In the world of business and technology, Google plays a major role, and therefore so does their algorithm updates. There are many people that don’t realize just how impactful Google updates are to their traffic and online reputation, and then there are others that are obsessed with keeping track of the latest changes.
Unfortunately, Google is one of the most private companies out there — they are prone to making updates at random times, with no forewarning. Furthermore, they never fully reveal what exactly their algorithms are and how they process those rules. Updates can be made as frequent as daily, and what’s worse is that Google rarely announces or confirms changes to its algorithms.
Know When To Blame Google
With such frequent updates, there’s bound to be a handful of coincidences across the web where business owners experience a drop in traffic during a release. Several other changes can result in a traffic drop, such as site updates, analytics adjustments, or redesigns to your site. Begin by checking your Google Search Console to see if you’ve been hit with a manual penalty, as this is where it would be listed. If you don’t see any manual penalties, check to see which pages were affected. In the majority of cases, an algorithm update wouldn’t just affect a single page.
Furthermore, if you take a look at your data and see that your traffic was affected outside of Google’s organic traffic, an algorithm is likely not the cause. If a traffic drop were the cause of a traffic drop, you would only see changes to your organic traffic coming from Google. Talk to all members of the team who have access to making changes to your backend to see what may have caused the issue if you’ve ruled out all algorithm possibilities.
Monitor Algorithm Change History
Keep an eye on Google’s Algorithm Change History — but don’t go crazy. If you spend too much time trying to monitor changes, you’ll spend more time trying to decode Google than improving your bottom line. Most times, Google updates are small in nature. And typically, you may not even have to visit the change history page unless you experience a change in traffic or notice something off about your site analytics. Still, it’s good to make it a habit of checking out the page monthly, even if you aren’t directly impacted. It’s always good to know what’s going on in the world of SEO to keep you in line moving forward.
You can also use industry trend tools to keep track of SERP volatility. SEMrush Sensor is one such tool, but there are a variety of others. This will help you get an overview of what’s happening across your industry as a whole due to changes in Google algorithms. Keep in mind that these are just tracking tools and shouldn’t be used as a means to an end.
Anticipate Penguin Updates
Sure, there are many updates that you can never really anticipate, because who really knows what Google will do next. However, we do know that Google always puts the user first. Most likely, any change that they make is for the Google user. The best way to combat the potential for an algorithm hit is to always be prepared, and always think about your site with the user in mind, too.
For example, Google has waged a war against spam, and many of their updates will revolve around the goal to combat all things spammy. Penguin, the part of the Google algorithm that patrols linking, is a part of Google’s core algorithm, and any changes to this could be a big issue for your rankings. Because of this, refrain from engaging in any shady backlinking practices, such as purchasing backlinks in bulk.
Your backlink strategy should be created with Penguin in mind. Every decision you make regarding linking should be carefully considered and if you have to think twice about whether something could get your into trouble, stay away from it. This is exactly the advice given by Firestarter CEO Skyler Malley, whose Denver SEO agency says that webmasters should stay away from bulk purchases because what you’ll really get is a ton of low-quality links that will be penalized by Google.
“Instead of wasting your money on low quality mass submission links, think about increasing your Internet marketing budget and investing in high-quality work,” says Malley. “Your return on investment will be much more rewarding, and you will receive high-quality links that will not get you penalized or banned by search engines.”
Furthermore, make it habit to check the links pointing to your site semi-regularly and get rid of affiliations for websites that are spammy and low-quality.
Maintain Quality Content
Panda is the guardian of content. You’ll need to please Panda through reliable content that Google knows is valuable to their readers. The Panda algorithm doesn’t update quite as often as some of the others, but this can be more a double-edged sword than anything: because it doesn’t update so frequently, if you are hit with a penalty, you’ll have to wait much longer to get it fixed. The primary goal of Panda is to eliminate bad content. Google published a blog post on the list of questions webmasters should ask themselves when it comes to content to avoid being hit with a penalty.
Judy lees is a super-connector with AYC Web Solutions who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.