How to stay ahead of Google algorithm updates
Have you ever noticed that Google is constantly making algorithm changes? The worst part is that, when
they finally roll one out, they don’t always give you a ton of notice. It might be frustrating, but Google’s desktop market share is roughly 85.55% worldwide. 87% of American search engine users prefer Google over other searches like Bing or Yahoo or Baidu. The bottom line is you simply can’t afford to ignore Google or the many many algorithm updates that are to come in the future. It’s important to understand that Google’s ranking system actually consists of multiple algorithms. It’s not just one easy to understand the system. In fact, there are over 200 components that factor into Google’s algorithm. The next time you hear an update has been rolled out, imagine it’s an entire interconnected process of things, not just one simple lever that’s being pulled. Google’s core updates can sometimes take weeks to fully roll out and in that timeframe, it’s super common to see some webpages gain or lose position, so how can you possibly expect to adopt? How are you supposed to maintain the same level of search traffic when the whole algorithm is so fluid? Here are a few essential tips for staying ahead of Google’s algorithm update so you’ll never get left behind.
We are going to see them in five steps. They are-
- Set Up google alerts
- Avoid Blackhat SEO practices
- Optimize the user experience
- Keep your content fresh
- Keep your content fresh
Set up Google Alerts
Tracking every single update that Google makes can be exhausting, but you can’t afford to miss out on the big core algorithm update. With Google Alerts, you’ll receive a notification directly in your inbox whenever algorithm updates are mentioned online, giving you enough time to mentally prepare and tweak your SEO strategy if needed. The way you set it up is that you go to google.com/alerts, then put in keywords like ‘Google algorithm’, and then click on the ‘Create Alert’ button. Another great way to stay on top of algorithm changes is to follow Google Search Liaison on Twitter. Its official account essentially does what Google Alerts does, but tracks social media mentions instead, and while we’re on the subject of Google, user tools such as Search Console and Use Google Analytics, they can help you identify unusual traffic activity as well as random spikes or dips in conversion. Major changes in either traffic or conversions could be an indicator that your SEO has somewhat been affected by an algorithm change. Could be positive or negative. From there, you want to check out blogs, like search engine Roundtable and search engine Land, which typically cover what’s happening, and I also cover them on nfdwp.com. Other algorithm analytics tools like Moscas or Grum can track daily algorithm changes giving you the edge needed to stay ahead of other marketers.
Avoid Blackhat SEO practices
It’s got a spooky name for a pretty good reason. Blackhat SEO is a practice that basically goes against search engine guidelines and includes tactics like keyword stuffing, hidden tags, cloaking, buying backlinks, using private link networks, paid backlinks, and doorway pages. Some of these practices might just help you gain a short-term advantage, but it won’t last long and it could even lead to penalties that could seriously harm your business’s long-term chances of ranking high on Google. You might even get blacklisted. Google’s pretty smart. They can recognize when you’re up to no good. Instead, read through Google Search Essentials. There are a ton of why-how SEO practices in there that can help you skirt any issues, penalties, or other punishments.
Optimize the user experience
Every update has one overarching goal behind it, to show users the sites that they love that provide the most helpful information and that are most beneficial. Look, a bad user experience can be disastrous for your traffic. According to HubSpot, 88% of customers are less likely to return to a site with bad UX. 90% of customers reported that they stopped using an app because it performed poorly. Long story short, if your website isn’t running well, not only will you lose your audience, Google will even make it harder for them to find you. Technical issues can plague your site. Things like 404 errors, reader eggs, callability issues, website security, slow load speed, and overall just a confusing user journey. It shouldn’t take more than one or two seconds for your website to load. The longer your page takes to load, the worse your user experience will be. Make sure you also have a comprehensive internal linking structure, a fast-loading website, and quality content. You can use tools like DeepCrawl, BuzzSumo, Found, and more to see how your website is performing, and you can use tools like Crazy Egg to create a heat map that shows you where people are clicking on your website and where they don’t, and you can use this data to improve your user experience as well.
Keep your content fresh
I used to not really follow Google updates that much. Why? Because they happen so often and so quickly that it’s almost impossible for me to fully anticipate everything that Google will change. What I did was I started prioritizing creating exceptional, user-friendly content and stuff that my audience actually wants to read. That includes content refreshes, doing consistent queue and research and including it in my content, and blogging frequently about high-volume search topics in my industry. Remember, a Google update is designed to make the search engine better for the user, so make sure you’re focusing on the same thing.
Use tools that determine what updates are affecting your website
Notice a decline in traffic as of lately? It might not be a random fluke. It might have been an algorithm change. Here are two tools that can help you identify what the heck went wrong. The first is to check out Google Search Console. It contains a ton of awesome resources that you can use to diagnose common performance issues and identify potential algorithm penalties. Logdna search console, it’s a free analytics tool from Google. It can help you identify mobile issues, usability, and 404 issues. It can even tell you if you have some code that’s not reading right by their search engine and it’ll tell you what pages that need to be fixed and what code needs to be fixed. Then the other tool that you have, is Semrush Sensor. This tool breaks down what is changing for each industry when it comes to algorithm updates.
With these five strategies, you should be good to go and ready for whatever Google throws your way, and if you want even more help, please ask us. If you have any questions, leave a comment below. I’m here to answer them and help you out. If you enjoyed this article, like, share it, and tell people about it. Thank you very much.