19th April 2023

What To Do When A Google Algorithm Update Occurs


Written By David Hutchison

19th April 2023

Google’s core aim is to deliver the most relevant search results to users. This means that it will constantly be updating its ranking algorithms and might adjust the ranking of your website if it feels your content matches or does not match a user’s search intent. Sometimes, the Google algorithm update will work in your favour, but there are times when it won’t. Regardless of whether it does or doesn’t, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

How Often Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

 

Sadly it’s not an exact science. In 2022 alone, Google released 10 overall updates, in some cases more than one in the same month. Google didn’t release any updates in June 2022, but released two in June 2021. There are ways to use Google Search Console and other tools to gauge when a ranking update may be occurring but once they are officially confirmed by Google, it will appear on Google’s Search Updates List.

How To React When Google Algorithm Updates Rank You Higher...

 

1. Understand Why Your Ranking Has Increased

Different core algorithm updates have different purposes. Some can focus on product reviews, some will focus on websites that provide helpful and valuable blog content. Whatever the main focus of the latest specific core update is, Google may mention it in their search updates list. Sometimes it requires a bit more detective work to ascertain what the focus was.

 Google search status dashboard.

2. Identify Specific Pages Or Sections That Ranked Higher

There might be sections of your site that have increased in ranking. Identifying these and understanding the content on the pages will give valuable insights into what your site does well. Utilising the performance report in Google Search Console allows you to see top performing pages. Marry this up with increased keyword positions in SEMrush and you can find what pages and content Google liked.

Google search console performance report.

3. Bask In The Glory

There is more and more high quality content being produced by websites every day, meaning that ranking higher on Google is more challenging than ever. When it does happen, take the win and look for opportunities to rank even higher (or let us look for you!). With A.I generated content now also in the mix, Google still sees quality content as quality content, whether it was written by A.I. or a human. That being said, there is sometimes a certain tone of voice that someone with experience can only hit and A.I cannot.

How To React When Google Algorithms Rank You Lower...

 

1. Understand Why Your Ranking Has Decreased

Similarly to above, understanding what the latest core algorithm update focused on can help you understand what you need to improve on. If it’s mentioned by Google, solving issues can still take time and may even require some web development to fix issues.

Perhaps Google focused on page structure and up to date content. When was the last time your blogs were updated across your site? Do they have an assigned author? Do they have appropriate and descriptive H1 tags? These are all things to consider.

2. Don't Be Too Reactive

Google algorithm updates can take up to 2 weeks to fully roll out, therefore your rankings may fluctuate while Google completes this. Making changes too early might harm your rankings even more than Google would have done by the time the update was complete.

Google isn’t perfect and even admits itself that it can sometimes get it wrong. This means that while it could reduce your rankings in the first week of the update, it could recover them in week 2.

3. Find Specific Pages Or Sections That Ranked Lower

Again identifying what sections of your site dropped in ranking can provide valuable information about what you need to improve on (according to Google). Using the pages report in Semrush, you can see what specific pages have increased their traffic and google ranking between certain date periods.

Semrush page report

4. Double And Triple Check Using Different Resources

There are so many ranking tools out there, including Google Search Console, Moz, Ahrefs, Semrush and more. Sometimes using more than one can provide a more accurate picture than any one source can provide.

It’s not enough to look at the overall insight pages on these tools. Using elements such as filters to look at your top 10 positions, which specific keywords have declined etc. are a great way to segment the wealth of information that Semrush can give you.

Semrush overview filters.

There are far more best practices when reacting to google algorithm updates, these are just the beginning. It’s important to always keep an eye on Google’s own resources, Semrush and other keyword monitoring tools to monitor when potential algorithm updates are occurring and get an idea of what Google is focusing on at that time. Get in touch with our digital marketing agency to help optimise your website and boost your organic rankings.