SEO: Managing Modern Algorithm Updates

SEO: Managing Modern Algorithm Updates

Google launched a broad core algorithm update last week that impacted web search appearance and rankings. A broad core change like this one indicates that Google has done more than its typical tinkering that results in one to two small algorithm updates a day on average. Affected Sites The algorithm update, according to the brief announcement on Twitter by Google SearchLiaison, focuses on rewarding previously under-ranking sites. Naturally, the announcement explains, this means that sites that had previously been ranking well may be pushed a little lower on the search results page. Once upon a time, Google would disclose the nature of its algorithm updates. It’s also possible that the update is centered on one of the initiatives that Google is pushing now, such as site speed, security, or structured data. The answer can be found in two places: rank tracking and web analytics. If the answer to that second question is “no,” then you probably were affected by the algorithm update. If you didn’t do anything wrong for which you’re being punished, then you can’t gear your search engine optimization strategy to fix anything specific. What are the top three things to fix that would drive the largest traffic from organic search?

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Google launched a broad core algorithm update last week that impacted web search appearance and rankings.

Algorithm changes typically center on rankings improvements tied to determining the quality of a site’s contextual relevance or authority within its topic or industry. A broad core change like this one indicates that Google has done more than its typical tinkering that results in one to two small algorithm updates a day on average. They’ve changed something larger in the core of the algorithm that impacts a wider array of rankings.

The impact of those changes can be viewed in the tools such as SEMrush’s Sensor, which tracks aggregate rankings across thousands of keyword phrases to measure Google and Bing’s daily fluctuations.

SEMrush’s Sensor tool shows daily aggregate ranking trends in search engine results pages — SERPs.
SEMrush’s Sensor tool shows daily aggregate ranking trends in search engine results pages — SERPs.

Affected Sites

The algorithm update, according to the brief announcement on Twitter by Google SearchLiaison, focuses on rewarding previously under-ranking sites. Naturally, the announcement explains, this means that sites that had previously been ranking well may be pushed a little lower on the search results page. This is based not on punishing those who rank poorer now, but on rewarding those who deserve it more, in Google’s estimation.

That’s cold comfort for those who find themselves ranking further down on page one of Google’s search results or pushed to page two, however.

Once upon a time, Google would disclose the nature of its algorithm updates. Those days are over. In fact, Google rarely even acknowledges that an update has happened anymore. The acknowledgment, in this case, is a nod to the scope of the change.

In some instances, such as during the damage control several years around the wide-ranging impact of the Panda and Penguin updates, Google has also indicated the percent of search results that were impacted. Unfortunately, Google has also stopped giving that information.

What we can tell is that the algorithm…

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