Carolyn asks, “A major update to Google’s core algorithm just came out and our site is down 30% for organic traffic overnight. How do you deal with situations like this?”
Algorithm updates happen all the time, though Google does deploy large ones a few times a year. If there’s any advanced warning, plan campaigns on channels other than search to temporarily drive different traffic if you’re anticipating a problem, especially on paid search.
Monitor forums like SE Roundtable and Black Hat World to see what other SEO professionals are saying about the changes and what they have in common.
If your business permits, let the dust settle for a few days afterwards and a consensus form among the community about what the change might have impacted most, then work to remediate it if possible.
And play the long game – continue building great content to answer search queries with expertise and authority.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Carolyn asks a major update to Google’s core algorithm just came out and our site is down 30% for organic traffic overnight.
How do you deal with situations like this? So Google’s algorithm updates happen all the time, because of the nature of the fact that it’s a deep learning model.
There are constant iterations.
That said, Google does push larger software updates a couple of times per year.
I think about once a quarter give or take, and as many folks have noted, this has been recorded on January 15.
A major update did just come out on January 13 2020.
And, as with any major update their major winners their major losers, everybody else sees things moving up and down to varying degrees.
The question about how to deal with these algorithm changes depends on how much advance notice we have if Google says on its various webmaster blogs on its twitter feed on its YouTube channels, hey, we’re pushing out an update.
And they say here will be live in the next you know, 72 hours that gives you a good sense of, of when things are going to change.
Sometimes depending on the update, they may give even more advanced notice, but certainly you want to be monitoring their social media channels for when they say something’s going to be coming out.
Now, if you get any advanced warnings, you want to do fit for basic things.
Number one, if you do have advanced warnings, plan, additional marketing campaigns on channels other than organic search to temporarily drive different traffic to your website.
So if you anticipate a problem if folks are buzzing about potential problems that they’re seeing in these various forms, you want to have something on deck.
Maybe it’s send out next year.
Email, maybe it’s run some paid search ads to bolster your keywords that you want to be found for while the algorithm change rolls out, whatever you whatever the case is, have something on deck have something in reserve that you can throw out there so that you can offset any potential loss of traffic at least temporarily.
Second, you want to monitor a lot of the web SEO forums that are out there, se Roundtable, blackhat world Search Engine Journal all these different blogs that cover the search engine space, the SEO space, pay attention to them, monitor them and see what other SEO professionals are saying about the changes and what they have in common typically, like Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Journal will publish a roundup of like these are the top 20 winners the top 22 losers of the most recent algorithm update and look for it look what’s in there.
What do they have in common are they The rich snippet sites are they review sites on a certain industry that will give you a sense of what the change is, and then help you start formulating a plan.
If your business permits, if you’re not solely relying on organic search or you know, like 80% of your traffic comes from organic search, then you want to ideally let the dust settle for a few days afterwards and let a consensus form among the SEO community about what the change might have been and what it impacted most.
So folks identify it’s clearly about Rich Snippets or it’s clearly about JSON LD or it’s clearly about inbound links from from malware sites, whatever the thing is, the community will take a few days to let the dust settle, see and tabulate the winners and the losers and then come up with responses to like, hey, this looks like these things changed.
So you want to make sure that You have enough flexibility and enough diversity in your in your traffic on your website that a major SEO hit at an algorithm change doesn’t hit your business too hard.
I remember back in the day when I worked at a financial services company 90% of one of our main websites, traffic came from organic search.
And when there was an algorithm change, we dropped from position one, position three and lost 70% of our revenue overnight.
That obviously, was a major strategic problem and kicked off a process of diversifying to different channels like business investing, right like financial investing, you want to diversify where you get your traffic from you wants from email from social for paid search, organic search for referral traffic, so that a major hit in one area does not completely take down your business.
So if you are feeling the effects of this, then you want to make that part of your plan.
How do you diversify If your traffic sources get traffic coming in from more and different places.
And finally, this stuff makes for great news.
It’s a lot of excitement.
It can be a lot of stress.
But remember that the ultimate direction Google is marching with all of its search updates is to deliver better quality results based on expertise, authority and trust, and relevance, freshness and diversity to its users, which means that ultimately, our big goal has not changed, which is right content.
That answers people’s questions and provides real value to them.
So that if search engines went away tomorrow, and all people had were links to our sites, they would still be able to find and find value in what it is that we have to offer.
So that’s the really the last word is keep continue.
To build great content, to answer search queries with expertise and authority, and if you took a hit this time around to what you can but keep building great content so that you eventually get to that endpoint of ranking well, when an algorithm update favors you.
So those are the four major things to do.
SEO is such an interesting marketing channel because it is, in some cases, something for nothing.
And it’s one of the few channels left whether that is a viable strategy somewhat but you are at the mercy of a third party and you’re at the mercy of a third parties machines.
And nobody including Google has any idea what the full model means.
Because it literally is hundreds of different search ranking factors put together in a in a deep learning model, which is not something you can disassembled able clue This is the most important thing.
That’s not how those models work.
So Do your best with what you can mitigate as possible and, and be prepared to spend some money.
If your business relies on search, organic or paid and and you take a hit like this, be prepared to spend some money to make up ground until things work in your favor again.
So that’s sort of the last word there.
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