers.

3. Use An Attractive Cover Photo

Visual content has the power to capture attention and increase conversions.

According to Google, businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

Your cover photo is the first element that will draw people’s attention. It can be the make-or-break point, helping people decide to scroll down to learn more about your business.

Pick a photo that aligns with your branding but captures your audience’s attention.

Use a real photo or an illustration that showcases your brand’s style in terms of colors, mission statement, and values – and be sure to avoid stock imagery.

Stock photos fail to convey a visual representation of your brand and, in turn, can make your brand feel less authentic.

When selecting your cover image, Facebook recommends it:

  • Left aligns with a full bleed and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Must be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.
  • Loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall, and less than 100 kilobytes.

4. Choose A Professional Profile Picture

Your profile picture, while not as prominent as your cover photo, appears prominently at the top of your Facebook Page.

It also appears as your avatar on all posts and photos you publish on Facebook (on your page and others).

This photo should represent your brand effectively any time someone sees it.

For most businesses, using your company logo is typically common practice, as customers may already be familiar with it, and associate it with your business.

8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring PageScreenshot from Facebook, December 20228 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

It should be easy for someone to discern which brand they’re engaging with when they see your Facebook Page.

Your profile image displays at 176×176 pixels on your Facebook Page on computers, 196×196 pixels on smartphones, and 36×36 pixels on most feature phones.

Ensure your profile image is clear by following the aforementioned sizing guidelines and using a high-resolution image.

5. Create Content That Resonates With Your Target Audience

Your Facebook Page should be a one-stop shop for your audience.

It’s an opportunity to learn more about your business, read reviews from loyal customers, and consume relevant content.

So, create quality content that resonates with your wider audience.

You may also want to incorporate a mixture of different types of posts – such as video posts when you have impactful customer testimonials to share, or high-quality photos when you’re launching a new product.

No matter the type of content you choose to share, make sure that it is relevant and impactful to your readers. For example, if your wider audience is Gen Z, video content may be the way to go.

When creating content, ask yourself: will this post add value, or am I trying to reach a quota? If your answer is the latter, you may need to revise your Facebook content marketing strategy.

Consider your post timing, too.

In the past, mid-morning posts drove the most engagement, as people often use the app on their commutes to school or work. However, posting during the early morning hours has now taken the lead.

Post timing also varies by industry, so find the best time to reach your customer base.

6. Create An Incentive For Following Your Facebook Page

Deals and discounts play a significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans say offers are a top factor when deciding where and what to buy online. Deals are so important that 48% of Americans said they will avoid brands that do not provide offers.

Your Facebook Page enables your business to promote offers for free.

These offers can be:

  • Percentage-off.
  • Dollar-off.
  • Free product or service.
  • Free shipping.
  • Custom offer of your choice.

Create an offer that is unique for your Facebook followers. This incentivizes them to follow you and engage with your posts.

These offers can change and vary. We advise that you keep your offers fresh and switch them periodically to encourage your audience to continue to follow your page.

Facebook marketing tips, creating a new Facebook offer exampleScreenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook marketing tips, creating a new Facebook offer example

Respond To Customer Feedback

One of the most fundamental Facebook marketing tips (and digital marketing tips in general) is to respond to all customer feedback whenever possible.

This includes any time customers reach out via Facebook Messenger, during a Facebook Live, when they leave a review on your Facebook Page, or when they reply to your Facebook Stories.

Being proactive with your responses, whether the customer leaves negative or positive feedback, shows your brand cares about its customers.

Your response time matters, too.

According to ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, but 1 in 3 expect a response within 3 days or less.

Ensure you have a reputation management strategy and team in place to triage responses. Set standards and expectations with your team when it comes to reviewing responses.

Creating response templates is a good way to quickly and efficiently respond to customer reviews across multiple platforms.

7. Use Every Character In Your Page’s Description

Your Facebook page allows you 255 characters to describe your business.

Use every character possible to share what you do, what you sell, and why it matters. Use original content relevant to your business when drafting your description.

You’ll also want to add complete information for your:

  • Your business contact details (phone number, address, and email).
  • Business categories.
  • Website.
  • Social media accounts.
  • Hours.
  • Price range.

8. Add A CTA

Allow your customers to quickly perform the call to action (CTA) of your choice.

This button appears beneath your cover image and to the right of your profile image. You can choose from a variety of CTA options, including:

  • Follow.
  • View gift card.
  • Start order.
  • Book now.
  • Call now.
  • Contact us.
  • Send message.
  • Send email.
  • Learn more.
  • And more.

For example, a restaurant brand would benefit from adding a Start order CTA.

This eliminates friction in the consumer’s path to purchase, allowing them to start the order right from your Facebook Page, rather than navigating to your website or a third-party food delivery app.

Keep a pulse on your engagement metrics to see if the CTA you’ve selected is driving measurable results. If it’s not, consider adding a different CTA to see if your audience engages better with alternative messaging.

To find your engagement metrics, click on the Insights button in the menu.

Facebook Insights offer a wealth of information from likes, story reach, actions on the page, post engagement rates, how different types of content are performing, and much more.

Check these insights often to better guide your Facebook marketing strategy.

Facebook CTA exampleScreenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook CTA example

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, updating and optimizing your Facebook Page doesn’t take much effort.

Instead, it requires continuously keeping up with your social media marketing strategy and leveraging the tools and features available to you.

Following these Facebook marketing tips is a good place to start.

To keep up with Facebook’s evolving functionality, do a quick audit every quarter to see what’s new and available to you.

This ensures your business is taking full advantage of your Facebook Page’s capabilities and staying one step ahead of your competition.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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