Updates to the core algorithm might be the torment of an SEO‘s existence.
The quantity of unknowns that come with an update keeps consumers on their toes,
while Google appears to sit back and watch them try to figure out what’s changed.
Given Google’s mysterious approach to core changes — and even regular updates,
for that matter — it can feel like we’re at the mercy of the algorithm, with no genuine countermeasures.
Google has explicitly stressed on multiple occasions that website owners should not regard upgrades
As something to fought against.
Do we just throw our hands up in defeat after all of this?
No, there are plenty of strategies at our disposal; however, like with anything in SEO,
it’s a more sophisticated, long-term strategy.
We’ll look at how to deal with, assess, and influence the outcomes of fundamental algorithm upgrades in this article.
First and foremost, we must appropriately calibrate our thinking regarding algorithm upgrades to the core.
As previously stated, Google has verified
that there is no “fix” that website owners should implement in reaction to the recent core change, tweeting the following.
The lack of a simple “fix” is because websites examined over time.
This can thought of as a single, consolidated report card that is
then used to make judgments about whether to reward, punish, or retain a site’s existing status.
Continuing with the metaphor, if we want to get good grades at the end of the year,
we should make sure we are doing our best throughout the semester rather
than missing classes and cramming right before the final.
In a similar vein, many SEOs have noticed a pattern
where website updates in the weeks leading before a major update are generally ignored.
This finding makes sense when websites evaluated based on modifications made over a longer period of time rather than just a few weeks.
If Google is gracious enough to provide us advance warning of an upgrade,
it should not interpreted as permission to make a slew of changes sitewide.
Below are some insights based on the launch dates of previous core updates, in an attempt to provide some sort of concrete facts
that we can actually utilize to better understand scheduling.
The “Brackets” Core Update appears to be the point at which the concept of “core algorithm updates” gained traction.
With that in mind, we may deduce the following from previous core revisions since “Brackets” in March 2018.
Now that we know when core changes might happen, we need to thoroughly examine website performance once they’ve rolled out.
Google has become slightly more upfront about algorithm modifications in recent years.
One piece of information they’ve provided is the duration of the rollout: one to two weeks.
Although everyone will be keen to monitor trend lines as the update is being rolled out,
a more in-depth analysis should wait until two weeks following the initial launch date,
or when Google has signaled that the update is complete.
Multiple rounds of post-update analysis will reduced as a result of this.
One of the greatest ways to gain an initial gauge of website performance fluctuations is to use STAT’s Competitive Landscape tab.
The reason for this is that STAT is capable of providing the most accurate portrayal of website exposure around
the terms you care about the most because you can choose which keywords are tracked.
STAT, on the other hand, may not be the most enlightening if you’re tracking a tiny subset of keywords or if you’ve only just added keywords,
as you’ll likely want a wide enough set of keywords to limit outliers, and STAT is unable to offer historical data retroactively.
You’ll want to go to the “Competitive Landscape” tab of STAT, assuming you have a large enough keyword set.
We may understand SERP volatility for the top 10 competitors by using this technique.
STAT keeps a simple tally of the sites that appeared the most frequently in the top 10 search results for your chosen keyword set every seven days.
That’s how the top ten competitors are chosen.
Changes in visibility inside your keyword set’s overall space:
Gains or losses in an industry as a whole could imply a variety of reasons, including an increase in overall demand or a decline in Google SERP characteristics.
Changes in your website’s visibility: Increases in visibility following an update indicate
that your site has favorably impacted,
while decreases indicate that your site has been negatively impacted.
After a significant update, inverse correlations in visibility between your site and competitors can reveal who the winners and losers are.
Changes in Google visibility: If Google displays a higher degree of visibility following a Core Algorithm Update,
they’ve likely included more SERP features that effectively shift visibility away from your website or competitors.
Your website may or may not automatically featured in the view based on your visibility around a certain keyword set.
If your website isn’t already listed in the Competitive Landscape area, follow the instructions below.
In the Site Tools pane, choose Settings after selecting a site in the Data Views pane.
Select the tab for Share of Voice.
Enter the website’s domain name:
Your pinned site will now show up in your share of voice charts and tables
(as seen in the bottom left of the screenshot above).
It could take up to 24 hours to calculate this information.
Asterisks indicate places that have pinned.
Whether or not your website has compromised, I recommend using Search Analytics for Sheets,
a Google Sheets add-on that allows you to obtain and backup data from Webmaster Tools.
This tool is essentially a more advanced version of Google Search Console.
It allows you to segment various data points (dates, queries, pages, and so on)
to obtain a considerably higher level of granularity than Search Console’s regular web frontend offers.
Let’s look at a website that benefited from the June 2021 core update and see how
this tool can help us compare/handle possible algorithmic adjustments.
Our date range should be somewhat narrow, but it should include the full rollout period,
as well as a few days before and after as possible.
Days before the update will help you understand regular pre-update performance and can used as a benchmark.
The days following the upgrade will, of course, assist you in comprehending post-update adjustments.
Because the rollout was from June 2 to June 12, I chose a 22-day date span of 5/30 to 6/20.
Next, enter the date in the “Group By:” field.
Using the “Filter” options,
ensure that all trademarked keywords excluded.
Finally, at the bottom of the side panel, click “Request Data” in blue.
There is a lot of data manipulation that can done once the data has generated to gain insight.
Absolute changes ([current period] – [previous period]) and relative percent changes (([current period] / [prior period]) – 1) are useful formulas for analysing movement in general.
We now have a general knowledge of the following tendencies based on this data:
While there may be other things to consider,
such as other Google updates, the day of the week, website migrations, technical website modifications, and so on,
The above will point website owners in the right direction to answer the question, “was my website affected?”
Finally, we’d like to look into the kinds of website changes
that might be slightly more valuable in the context of core algorithm updates.
While the types of strategies we can use to try to elicit good algorithmic responses are limitless,
we can make some educated assumptions based on Google’s previous key focus areas.
Google has been cracking down on sites labeled as “Y-M-Y-L” since the August 2018 Medic Update (Your Money Your Life).
YMYL sites are those in the medical, health, financial, and news domains that have the potential to affect someone’s livelihood.
At the time, Google implemented this concept, as well as a higher level of examination,
as a way to counteract the spread of misleading information.
Since August 2018, YMYL webpages have been the focus of Google upgrades regularly.
From 2018 through 2020, after a core update, trendlines of websites presumably classified
as YMYL would commonly encounter sharp hills and falling valleys.
To summarise, you, the website owner, equipped with several options to combat damaging algorithmic declines – after all,
the greatest defense is a good offense, as the saying goes.
You may better prepare for the inevitable volatility on a triennial basis
by better understanding how to handle, assess, and influence the results of fundamental algorithm upgrades.