Google rolls out more than 500 algorithm changes each year and some of these updates can have a devastating effect on your websites’ ranking in the Google search engine.
We usually let you know each time there has been a major algorithm update, but do you know what to do once the update hits?
Search Marketer Adam Dince shared some great advice recently which I want to pass onto you. Adam says there are 5 things you should do immediately after an algorithm update to see the impact it has had on your website. These include:
- Make sure you understand the intent of the algorithm update
Typically, algorithm updates are made with a specific purpose in mind. Often after an algorithm update, you’ll find a significant amount of information and misinformation throughout the Web and blogosphere. It’s important to be able to parse out fact from fiction so that you know what you’re dealing with. In my opinion, the best way to understand the intent of an algorithm update is to rely on trustworthy sources that have continuously published sound research and points of views like Google itself (there’s nothing better than information straight from the horse’s mouth), the free MozCast tool from SEOMoz and Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land.
- Check Google and Bing Webmaster Tools for any messages/notifications
These tools provide insight into many aspects of your Website’s performance including any issues on your site that may cause or have caused a penalty as a result of an algorithm update.
- Check your performance data for any increases or decreases
The next step is to check the organic search performance numbers from your analytics tool (e.g., Adobe SiteCatalyst, Adobe Insights, Google Analytics, etc). If you notice a significant or worrisome drop in performance post-algorithm update, you may well be suffering from a penalty.
- Conduct a visibility analysis on your target keywords
After checking your performance data, I highly recommend ensuring that your keywords have not seen a significant drop in visibility. If your keywords, en masse, have shot up or down, you may have been affected by the algorithm change.
- Conduct a competitive visibility report on your keywords
Finally, I recommend validating if the algorithm update may have affected your competitors’ sites. Similar to the previous step, I recommend looking at competitor keyword rankings prior to and immediately post algorithm update. It’s important to understand if similar Websites to yours have been impacted from an algorithm change. If so, an immediate round of discovery should be conducted to determine what factors may have caused the site to be rewarded or penalized. Ultimately, this type of competitor insight can help you avoid future penalties and attract boosts to your organic search visibility and performance.
I hope these 5 steps help you next time a Google Panda or Penguin update hits.