Google Algorithm Update December: What's Important to Know?

In mid-December, Google made two updates, in particular focused on the quantity and quality of backlinks to websites. Since this update, we see that search positions are decreasing at a number of sites and shops, but does that have to do with backlinks? Or is there something more going on? You can guess the answer, so read on!

Google has long ignored the fact that backlinks really affect the ranking of websites in search results. With this update, however, it is once again clear that it does have an impact: more good backlinks mean better positions. That is why we also do a lot of link-building for garden centres.

Read more about how we use link building and Local SEO marketing to make your garden centre visible to customers in your region.

Backlink Manipulation: SpamBrain Update

The SpamBrain update affects sites that manipulate backlinks. There are quite a few tools online that will let you buy 1,000 links for $100. That is unnatural and link manipulation.

We limit ourselves to safer link building, such as guest blogging on other websites, business directories and website directories. We also have our own websites on which we can place relevant links.

We are therefore not worried about this update, but we still have seen a number of webshops with a decline in rankings since December. 

Helpful content updates

Another spearhead of Google is relevance: if search results do not match the intent behind the search query, the user will not like it and won’t come back to Google on the long term. By showing the most relevant results possible, consumers continue to use Google and continue to click on the ads. After all, even at Google, they have to make money!

At the beginning of December, Google updated the Helpful Content algorithm so that relevant search results should be higher in the search results.

And this is also where we see a problem. Products in webshops that are sold out have scored a lot less well since December and see their position fall or be removed completely. That is not surprising because you can ask yourself whether a product that cannot be ordered is relevant for the visitor.

Conversely, the positions of products that are available improve, which is nice to see.

But if you have a webshop with many products that are (temporarily) unavailable, they can score less well in Google. As soon as you have them available again, your positions can improve again, but that may take some time.

Keep it online or not?

The question is: what to do with this? Or is the question: what can you do with it?

In a seasonal industry like ours, it is difficult to keep all products available 365 days a year. In addition, some products are simply sold out, such as garden furniture that you cannot easily reorder from the Far East. 

You can remove the products and redirect them to another page. But then you also lose your position and, moreover, Google removes the page from the search index. So there’s not a lot to gain if you do that.

You can also set a stock reminder: the visitor still can't buy the product, but they will automatically receive an email as soon as it is back in stock. Not ideal, but it works fine in practice. It doesn’t matter for Google since it will still be irrelevant. 

So, for now, you can only accept that Google handles this differently compared to the years before. For now, we advise you not to delete products that you (temporarily) do not have in stock. It is best to keep products in stock as best as possible, but we understand that this is not always possible.

Interested to know how we can help you improve your ranking in Google? In this blog, we explain it, and more, in detail for you!

You might also be interested in: