It’s no secret that Google updates its algorithm all too often. Some experts claim that they update their algorithms as many as 500-600 times a year, which is more than an update a day. Some updates make headlines when they affect a lot of websites, while most don’t.
But no matter what update Google makes to its algorithm, or how many they make, all marketers need to stay on top of their game and ensure that they do whatever they can to not lose visibility online. After all, more traffic to the site will ultimately lead to more leads and hence more business.
So if your organic traffic is suddenly lower than usual, first thing you need to understand is if this was caused because of some Google algorithm update, or if it was because of something else.
There are a ton of different reasons why your site might get hit, but here are some basic things you can do to understand if your site has been hit by one of the Google algorithm updates.
Check Warning from Google
In order to do this, you need to have a Google Webmaster account for your site.
If you received an unnatural links or artificial links notice from Google that they have detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, then chances are that you’re hit by one of the Google algorithm updates. Or maybe Google detected activity that doesn’t meet their guidelines and decided to take a manual action on your site. Regardless, you’re hit and need to work on getting that resolved.
Check Your Traffic
In order to do this, you will need to have analytics (such as Google Analytics) installed on your site.
If your traffic pattern shows that the organic traffic had a sudden dip on a particular day and hasn’t recovered after, chances are you were hit by one of the Google algorithm updates. Check the known algorithm update dates and see if it coincides. If you find a match, you’ve found the update that affected you.
But remember, you must look for a sudden steep dip that doesn’t recover. If your traffic is going down gradually, it’s more likely that you were not hit by an algorithm update, but are instead lacking in your inbound marketing efforts to keep up with the competition. This is important as you want to solve for the right problem.
Check Your Keyword Ranks
In order to do this, you may want to use some keyword rank tracking tools.
If your top performing keywords are losing search engine ranking or, worse, have completely disappeared from the search results, chances are you were hit by an algorithm update.
Penguin or Panda – Does It Matter?
It absolutely matters. Once you’ve determined that you were hit by a Google algorithm update, you want to understand what actually caused the problem so that you can devise a solution to fix the issue. Panda and Penguin are completely different kinds of updates that affect different SEO tactics and need different solutions to recover.
Some of these issues definitely need more involved approach to find the right solution and it doesn’t hurt to get help from people who know what they are doing. Even if you’re not yet hit by the algorithm updates, you should consider reviewing your online marketing strategy to ensure that you’re focusing on right things to get the best results instead of worrying about when you will get hit by one of these updates.