What Are Google Algorithm Updates?
Google processes over 40,000 search queries per second. With such a massive volume of search requests, it can be difficult to offer an exact answer to every question searched in the world.
To manage this problem and offer relevant results every time someone searches something, Google created an algorithm to decide which websites show up for a particular keyword or phrase.
For example, if you search a product category like a purse, a t-shirt, or shoes, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Macy’s are among the first ones to appear.
Why? Because Google’s algorithm considers them most relevant to your search. This happens because many people in the past accessed those websites after searching the product keyword, which tells the algorithm, “this is the right result.”
With these insights, the Google algorithm can prioritize helpful content over clickbait headlines. This benefits you, the user, as you get accurate, instantly helpful results. It also benefits Google as you keep coming back to search again.
Why You Need to Know About Google Algorithm Updates
If you’re a business owner who relies on digital marketing to drive traffic and conversions, the Google algorithm can both help and hurt your business.
If you understand how it works, you can manage your SEO and marketing strategies to rank higher on the first page of Google search results.
What happens when the algorithm changes?
You’re at risk of losing organic traffic. If the algorithm decides to penalize your site for something you don’t realize is wrong, it can tank your views, reducing leads and conversions.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to keep an eye out for major Google algorithm updates. The sooner you learn about the latest updates, the faster you can fix your SEO strategies to maintain your high rank.
How to Recover From Google Algorithm Penalties
If you suspect your website has been penalized by Google’s algorithm, here are some steps you can take to try and rank higher again:
1. Start By Finding What Caused It
Check all the recent updates to see what you may have missed. Check for duplicate content, faulty or spammy backlinks, and unintentional keyword stuffing. You can also do this by visiting Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Make Algorithm-Friendly Changes
Once you’ve narrowed down the potential reasons your website may be penalized by Google’s algorithm, make algorithm-friendly changes to bounce your rank back up. For instance, remove the spammy links, re-do duplicate posts and optimize the user experience.
How to Protect Your Site From Google Algorithm Update Penalties
If you have never been hit by a Google algorithm change penalty before but want to make sure your website is protected, try taking these steps to reduce the chances of suddenly being hit with an algorithm penalty.
- Monitor Your Backlinks
Based on the past few changes, we know the Google algorithm penalizes spammy backlinks. To protect your website from being hit with a bad backlink penalty, try monitoring all your backlinks with tools like the Ubersuggest backlink checker and remove any potentially invalid links.
- Check for Duplicate Content
If you frequently outsource the content writing bits of your marketing plan, check for duplicate content before posting anything on your website. Identical content can make it harder for Google to index and rank sites, so you might end up losing your first-page status to another site with similar content.
If you have existing posts that may be flagged as duplicate, try deleting or reworking them into original posts.
- Create a User-Friendly Page Layout
As a Google user, when you open a website, you want to see the main content right away. Nobody wants to scroll past huge blocks of ads and navigation menus.
Knowing this, the Google algorithm may penalize websites that have too many ads “above the fold,” i.e., at the top of your page. If users have to scroll for a long time before accessing the main content, it may be time to rearrange your website’s layout to reduce the chances of being hit with a penalty.
Google Algorithm Update FAQs
How many Google algorithm updates are there per year?
Google updates its algorithm anywhere between 500 to a few thousand times per year. However, not all of these are major Google algorithm changes. Some are relatively minor and will not suddenly affect your rankings, but it helps to keep an eye out for potential changes to protect your website from penalties.
What is EAT in SEO?
EAT in SEO is an acronym that stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It’s a measure of relevance for the Google algorithm to decide which websites to rank higher. Websites with expert-reviewed, well-researched, trusted content tend to be rewarded while unverified, shallow content is penalized.
Why is the Google algorithm so important?
Changes in the algorithm may directly help or hurt your business. If your website is penalized, you lose your search results rank and miss out on organic traffic. On the other hand, if your website is rewarded by the Google algorithm, you can enjoy high-quality leads through organic search.
How does a search algorithm work?
When users input a word or a phrase in the Google search bar, the algorithm pulls out and highlights the content it finds most relevant. This measurement of potential relevancy is based on a number of interdependent factors, including how past users have interacted with a website and who links to it.
Google Algorithm Updates Conclusion
Staying on par with hundreds of algorithm updates can feel tricky at first, but once you have access to SEO tools like backlink checkers, keyword density checkers, Google algorithm update trackers, etc., it can become easier with time and practice.
If you’re hit with a penalty, try digging through past algorithm updates to figure out what may have gone wrong. Tools like the previously-mentioned Google Webmaster can make this task easy for you.
What have you learned from Google’s algorithm updates so far? What changes will you make to protect your website today?