Google handles 40,000 search requests every second or 1.2 trillion searches every year. People want their search results accurate, so Google tweaks its search algorithm. Most of the time, you won’t even know anything has happened to the Google core algorithm. Every now and then, an update sends shock waves through the Internet world. Rankings fall and rise.
Websites affected by the update scramble to understand what happened. They’re not digital marketers with their pulse on the industry. By the time they realize what happened, they’re rankings and traffic tanked, and they don’t know what to do. If you’re affected by a core update, you can recover, but only if you follow the right steps.
How Does a Google Core Algorithm Update Differ From Other Updates?
You have heard of other updates like Panda and Hummingbird. Each of these had major impacts on digital ecommerce and websites. They were not core algorithm updates. The algorithm considers more than 200 search queues to decide what sites rank for keywords.
Google designed updates like Panda and Hummingbird to help a specific part of the algorithm. For example, Penguin helped control link spam. It changed a small part of the algorithm. It still had a huge impact on searches.
A core algorithm update influences the entire algorithm. It changes the weight and value of each segment. The change could be minor or major.
How Often Do Core Algorithms Happen?
When a segment update happens such as Penguin, it’s obvious. There is a huge shakeup on the web. It’s rare that Google tells anyone when these happen until afterwards or not at all. A segment update might happen a few times a year.
Google is more secretive of core updates. They’ll do these several times a year and you don’t realize. The impact on rankings is minimal. The company won’t say anything unless asked.
When a Google broad core algorithm update causes a major stir, then digital marketers take notice and start asking questions. Google is often cagey with the information. It’s up to the SEO gurus to figure out what happened and who it affected.
Your Traffic and Revenue Drops, Now What?
It happens over a few days, but you first notice a drop-in revenue or traffic from your website. You check your keyword rankings and there has been a massive drop. What happened? Your first thought is a Google update, but don’t jump to conclusions.
If you’re making changes to your website or went live with new plug-ins or web design, it’s possible Google dropped you. It’s not uncommon for significant website changes to impact rankings. Don’t always assume Google is behind the loss. If you haven’t done anything to your site over the last couple of weeks and the traffic loss is sudden, then Google could be the culprit.
Check the Internet News
When Google does a major update that hits a specific industry or large number of websites, the digital marketing world notices. Check some of the popular marketing websites. Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land have stories about recent updates.
Since Google isn’t forthcoming with news, the stories will be light on information other than something happened. It takes a few days for them to put the pieces together and figure out what changed and why.
It’s important to understand what the update hit and why. A recent core update harmed many medical sites, but also other industries. They designed the update to improve authority and rankings of websites with well-created information.
For example, an article about diabetes from a doctor that is well-written and provides information improved in rank. A website that sells supplements with an article that was a sales pitch and not informative decreased in rank. If that site wanted to improve in rank, then it needs to provide information informative to searchers.
Recovering from A Core Update
The first step in recovering from Google core algorithm update is understanding why it affected your site. Once you do that, you can make changes to your website. The problem that most websites face is how long to recover.
Low rankings mean low traffic and revenues for a digital business. You can’t go weeks or months without revenue but recovering from a core update takes time. It will be a few days or longer before you understand what the update was about.
You must develop a plan of action to address the update and put in place the changes. How long that takes depends on what the update was about. Something like updating a plug-in or a small programming issue can be quick. If you need to completely reorganize your content and build new content, it can take several months.
Google must notice the changes and change the rankings. This can also take several weeks. When Google changes rankings, it may not be where you were at before the update. You’ll likely have to continue SEO efforts and update your site.
Improving Rank Overall
Recovering from an update doesn’t only entail the update issues. It also means improvement of your site as a whole. With hard work, you may find yourself in a better position than before. Google loves well developed and informative content. Even if the update doesn’t impact that area, consider providing better blog articles and on-page content.
Run an SEO audit on your site to determine common SEO problems that may be dragging down your site. Items such as slow page load times, no alt tags on pictures and duplicate or thin content could hold down your site down.
Google puts considerable weight on backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. Google understands if high-quality sites trust your information enough to link to it, then your site must have authority and improves ranking.
Think Outside SEO
Since it can take weeks or months to recover from a core update, consider other marketing options such as pay per click, social media advertising, content marketing and email marketing. Many of these methods cost money, but can boost traffic and revenues while you improve rankings.
It Will Get Better
A Google core algorithm update can devastate a website. If you work on improving your site for searchers, then you’ll recover. If you want more information about algorithm updates and digital marketing, then visit our website.