Managing search engine optimization (SEO) is challenging. You have to balance a lot of elements on the technical and non-technical side for your site pages and content to rank. You may outsource some of your SEO work to professionals because it’s tough to be competitive and very challenging without some external help.
When you aren’t ranking in Google, no one can find your business, which becomes a detrimental cycle of events that’s hard to emerge from.
Then, when you are finally building up some momentum as far as your SEO efforts, the last thing you want is something seemingly out of your control to derail you.
One thing that can impact your rankings of even your top-performing content is when Google rolls out a major algorithm update.
Google changes its search algorithm throughout the day every day, but you don’t necessarily know what these changes are or what the implications might be.
These are core algorithm updates.
These updates happen twice a day, and in one year, Google will launch hundreds of core updates.
Then, there is the more impactful Broad Core Algorithm Updates, which happen a few times a year and make big changes in the search results.
Each time Google makes a change to its algorithm, big or small, the company theoretically does so to improve the experience of people searching.
The overarching goal is always giving better and more relevant search results to queries that a user enters.
When there’s an update, your site may drop or go up. That doesn’t necessarily mean your pages or posts aren’t high-quality if your rankings go down. According to Google, they’re shifting things to focus on pages they describe as previously being under-rewarded.
It can feel like a massive hit to your traffic, and it often is. The following are things to know about Google updates and how to recover if one doesn’t go in your favor.
How to Recover From Google Algorithm Updates
More About Broad Core Updates
Unlike daily core updates, broad core updates have a broad impact. You can see changes in ranking positions for global sites, with the hope it’s improving contextual results.
There aren’t fixes if your site is hurt by a Broad Core Update, aside from improving the quality of your content.
A Broad Core Update doesn’t necessarily target a specific issue, unlike the updates rolled out daily. It’s more of an update that changes the holistic view of your site and its expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) as well as quality.
Because there are so many factors playing a role, it’s not possible for Google to really provide information about what you might be able to change in response to rankings drops from a Broad Core Update.
In general, any change to the Google algorithm is just a variation in how results are calculated and subsequently ranked.
There are sometimes updates to target specific issues and general changes and much less specific Broad Core Updates. When specific issues are targeted you can see some of your most significant declines in traffic if you’re affected.
What If You See a Sudden, Massive Drop
Sometimes you’ll some of your content drops after an update. Other times, it may be more significant and could affect nearly your entire site. If so, you should look closely at the SERPs, your technical SEO and your content.
Start by going to the search console to check for manual actions.
Ensure you don’t have any penalties. From there, check to see if your site has been hacked. If not, you should also check your link profile. If you have a lot of spammy links, irrelevant content, or disavows, it can be a problem.
If none of these more technical things seem to be an issue, research to see if you can figure out what issues the update was specifically targeting.
You should realize that if you lose traffic, you aren’t being penalized. You can improve the situation, but it can take work.
Audit Your Content for Quality
If you feel like you can safely say it’s not technical issues that lead to your rankings dropping, it’s a good time to start auditing your content. There isn’t going to be a quick fix for a rankings drop that significantly affects your site.
The only real way to recover is to be thoughtful about how much quality you’re offering with your content. Identify ways you can make it more valuable to your audience.
If you do anything at all to improve your SEO and rankings, let EAT drive it. EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This is especially relevant if you write content related to health or the medical industry.
Some of the things you can do relatively quickly to optimize based on EAT include:
- Be clear when you cite your sources. You want to make sure you’re only linking to credible sites with a good reputation. Along with the links for your sources, you should include credits for graphics too.
- Make sure all of your posts include an author bio. The author’s bio should highlight the writer’s credentials and expertise.
- Update your content frequently, even if it’s technically evergreen. You have to realize that facts can change, or new research can come out on a topic you’ve already written about. You want your content to reflect what’s currently happening. You never want stale content.
- Moderate user-generated content, like comments on your blog. Having users interact with your content is great, but not if all the comments are spam.
Finally, there are two more things to remember if you’re negatively affected by a Google update, or at least you think you are.
First, ask for help. Maybe you outsource someone to do technical analysis, for example, and see where you could make improvements.
The second big thing to remember is to look at the situation from a holistic perspective. Don’t get distracted by focusing too much on any one thing as you try to regain your footing. Google doesn’t look at things that way, and neither should you.