Monday, July 9, 2012

Handling Google Algorithm Updates

Back in April, Google rolled out major algorithm update dubbed the “web spam update,” also known as the “Penguin” update.  Most major algorithm updates cause heavy protest, but “Penguin” caused much more than just protest.  It caused panic amongst webmasters and SEO experts.  Weeks of speculation and worry over the idea of “over-optimization” penalties lead to lost traffic and revenue.  The impact of “Penguin” was not just immediate, but quite substantial. 
            So what does this all signify?  Should fear of all algorithm updates always remain in the hearts of webmasters and SEO experts forever?  Not necessarily, but Google certainly won’t be backing down on combating spam tactics any time soon.  Never fear, we have brought you some simple tactics for surviving updates of this magnitude and really any other update that Google unleashes:  
            First- Before completely panicking, take things one step at a time.  This is where you recite a positive mantra and take a deep breath.  Figure out the exact damage from the latest update.  See exactly where you sustained your losses by reviewing your analytics first.  Fully evaluating the damages should be one of the earliest and first steps you take.  Segmenting data will also help you assess exactly where you have lost the most traffic from.
            Second- Keep note of exactly when you saw major traffic losses.  If your traffic losses coincided with the algorithm update, then odds are the new update is the culprit.
            Third- Make sure that the problems you’re experiencing with your site aren’t just  technical issues.  Solving the wrong problem will not just cost you time, but it can end up costing you a ton of money.
            Fourth- Don’t necessarily start removing all of your links.  The links may not even be the root of your problems, so quickly removing all of them is only going to cause your traffic numbers to drop drastically.
            Fifth- If any of your posted links are considered low-authority or are suspicious in any way, shape or form, remove them.  Focus on positive link-building.
            Finally- Seriously examine your content and links.  If you remove your links, does your content still hold up and serve a purpose?  If it doesn’t, it should.  Don’t think of the task at hand to be a process of de-optimizing your page, but rather re-optimizing your content.  Now that is optimal!
            One of the most important things to realize about being hit by an algorithm update is that you can only fix what you’re able to fix.  Not every issue is solvable.  Figure out the “real” root of the issue and solve what you can.
            If you need some more guidance on the subject, contact us.  We are happy to help.

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