The Google ranking algorithm is top secret and includes more than 200 signals. These signals are regularly being tweaked and altered. As some signals become irrelevant and disappear new ones are created. Most of the time these algorithm changes go unnoticed because they affect such a small number of websites or they don’t make a huge difference when it comes to ranking or traffic. But every once in a while Google will release a massive update that shakes the online marketing world like the Panda update or the Penguin update. Because Google is continually striving to improve its product, it will continue to roll out big algorithm updates.
In order to know whether or not an algorithm update impacted your site, it’s necessary to do the following:
The SEO industry is constantly evolving so if you plan on having any SEO success it’s necessary to stay informed about what’s going on. There are plenty of free resources available online and the Google blogs and forums are good places to start. Since there is so much information out there you could spend all day reading about SEO but it’s doubtful that you have time to do that. Even if you just check out some of the major resources for a few minutes a day you’ll find out if there is any new algorithm update news that you need to pay attention to.
In order to know how your website is performing it’s necessary to set up Google Analytics on your website. It’s free and relatively easy to do so and what’s great about Google Analytics is that it is information straight from the source. Check traffic and visitor data along with entrance keywords to understand how people are using your site. Once a new algorithm update is announced, check for any drastic changes in normal trends.
- Check Google Webmaster Tools
What’s great about Webmaster Tools is that it will alert website owners of any critical issues with their website. Once an algorithm change has been announced, be sure to keep an eye out for any Google Webmaster Tools notifications.
Remember, because rankings fluctuate so much it is not the best indicator of SEO success. It’s good to have a rough idea of where your site shows up for specific keyword phrases though. If your site typically ranks somewhere between page 2 and 4 and then there is a significant drop off, it’s likely that the algorithm update had an impact.
Google algorithm updates are usually feared, but they can positively impact your site if you are doing things correctly. Google will never penalize sites that take a white hat approach to SEO and link building. It’s certainly a slow moving process, but it protects your site from algorithm updates. If you’ve been following a white hat approach you will most likely be rewarded when an algorithm update occurs because it will kick the spammy sites out of the SERP listings.