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Navigating Google algorithm changes and their impact on your SEO

Surf’s up!

Here’s how your campaign can ride out the waves of Google algorithm changes.


  • Google changes its algorithm on a daily basis, but rolls out larger changes a few times per year.
  • These changes can hurt or help campaigns, seemingly at random.
  • There are a few things campaigns can do to ride out rankings changes.

From Google to Facebook, algorithm changes are just part of the digital marketing world. Yet, changes made by Google can have an immediate impact on your marketing campaign, either raising or lowering performance.

In this blog, we’ll talk more about what kind of changes Google makes, why they make them, and how to best adjust and ride out such “waves.”

Making waves

A useful analogy for Google’s algorithm changes is the ocean. Just like the ocean, the algorithm is always shifting and moving: the search giant has confirmed, after all, that they make about 1-2 algorithm changes every day throughout the year.

These are small waves. Some of them aren’t even felt by the ships on the surface, and—outside the analogy—don’t impact very many websites. It’s smooth sailing.

However, every now and then, Google introduces a much larger update. That’s what happened earlier this week. These changes are much larger waves and, depending on where you are in the ocean, they can certainly rock the boat.

Let’s break down what’s happening:

Why are these Google algorithm changes made?

Google’s search algorithm controls how websites are indexed, prioritized, sorted, and more. It’s essentially what makes Google search work. However, the team at Google is constantly finding ways to improve their algorithm. Hence, the updates.

As Google puts it, the algorithm updates are not about punishing certain sites, but instead are about finding ways to reward “pages that were previously under-rewarded.”
Google algorithm changes can impact your campaign. However, it can be difficult to determine what part of website performance is owed to the change.

What can I do to adjust?

The short-term answer is nothing. Google doesn’t publicly disclose what its updates consist of, why they’re made, or what sites they impact.

On your end, you may see a dip in site performance, but it’s hard to isolate the exact cause. For example, is it just business as usual? Seasonality? Bad weather? Or, did a Google algorithm change depress your site’s performance?

Google even notes that there isn’t much site managers can do to adjust for specific updates. In other words, you just have to ride out the waves as they come.

What about the long-term, big picture?

While Google doesn’t disclose the exact nature of its algorithm updates, it does provide managers with a long-term direction to move toward. Here’s where things that SEO experts recommend sites re-focus on:

Great content that works for both humans and robots: Google’s algorithm is smart enough to know when it’s being tricked by keyword spamming or other tactics. Google recommends that sites should have content and design focused on the user. If users like the site, the algorithm will, too.

Fast, mobile-friendly websites: We talked about this in a prior blog, but making sites great and fast for all devices is something Google consistently says is a plus.

Great listings and social media: Your local listings, reviews, and social media work in tandem with your website to produce great results for your campaign. If all three are run effectively, you’ll drive more visitors to your site.

To learn more about SEO and your campaigns, call us!

5 Fold Marketing provides digital marketing for a wide variety of businesses. We’re the experienced hands at the helm, guiding our client campaigns through the choppiest of (SEO) seas.

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