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How To Recover From A Google Algorithm Update?

We often get a lot of questions about what to do when an algorithm update has hit a site. The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all answer, and you should look at your site to see if it fits the "characteristics" of the update.

Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times a year, but some updates are more critical than others. We all know the big ones - Penguin, Panda, the mobile-first index - and the latest one is Fred, which was rolled out to combat low-quality content. As such, it's essential to know how to deal with changes to the algorithm when they're rolled out. Here's all you need to know about recovering from an algorithm update.

Why does Google update its algorithm?

There is a multitude of reasons why the algorithm could be updated. Google uses its algorithm to measure user satisfaction and effectiveness. If there are many complaints about a particular website, it could be updated. It is also possible that the algorithm could be updated to counter a previously updated algorithm.

The search engine algorithm updates are a part of SEO, and there is no doubt about it. However, what is not a part of SEO is how to recover from them. In the past years, Google has rolled out Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, which has been devastating for many websites.

When an algorithm update happens, changes usually occur gradually over the course of a few weeks or months. It's also rare for an entire website to be penalised for algorithmic reasons.

How to recover from an algorithm update?

That question is on the mind of every website owner who is hit with the update. One of the most perplexing problems is when you feel like you're doing everything right, and then, out of nowhere, your traffic takes a nose dive out of nowhere. In today's post, we'll be taking a look at the most common update culprits, along with some recovery strategies that you can put into place as soon as possible.

Google has been actively advancing its algorithm to combat low-quality websites. The updates, dubbed "Penguin" and "Panda," are designed to punish those who violate Google's quality guidelines. If you are a victim of one of these algorithmic changes, there are several tactics you can use to recover.

John Mueller went on to give the best answer he could possibly give, and here's a summary of his response:

"There's nothing to fix since there's no specific thing that the algorithm targets. A variety of factors that relate to a website sometimes evolves, and that affects your traffic and rankings. There are no explicit changes you can do, but there is an old blog post (published 2011) on the Webmaster Central Blog that's basically a guide on building high-quality sites, and he highly recommends that webmasters read this post."

In September 2019, during a Webmaster hangout, Mueller made a point of mentioning a few critical things:

·         Pages that lost traffic are not penalised - While losing your ranking may look like a penalty, there's no manual action standing in the way of improving your situation.

·         Core updates centre around relevance. Pages tend to rank better when they closely align with searcher intent.

·         You don't have to wait until the next core algorithm update to improve your standing–recovery can begin as soon as you make improvements and Googlebot crawls your site.

·         Lost rankings aren't typically about spam. While bad links, errors, and low-quality content do hurt your standing, in many cases, you've been outranked because someone else offered more relevant content.

Here is the recording of the Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout from September 3, 2019.

Muller's explanation may look unsatisfactory for business owners or website owners, especially if you are looking for a quick fix. Still, it's worth pointing out Google's definition of "nothing to fix" essentially means that you haven't violated any webmaster guidelines.

Google has always insisted that the best way to "recover" from an update is to focus on creating the best content you can.

What "quality content" means?

In 2011 (yes, a decade ago, and it still is beneficial), Google published a blog post defining what, exactly, a quality website is. It says that their goal is to raise the profile of "high-quality" sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content.

Additionally, you can also read the updated Google's Search Quality Raters Guidelines to deepen your understanding of Google's standards for high quality, helpful websites.

Google Update Recovery

4 Key Areas to Audit according to Google

In a recent August 2019 blog post, Google recommended assessing four major areas to evaluate the effectiveness of a core algorithm:

1. Content and Quality:

Content and quality guidelines are designed to help you create high-quality posts. They allow you to showcase the best of your blog, articles, or other forms of content. These guidelines will help you consistently write, edit, and publish quality content that is compelling, original, and engaging.

2. Expertise:

Expertise looks at the author and the quality of the content. Google's expertise ranking algorithm looks at the author of a page, the subject matter, and the quality of the content. It looks at these factors to determine the trustworthiness of a page or article. An excellent way to increase author expertise is to give prominence to articles written by bloggers.

3. Presentation and Production:

This is a section about how your site looks, how you present information and is formatted.
- Good Looks: Does the page look nice? Does it load quickly? Are there high-quality images, and is the content well-formatted? Does it look good on mobile?

- Slow Load: If your site is slow, this will likely be an issue. Have you tested it with different internet connections to make sure all sites are loading correctly? Have you cleaned up the code and optimised it for speed?

4. Competitive comparison:

In the case of a drop in ranking, this may mean your competitors have done something better than you do. In order to be competitive, it may be necessary to rethink your site and align it with your users' expectations. Sometimes, other websites may offer better solutions for the problems your site was previously solving. It can also be just a sign of a competitor that did something better — or at least more engagingly.

2 things that you need to understand to recover from an algorithm update:

1.    Understand When the algorithm Update Happened:

The Google SEO algorithm update is a big deal for any website owner. It's also imperative to update your SEO strategy accordingly. But what happens when you don't know when an update occurred? How do you determine which changes are related to Google's updates and which ones aren't?

The algorithm is responsible for the rankings you see on the SERP. Every change to the algorithm updates rankings for websites all over the world.

The algorithm is constantly being updated to improve and to fix bugs, which is a good thing. Sometimes Google will pre-announce the update. Often, you will need to monitor the situation on your own actively. And, SEO professionals like us specialise in Google know what updates bring to the table and how to implement them to protect our clients' sites.

2.    Find Out What the Google Algorithm Update is About

Google has released a new algorithm update designed to lessen the impact of content farms on search results. This update is focused on improving the outcomes users see when performing searches and making Google a better tool for finding relevant information. The aim is to improve the overall quality of search results and make them more accurate and relevant.

As a website owner, you need to understand the Google algorithm update to prepare and overcome a negative impact or make the most of a positive impact. Whenever Google updates its algorithm, it doesn't come along with a guide or a rulebook. Instead, its guideline remains the same.

One of the best ways to start recovering from an algorithm update to protect your website against future damage is to study the ins and outs of Google's Quality Rater Guidelines.

Here's its guide to 'What site owners should know about Google's core updates'.

Final thought!

The algorithm update happened! Google did a refresh, and it affected your site, customer or competitors. But, how do you know when the update occurred? How do you know what time? How many pages were impacted? When you're trying to figure out the algorithm update, this is where we can help. We track all of these events for you.

Speaking of search engine optimisation (SEO) and the impact that Google's algorithm update has had on the industry, it's worth noting that it can be easy to be overwhelmed with all of the available information. So, to help you make sense of what's going on and how your SEO strategy should be impacted in response, connect with us and speak to our SEO experts.

Over the last few years, the constant changes to Google algorithm have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Although there's still a lot we don't know about Google's algorithm, we do know that the best way to combat these seemingly random changes is to update our approach constantly.


How long does it take to recover from a Google Algorithm Update?

The recovery time varies depending on several factors, including the severity of the impact and the actions taken to address the issues. It can take weeks to months to fully recover and regain lost rankings and organic traffic.

Should I seek professional help to recover from a Google Algorithm Update?

Seeking professional help from SEO experts or agencies can be beneficial, particularly if you lack the technical knowledge or experience to analyse and address the impacts of algorithm updates effectively. Professionals from Webplanners can provide guidance and implement strategies to aid in recovery.

How can I stay ahead of future Google Algorithm Updates?

To stay ahead of future updates, you can

- Stay updated with industry news and Google's official communications.

- Focus on creating high-quality and relevant content that genuinely serves your target audience.

- Follow SEO best practices and avoid black-hat techniques.

- Regularly monitor your website's performance and make necessary adjustments to keep up with changing algorithms.


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Sunday, 16 June 2024