Getting hit by the algorithm update is a normal occurrence especially if your website still has a lot of room for improvement. In a recent Google Webmaster Hangouts, a webmaster asked a question to Google’s own John Mueller regarding the drop in traffic for their news site. Here’s the full question:
John Mueller went on to give the best answer he could possibly give, and here’s a summary of his answer (not verbatim):
There you have it. There’s nothing to fix, but there is a lot of room to improve on. The blog post that John Mueller recommended contains a list of questions (not necessarily actual ranking signals) that would help you understand what Google thinks about when it ranks your site:
Would you trust the information presented in this article?
Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Those are just some of the questions that are listed in the blog post. Aside from originality and usefulness, another thing that came to mind while I was reading the blog post is that even before the term E-A-T was coined, Google was already treating it as an important factor for rankings. Successfully proving that whoever your site’s author is an expert that proves that the body of content is of value and that the facts in the content (and your site) are trustworthy – all of this equates to E-A-T.