Google algorithm plays an essential role in how your website ranks in the search engine results page (SERP). The only problem is that Google updates its algorithm about 600 times a year – and that’s roughly two new updates every day.
Although most of these updates are minor, there are occasional major algorithm updates that affect the results in many significant ways. As a digital marketer, being in the know of these Google updates can make a great impact on your rankings, website traffic and ultimately, your SEO strategies.
So, how do you stay ahead of your competitors when the algorithm can change so suddenly? Keep your eyes peeled for the latest changes as they occur – and in this article, we look into the ways how.
What is Google algorithm?
Before you can fully grasp the impact of every algorithm update, you need to understand first what an algorithm is actually about.
In a nutshell, the term algorithm refers to the logic-based procedure for solving a problem. In the case of a search engine, the problem is how to find the most relevant pages for the particular search terms. Thus, the algorithm is how Google finds, ranks and provides relevant results.
In between 2011 and 2017, Google has released five major updates on its algorithm named Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon and Fred. But, in between these updates, there also some changes that weren’t highly publicised but nevertheless may still have had an impact on your rankings.
How to Stay Updated with Google Algorithm
1. Follow Google’s core rules
Now, while there are many ways and strategies to stay on top of the game, the most essential of all is to make sure that your website adheres to Google’s core rules
- Your website should be easy to crawl and index (TIP: It will be easier by implementing a sitemap)
- Your website content should be unique, valuable and keyword-focused
- Your website offers a great user experience
- Your on-site strategies are supported by link building efforts
Following these practical rules can often let you get away with being clueless about the latest algorithm updates. But, don’t let these afford you to be complacent as there will still be some updates that don’t fall under these guidelines.
So, should you keep yourself up-to-date?
2. Keep up with authority blogs
As a digital marketing agency, we firmly vote yes. You’ll never know, the rules we follow today could change in an instant. Being aware of these improvements can give you an edge against your competitors and fortunately, there are many outlets where we can read the latest algorithm news.
Google Webmaster Central Blog
It’s fair to say that if you want to read news about something, it’s best to read it directly from the source. So, who’s better to announce an update than the Google Webmaster blog?
Although it’s not going to tell you about every new update, it has a rich supply of information that can help shape your SEO strategy and which you will not find elsewhere.
Moz is an in-depth SEO tool that offers free SEO guides and up-to-date archive of all the Google algorithm updates.
Its Google Algorithm Change History is a definitive record of all the major changes in the algorithm for the last 15 years. So, if you want to keep up with the Google changes, it should be one of the first places to go.
Like Moz, SEMRush is also an online SEO resource that offers tools for tracking changes to the Google algorithm.
It has a free dashboard named the SEMRush Sensor which keeps track of the volatility of SERP fluctuations. It provides an in-depth report on how the new algorithm updates may be affecting your website in its category.
There are many other sites that update you with the latest in SEO. It’s up to you who you follow just as long as you’re sure they are authoritative. Nevertheless, following a number of sites means you’re likely to hear about any update almost immediately.
3. Use the right SEO tools
A Google update isn’t designed to overhaul your website every time one rolls out. They are refinements made to improve the search engine user experience. You need to update yourself with these changes and using the right tools can help you with just that. What’s even better is most of them are free.
- Google Search Console provides data on your existing presence on Google as well as a report about the major issues that keep you from getting indexed.
- Google Analytics, on the other hand, is another fundamental tool that monitors your website’s performance including its organic traffic and leads. Its data provides an insight on how the algorithm changes affect your website on a page by page basis.
In the move to provide a better user experience, Google continues to update its strategies, and so should you – and the best way to do that is to focus on the fundamentals.
Work to provide good and quality content. Think in-depth, fresh and well-written content which purpose goes beyond trying to rank for the targeted keywords. Lastly, make the algorithm changes the basis of your SEO strategy will place you ahead of your competitors.
Did you find this article informative? Read our blog for more of the latest digital marketing news and updates!