SEO Algorithm Change Lessons from Past Updates

SEO—search engine optimization—is critical to the success of your website. Simply put, it is the thing that determines if customers will find your site at the top of the list when they search online for your services, or if your site will end up buried on page three of the search results—where few people are likely to click. Most people know that SEO is essential, but it can be difficult to succeed at because SEO is not static. What search engines and SEO algorithms view as optimal content changes over time. This means that your previously highly ranked site could suddenly tank overnight.

SEO algorithm changes still strike fear in the hearts of many digital marketers. The good news is that, after multiple rounds of algorithm changes, we have learned smart strategies for minimizing the impacts of these changes. Keep these lessons in mind as you work to maintain good SEO on your site.

Lesson: Most SEO algorithm changes won’t impact you.

Do you tend to wring your hands over algorithm changes? It might surprise you to know that search engines are almost constantly tweaking their SEO algorithms. Google tends to change these algorithms hundreds of times per year, and in most cases, you won’t notice. Major updates, which have names like Panda and Penguin, are publicized. You’ll know when they’re occurring and why the updates are happening. Don’t focus on trying to change with every little algorithm tweak. Unless you see a precipitous drop in traffic out of the blue, focus on long-term goals and maintain your site quality to stay on the right side of the algorithm.

Lesson: Understanding why algorithms change will help you survive major updates.

Search engines tweak algorithms for one reason: to ensure users get the most accurate search results. Anything that makes the user experience on a site less than outstanding is likely to be the target of an SEO algorithm update. For instance, oversaturation of keywords, too many ads, duplicate content, and users who click on your site but don’t stay are all red flags for search engines. Sites with these issues have been penalized during past algorithm changes, and search engines are always looking for the next poor experience. With your SEO strategy, focus on creating excellent, unique content for a well-designed, engaging site. Focusing on the user experience will insulate you from being demoted during an algorithm update.

Lesson: Know when you’ve been penalized, and why.

If you experience a large drop in traffic that doesn’t rebound, then it’s likely the result of an SEO algorithm change. You can recover, as long as you know why it happened. Information about algorithm changes is widely available online. Research what kind of content was impacted, and if your site has similar content, update it. Google has a Webmaster Tools platform, which will highlight the exact issues it sees with your site. Fix these problems, and your site will recover its former glory.

At Pennington Creative, our digital marketing experts and content writers are always up to date on the latest trends in SEO and algorithm changes. We can help you ensure your site stays at the top of the rankings, where it belongs. Contact our digital marketing team today to find out how we can help your brand.

About the Author

Heather - Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting
Heather McDonald

Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting