How to Survive Google Algorithm Updates
Having your website in the search engine results is one thing. Staying on top of the search results is quite another. Someone once said that a popular website in the search engine results is like balancing on a log that is floating on water. If you make one wrong move, you drown. As far as staying on top of Google is concerned, there are no guarantees because change is the only word in Google’s dictionary.
Most of you might not know it, but Google releases about 500-600 algorithm changes each year. Most of the time, most of these updates are small and might not be noticeable. However, Google releases industry-shattering updates once in a while. Over the past couple of years, Google has been zealous in its bid to remove low-quality sites and promote sites that provide great user experience.
The question we all need to ask ourselves is whether one can really become algorithm-resistant. That is, is it possible for one to survive all major Google updates? What should one do after Google algorithm update?
The best way to put yourself in a better position to survive the SEO onslaught is to know exactly where in the algorithm the change took place as well as exactly what was changed. Sometimes, you will know Google has updated its algorithm when you notice a big change in traffic. If your site gets really hurt, you may not see any traffic completely. Whatever happens, it is important to know what and where changes have taken place. Before we look at the things you need to do after major Google algorithm update, let’s first understand what Google Algorithm is.
What is Google Algorithm?
In order to keep up with the spammers and ensure the integrity of the web is upheld, Google updates its algorithms regularly. Because it is the largest as well as the most popular search engine, Google takes website rankings very seriously and has dedicated a lot of resources to ensure that only the most relevant and quality sites are ranked higher. The search engine uses over 200 indicators to sift quality sites from the billions of other websites.
3 WAYS TO SURVIVE POST-GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES
There is only one way to get out of the hole once you become one of Google algorithm update casualty—getting out as soon as possible. Things aren’t simply going to settle down on their own, you better stop hoping for the best and start finding your back up at the top. In other words, failing to know what to do or how to react after Google updates is a sure way to remain stuck in the penalty jam for a long, long time. Regardless of the number of Google’s algorithmic updates, whether Penguin or Panda, here are three things you should always do to survive the updates.
…but first things first… Being worked up is a waste of time.
Well, Google is the boss here. What Google has decided remains unless of course, it releases another update to nullify the earlier update like it did in 2014 regarding Google Authorship removal update. You may become angry, frustrated, mad, rebellious and irritated, but that isn’t going to change anything.
Instead of seeking shortcuts, look for ways of solving the problem in an honest way, i.e. giving Google what it wants. Do not try to go around it because it won’t work.
- Don’t Panic
Let’s face it. When Google releases major updates, almost every company gets affected either negatively or positively. So it is a waste of time to panic simply because you have heard that Google has released another update. Maybe the update is going make your site to rank higher. Even if the rank is going to affect you negatively, still there is no need to panic because you still probably don’t have much of the information at the beginning. Sometimes, you might do a lot of unnecessary panicking and worrying only to realise later on that that updates result in very little change.
As a rule of thumb, don’t react to anything you don’t know. When Google recently released the Penguin 4.0 and said Penguin is now real-time and Penguin will start being granular, many started panicking without knowing the details. Unless you know what is needed of you, there is no point trying to guess. Wait until you have all the facts right.
- Hold on
As we have already mentioned, it is not prudent to start making any changes soon after learning of any Google algorithm updates. It could not only end up as a wasted effort, but you might also end up doing more harm to your site. Before doing anything, check your analytics to see whether there are any changes in traffic. Monitor your traffic changes for a few weeks before arriving at a conclusion. Following the following three simple criteria.
- If there is improvement in traffic—you don’t need to make any changes because you have been doing it right
- If there is no change in traffic—you don’t need to make any changes because you haven’t really done anything wrong.
- If traffic has fallen—you should first understand what was affected, and how it was affected then find the best way to rectify the problem.
But remember, you don’t have all the time in the world to wait and wait before doing anything. Try to understand the changes quickly implement them.
So far so good. You’ve managed to remain calm when everyone else is ignorantly running helter-skelter. You have promised not to take any action until you have the right information. That is great.
Now that you have ascertained that you were negatively affected, it is time research on what needs to be done.
For a start, read Google Webmaster Blog since that is where they normally post all the information. Examine what update they have posted and who it is affecting. If you notice that your site is affected, it means that there are things you need to change. Apart from Google Webmaster Blog, you can also check Search Engine Land website. It is a great resource for website owners; it has some great columnists and staff owners who thoroughly understand all the Google algorithm updates.
It must be noted that sometimes Google makes an update without writing about it on their official blog. For instance, the recent Possum update which shook the local SEO community was not anywhere to be seen on the blog. In that case, it is difficult to know what to do. When changes are made without direct information from Google, it can be very upsetting. This is where you need SEO experts to unravel the puzzle for you. You can be sure that these experts have done the necessary tests and research; therefore, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
In other words, go to credible sites for information if Google hasn’t given any detailed information.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It is important to ensure that your SEO strategy is “evergreen” to avoid a situation where you are perpetually reacting to Google algorithm updates. If you concentrate on delivering quality content, creating sites that offer great user experience and generally ensuring you aren’t using any black hat techniques, you are on your way to creating an algorithm-resistant SEO approach. However, it is not possible to create a perfectly algorithm-resistant site because the online world is an ever changing one. To a certain degree, website owners, no matter how thorough their SEO strategy will have to react to certain algorithm changes. The buzzword here is “vigilance”.
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.