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Google Core Algorithm Update: How It Affected Websites and Tips to Recover

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic | Posted on 19-09-2018

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Every SEO expert and webmaster understands the importance of Google updates. This is because the algorithm is responsible for changing the filters, data refreshes, and other alterations that can cause websites to drop in SEO visibility or ranking. How does Google core algorithm affect your websites?

Introduction to Core Update

Google update is the term used for describing the changes that affect how rankings are calculated by the search engine. Updates can be minor or major depending on its impact to the users. The goal is to improve both the relevance and quality of the results returned from user searches.

This is done by focusing on specific features like the ability to counteract spam or identify duplicate contents. Majority of the updates are manually initiated while others form part of the core algorithm of the search engine. The Google core update is part of the search engine itself and is now continuously and automatically rolled out.

There are roughly 600 updates to the algorithm every year with majority of these being done unnoticed by the user. Most of the time these are unannounced as well even in the search engine industry. The most significant by far does not include new features to the core algorithm but only updates the data it uses.

The Effect on Website Owners

Careful calculation is done with every update to the core algorithm to come up with the best ranking possible for search results. Each update tackles specific issues that are related to the way search results are handled.

The Panda update on February 2011 for example was designed to focus on low quality content in websites. The goal is to improve the quality of the search results by the ability to distinguish between what is low quality websites and what is not.

Since January 2016, Google began ranking low quality websites as part of its core algorithm. The huge change in the rankings seen by specialists were linked to the minor updates done on the core algorithm.

 

Comments from webmasters/siteowners, or Google representatives

According to Matt Cutts of Google, “The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs.”

Based on a small independent survey conducted by Barry Schwartz who covers SEO space, the most dramatically affected websites are those related to health.

Tyler Bishop who is a certified publishing partner of Google says, “In my subjective observations, the sites that saw decreases seemed to have relied on several URLs for a large percentage of their traffic and these URLs had not been updated in a while. This may say something about the importance of updating content overtime — even if it is “evergreen”.”

Tips or Efforts to Recover from Dropped Rankings & Traffic

Here are some tips on how to handle drops in rankings and traffic caused by the Google core algorithm update.

  • Penalty Rank Drop
    This is characterized by a huge drop in rankings that usually happens overnight. Penalty drops often demote you 10 to 20 positions. You must realize that algorithmic penalties automatically happen and commonly occurs with rolled out updates.

    Check the Webmaster Tools account to get a clearer picture and better understanding of the rank drop. There should be some type of notifications in the Site Messages to alert you of GoogleBot detected issues.

    Most of the time you can prevent penalty rank drops by continuously tracking links and use special tools that alert you of changes in your link profile.

  • Outranked by Competitor
    If a competitor outranks you, there will only be a slight drop in your rankings. You can even see which competitor has outranked you because other websites will be in the same position as they were before.

    You need to constantly monitor and analyze all competitor sites including social profiles to be updated on what they are doing. When you continuously track main competitors, it will be easier to understand link building strategies they employ giving you a heads up on their next possible moves. Adapt your own strategies accordingly.

  • On-Page Issue
    Drops in rankings and traffic can also be caused by on-page issues. The result is either a noticeable drop in the rankings or there is no growth of your site. This is despite your efforts to consistently create content and build your links.

    The Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) can give you some insights to understand the cause of the problem. HTML Improvements can help in detecting problems associated with tags. The PageSpeed Insights also delivers valuable data on potential problems with your site and suggests way to fix them.

    Prevent this type of issues by extensively using GWT to keep track of your site. Make use of the notifications as well to be updated on everything that is happening with your website.

Now you have a better understanding of how Google core algorithm updates can affect your websites.

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