If there is one thing certain in the world, it's change. Our friends at Google are quite familiar with this concept, updating their algorithm over 500+ times a year. From a user standpoint, most of these updates go unnoticed as small changes.
Every now and then a major update comes around that rocks the SEO/online marketing community like Penguin 4.0 & Possum which leads some folks to get paranoid and wonder what Google may have possibly done this time to mess with our livelihood.
When you rush to overreact over Google's changes, without really knowing the potential of their updates, you can create an unnecessary flurry of paranoid and worried emotion. (on top of what we online marketers already face!)
Consider these 3 takeaways from Search Engine Land, that detail, how you should react to new changes with Google. Read on…
Major algorithm updates can be stressful, I get it. But the truth is we never get a detailed list of changes from Google. So panicking about something we know little about, especially in the beginning, is really a waste of time and energy. Let’s take the most recent Penguin update, for instance.
- Penguin is now real-time.
- Penguin is now more granular.
Now, before knowing this information, many speculated what this update would bring. Some were right, others not so much. But one thing is for sure. If you panicked about the update and started trying to “guess” what was coming, you probably did a lot of unnecessary worrying. So when you learn a major update is looming, don’t panic.
Wait to react
After relaxing and not panicking, the next thing to do is wait to react. It can be tempting to go out and make changes to your site or process, but that could be wasted work. Instead, the smart thing to do is wait and see if your site has been impacted. More often than not, if you are doing SEO the right way, your site was probably not impacted negatively (and you could even see a boost).
Before overreacting to an algorithm update, I recommend you wait a few days or even weeks to see the impact on your site or sites. Make a note of where you are at the beginning and compare the metrics after a few weeks. If your site appears to be impacted, that’s when it’s time to make changes.
Read credible sources and make adjustments where necessary
Checking and reading the Google Webmaster Blog is a great place to start. Read over any information they have posted, and look at what the update was meant to target. If your site was hit, it’s likely these are the things you need to work on. If you still need more, Search Engine Land has a number of great staff writers and columnists who cover all the algorithm updates very well.
As we did above, let’s look at the other recent update, Possum. Possum was targeted at local SEO, looking to diversify listings and remove spam. While Google never wrote about this update on their Webmaster Blog, there was enough shake-up in the local results to trigger the SEO community.
When these types of changes are made to the algorithm without direct admission from the team at Google, it can be very unnerving. This is where we need to rely on other experts. Columnist Joy Hawkins did a great research-based piece on Possum, where she shared five things that were impacted by the update and what you should look for as an SEO or site owner. Since Hawkins put in the hard work and tested the impacts, you can be pretty sure that her insights are right on.
When making adjustments to your site after an update, make sure you make one change at a time. That way, you can see the impact of the adjustment and have a better idea of what is actually going on.
It can be super easy to get into a negative frame of mind and worry to much about what you can't control. Always take a steadfast informational approach to any changes that occur in the online business world before making any major decisions. If you want to read more about this topic check out the folks over at Search Engine Land here — searchengineland.com
Till next time fellow marketer!
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