Updates That May Affect your Website

After you’ve designed and launched the perfect website, you can’t just kick back and relax. From Google algorithm changes to browser updates, the web is constantly evolving, and your website needs to adapt. Otherwise, you could end up with an obsolete site that your customers aren’t able to find using search engines or aren’t able to view in their browsers. To ensure you’re staying ahead of the curve, make sure you’re aware of the following updates that could have an impact on your website.

Google Algorithms  

When it comes to updates that can affect your website, Google algorithms have the biggest impact. Google algorithms affect how your site is ranked, which, of course, can have a huge impact on traffic, visibility, and your bottom line.

Google has launched a number of high-profile updates to its algorithms over the course of the last few years, many of which have had a huge impact on websites’ rankings. Most of these, including Penguin and Panda, are designed to target low-quality sites that aren’t adhering to best practice standards in terms of SEO tactics like link building and publishing quality content. The most recent of these is the Google Fred update, which is designed to penalize sites using black-hat SEO tactics.

“This update targets low-value content sites that put revenue above helping their users,” Barry Schwartz explained in Search Engine Lane, pointing out that most of the sites that were targeted appear to have been content sites with a random array of topics that appear to have been written for ranking purposes. These sites have ads and affiliate links heavily sprinkled throughout. “Many of these sites are not industry expert sites, but rather they seem to have content on vast array of topics that are not adding all that much value above what other sites in the industry have already written. All these sites saw 50 percent to 90 percent traffic declines from Google organic search. This was a massive organic ranking drop for these sites.”

Because Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving, keeping on top of any changes can feel daunting. Luckily, you can do a few things to stay ahead of the curve. The first thing to keep in mind that you should always avoid black-hat SEO techniques, or things that Google clearly doesn’t allow. Always make sure you’re publishing high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience, and don’t engage in any kind of spamming behavior. If you’ve noticed your rankings have dropped and you can’t quite figure out why, you might want to consider calling in a professional for some advice so that you can properly identify and rectify any issues.

Legal Rulings  

The internet is still relatively new, and regulation around websites and website content is still nascent, which means it is routinely updated and changed. For example, EU data protection rulings and U.S. copyright rulings could have impacts on the legality of the type of content that you’re displaying.

A recent ruling could endanger websites’ ability to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which effectively protects websites from the actions of their users as long as the sites follow certain steps. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a social media platform called LiveJournal found itself in legal hot water after a user posted copyrighted content from Mavrix Photography to the site. Mavrix sued, and LiveJournal invoked the DMCA defense, arguing that it was simply hosting content at the discretion of a user. A district court agreed with LiveJournal, but the case was appealed and the Ninth Circuit Court took a different view, arguing that the DMCA might not apply in this case, largely because of LiveJournal’s reliance on moderators to review content that is uploaded and then approve it for appearance on the site. It sent the case back to the district court for review. While it’s unclear how the court will rule, it could have far-reaching implications for copyright law and how sites allow users to contribute content.

“The decision has already led some digital advocacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to warn that Friday's ruling is a dangerous erosion of safe harbors, and could expose more websites to questionable copyright claims,” Jeff John Roberts explained in Fortune. “Meanwhile, the ruling could open the door to further legal challenges seeking to narrow safe harbors still further. Such a development could post trouble to likes of Facebook and YouTube, which face ongoing complaints from the entertainment industry over how they police copyright.”

The key takeaway here is that the legal landscape is constantly changing, especially when it comes to copyright laws. It is critical to keep abreast of these updates to understand how they might your website.

Browser Updates  

It’s not just Google algorithm updates and legal updates that can have an impact on your website. Browser updates can have an effect on the way your content is rendered. Browsers have many different versions, as they are updated regularly. Therefore, if your website was designed for an earlier version of Internet Explorer – for example, IE 8 – subsequent updated versions of the browser may affect the way your website’s content is rendered.

The important thing to keep in mind is that when browsers update, they often stop supporting older and outdated coding practices. Therefore, you need to make sure that your website is properly coded so that your website looks right and functions properly in each version. Remember, if a new updated version of a browser doesn’t play well with your code, your website could look and function completely fine one day and then fail to function properly the next. 

The bottom line is that updates can and often do affect your website. Therefore, it’s important that you are aware of any updates that may have an impact and that you adjust your content accordingly. When in doubt, it is best to seek out professional assistance. If your site is penalized because of a Google update or a legal ruling, it could have a catastrophic impact on your business, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Not sure what updates will benefit your companies website, 10twelve can help your company decide what updates will be beneficial to company.