Did you know that Google updates its search algorithm not once, not twice, but thousands of times every year? The changes are sometimes well-publicized and change the web entirely (think Panda, Florida, Penguin, RankBrain). But most tweaks are very small and often go unnoticed. Google doesn’t always confirm these little updates, either, but they are marked by obvious volatilities in the SERPs.
Why it’s important to track these changes
An algorithm change can either boost or damage your:
- Search visibility and ranking
- Organic search traffic
- Return on investment (ROI)
Since you rely on your website for sales and leads, it’s important to stay on top of any updates that can potentially affect your SEO strategy.
That said, it’s virtually impossible to keep track of every little change that Google makes. Just think about it: If algorithms are updated thousands of times annually, that’s at least three updates per day. It would be insane to try to keep up with all of them.
But you can certainly monitor bigger updates using certain resources on the web. These tools can help you stay in loop and sound the alarm if there’s going to be a major change, so you can prepare your website and brace for impact.
Here are three of the best ones you can try:
Search Engine Roundtable
This blog has historical a list of all Google algorithm updates ever made since 2003 (confirmed and unconfirmed). Here you will see the name of every algorithm, its rollout date/period, and a summary of its impact on the SERPs. They also publish analyses from search engine professionals and other credible sources to help you make sense of the changes. Search Engine Roundtable even has a newsletter that you can sign up for to get SEO news right in your inbox. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to get alerts on significant updates.
Google Webmaster Central Blog
If you want to go straight to the source, then be sure to bookmark the Google Webmaster Central Blog. They announce any major changes to their algorithms weeks (sometimes even months) in advance.
It’s a good idea to follow key Googlers who are very good at keeping the public informed of changes that can impact SEO rankings.
- Danny Sullivan is Google’s public search liaison and you can follow him at @searchliaison and @dannysullivan.
- Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller is helpful, too, and you can follow him at @JohnMu.
You can also follow journalists at bloggers who cover Google’s algorithm changes. Three names come to mind:
- Barry Schwartz @rustybrick
- Marie Haynes @Marie_Haynes
- Glenn Gabe @glenngabe
What to do after an update
Shakeups in the SERPs can certainly be panic-inducing. Many business owners get anxious whenever they get wind of some big change.
You don’t have to do the same.
First of all, keep calm. You don’t know yet if you were actually affected by the algorithm change, so don’t overreact. The worst thing you can do is to make sudden changes to your website that might make the problem worse.
Next, collect data. Methodically review your metrics to determine how the update impacted your website. If you were spared from the wrath of Google, great. If you were negatively affected, then it’s time to do some research. Read credible sources to gain expert insights about the recent update.
When you have all the information you need, adjust your SEO strategy as necessary.
As you do this, keep in mind that Google’s algorithms change constantly. Your rankings may have gone down today, but it might climb back up again in a few days or weeks. Do don’t chase every so-called solution. Stay calm and go slowly.
Working with SEO professionals
SEO is hairy business. Not every one is cut out for it. That’s why many business owners choose to outsource SEO strategy to people who know better.
If your website is a serious part of your marketing strategy, it might be time to stop trying to manage it yourself—especially if you don’t have a solid SEO background. Hand over the reins to optimization experts so you can sit back and relax.
Here at SEOValley, we don’t just react to Google algorithm changes—we proactively track and prepare for them. When you hire us to handle your SEO, we will focus on building fundamentals that will make your website resilient against potentially disastrous updates. Contact us today to see how we can help you.