Should I follow every change Google makes?

Last week, I wrote about Google’s decision to shorten the meta descriptions. Now, meta descriptions are about the same size as they were half a year ago. But for a couple of months, they were much longer. We got a lot of questions and quite a few people were pretty annoyed — understandably so. Is the length of your meta descriptions that important? Do you need to follow every little thing that Google changes to do well in the search results? Here, I’ll explain why having a great website is the best long-term SEO strategy.

Fit Google’s mission

Google’s mission is ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ While I do not always understand the decisions the lovely people at Google make, I think your best chance to rank well in Google is to make your website fit that mission. You want people to find your website because they’ll find useful information on your site. You want people to have a good experience. And you want people to be satisfied with your site if they click on your snippet. That should always be the aim of your SEO strategy. Build a website that people will want to visit. Create brilliant content that people will want to read. Make products or services that people want to have or experience. We call this holistic SEO.

Tweaking comes second

Making an excellent website comes first, but you can tweak loads of things to make your site stand out. Of course, in some niches, competition for rankings in Google can be hard. So, you’ll need to go that extra mile to get the traffic to your site. And in those cases, tweaks such as writing awesome meta descriptions could pay off.

It is important to realize though that tweaking your website always comes second. A kickass meta description can never make up for a crappy site without relevant, quality content.

Relax. Invest in quality and tweak occasionally

Do not panic if Google rolls out yet another update. If you had a good website and invested in great content, these updates will probably hardly affect your rankings. In all the updates Google does, they are trying to come closer to their mission. They want their users to find the best match to their search query. Making sure your website is that best match, will always be the best SEO strategy. If you’re doing that, you’ll have little worries.

Remember, we’re all in this game together. If Google decides to change the rules, all of your competitors will suffer as well. Take those meta descriptions; if these get shorter, they will get shorter for every website. I do think you should work on them, but please do not panic. The tweaks will not immediately lead to higher rankings and they will not directly lead to lower rankings either.

Still, a lot of little tweaks combined could make your site stand out in the search results just a little bit more. So, work on that. Steady. Calm. Composed. Yoast will keep you posted on all Google’s changes. Plus, we’ll do a lot of tweaking for you.

Read more: Why every website needs Yoast SEO »

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21 Responses to Should I follow every change Google makes?

  1. انجام پروژه دانشجویی
    انجام پروژه دانشجویی  • 6 years ago

    Following google changes and appyling them to every page is hard but with the help of Yoast we can do that very easy, Thanks to Yoast

  2. Adrian Lawrence
    Adrian Lawrence  • 6 years ago

    Your main priority should be your user, so always consider them first and Google second. Chasing the Search Engines is not a good use of time, instead focus on great content and improver the users experience. That will always deliver in the long run.

  3. Tim Oxley
    Tim Oxley  • 6 years ago

    Another helpful article, Marieke – thanks.
    Quality and useful information should win the Google race.

  4. CarteSim
    CarteSim  • 6 years ago

    I like this article about the necessity of following google changes.

    I have to say that sometimes it feels overwhelming as a webmaster. You get the feeling that every week something changes.

    Now I’ve stopped following everything. The best thing that works for me is to just come to the Yoast site every week (usually sunday) and subscribe to the Yoast e-mail list and check if there’s something new that has to be done. If it’s not absolutely required I don’t bother anymore. As long as the fundaments are in place of course.

    I’m a lot more relaxed since I follow this strategy and my traffic keeps improving.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 6 years ago

      Hi! Sounds like an excellent strategy to me ;-) Keep up the good work!

  5. Yusuf
    Yusuf  • 6 years ago

    This post was very helpful,

    I think all my students that i will be taking on free SEO Masterclass should know about Google making a lot of changes to their factors.

    over the days I have seen some quite changes in my traffic and I will need to carry out a tough maintenance and keep things working fine for me.

    your post was awesome.

    thank you.

  6. Central Apostilas
    Central Apostilas  • 6 years ago

    yoast team are to be congratulated for always keeping us informed.

    I was more worried your information was very useful and tranquilizantes and we are confident that we are in the right way.

  7. Tehran Hostel
    Tehran Hostel  • 6 years ago

    I need someone to talk about recent changes in meta description length and this post helped me to calm down because we always try to create high quality content.

  8. rameshkota
    rameshkota  • 6 years ago

    Thanks for the information your article improved my Confidence over meta description changes

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      great to hear that!

  9. Long Phi
    Long Phi  • 6 years ago

    That following GG’s every decision will take time much until they change new algorithm again. That sometimes make you really tired and confused for sure. The most important thing i guess is Focusing on great content for user – holistic SEO. Most of web design now is “SEO standard” – a must have factor. All things to do is just great content – great products for users.
    Chasing Google is like try swimming behind a boat…

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      yes, you’ll always be a bit behind. The Google boat goes so very fast. That’s why you need to think of where the boat is going. If you’ll have your audience and users in mind and create a website that is awesome for them, you’ll always be on the right track … or boat…

  10. Rachel
    Rachel  • 6 years ago

    This article really hit the head on the nail about the aspects you need to be aware of when you are focusing on your ranking with google. You gave alot of useful information on meta tags and the importance of them!

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      glad you like it!

      • Louise
        Louise  • 6 years ago

        haha hit the head on the nail. thats pretty accurate i guess. next level from banging your head against the wall. hehehe

  11. mmetalram
    mmetalram  • 6 years ago

    I found this blog post very helpful. I am working on SEO and need some details on SEO Premium. Can you provide me details about Yoast SEO PREMIUM?

    With Regards
    Ram Sapkota
    .Net Developer

  12. Matt Ventura
    Matt Ventura  • 6 years ago

    I’ve been about 5 months into SEO and still very new to it all. I would like to say I really enjoyed this article and I agree completely that the best strategy is just to create great content that provides value to the consumer. With these adjustments by Google constantly changing it will be difficult to keep up with, but as you mention going with an holistic SEO approach will result to minor tweaking with every update.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Great! Keep up the good work! Another 5 months and you’ll be a SEO-professional :-)

  13. Cernescu Dragos
    Cernescu Dragos  • 6 years ago

    When I first started out, I didn’t care too much about meta descriptions or other holistic SEO approaches. Indeed, keeping up with Google’s frequent changes can be challenging, but I found that following them usually results in a cleaner experience for the user and helps create better websites overall.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Totally true. Google wants to give the user the best experience. So listening to what Google has to say is definitely very useful. It can be a bit much to digest now and then.