On September 27th, the SEO community saw an update of Google algorithm that made keyword rankings change drastically.
So nearly two months have passed since the Google Medic algorithm update (01/08/2018), Danny Sullivan – adviser at the search division of the company – who is helping people better understand search and Google better hear public feedback – has confirmed that the Google search engine has made a small algorithm update.
This update is enough for webmasters to see noticeable changes in traffic and keyword rankings.
I know you are expecting me to explain this algorithm update well, how to improve it & recover, even to develop more powerful website?
But perhaps, you will have to wait for the next article! In this article I will not give a specific solution to this algorithm.
By the way, even if we try to follow Google’s rules, it can be negatively affected by other things.
- What do we do when google updates?
- How to know the cause of website traffic drops?
- What steps should be taken to identify these causes?
Exactly, this article will cover: “What should you do when google updates the algorithm?”
1. Get the right source information
Right after the announcement of the updated google algorithm, there are hundreds, thousands of bloggers writing about it. However, not all of these sources are credible.
I do not say that these bloggers have bad intentions, but most likely they do not have accurate sources of information or perform incorrect test assignments to determine the effect of the algorithm.
Maybe you are wondering what sources we should monitor? To be honest, I think there are very few websites where we can trust and follow their instructions.
The following are four websites and are also the four main source of updates information, including:
Official Google Webmaster Central Blog is an extremely reliable source of information.
This is where Google technicians share official announcements when they want to publicly update Google algorithms. However, Google rarely shares details about any updates.
Next, the three remaining sources are:
This is where journalists and experts will post the latest information about Google and the search engines in general (including Bing, Yandex and other tools).
Blogs like these will provide information a bit later, but they will also often break down into sections, offer great tips and tutorials.
In addition, you also get useful tips for not only SEO & Digital marketing from these blogs.
2. Check traffic and keyword rankings
The quickest way to know whether you are penalized or not (or the only one who is penalized) is checking traffic and keyword rankings.
Note: If most of your pages are outside of the top 50, you may not see a big change in traffic, as these pages rarely get any traffic from Google.
However, in the opposite case, if the rankings of the keywords decrease, you will see that the traffic will also decrease in Google Search Console.
How to check traffic and keyword ranking?
- Check traffic & keyword rankings with Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a free webmaster tool provided by Google that allows you to monitor and manage your site.
Note: To apply this method, you need to install Google Webmaster Tools first. You can refer to this article to find out how to verify your site with Google Search Console.
Step 1: Log into Google Webmaster Tools, select Website > Performance
Step 2: Click on “Date: …” to select the time. After setting the date range, select Apply
Step 3: Scroll down, select “Page”. Select the Download button and select the file format you wish to export.
Here I would like to compare the change in the past two months. So I will choose between 07/09/2018 and 07/10/2018, and repeat steps 2 and 3 to get the data for 07/08/2018 to 07/09/2018.
Copy and summarize the parameters of these two periods into a single copy and conduct the comparison.
Here you will get total change statistics on each URL of the article about the click, impressions and position of that URL, which shows the increase in traffic and website rankings.
- Check traffic & keyword rankings with Ahrefs
Step 1: Go to Ahrefs, enter the website address, select Movement, you can export the file when you click Export button
Step 2: Export and download the file, you will get information:
+ Date: Time keyword changes rank
+ Previous Position: previous keyword rank
+ Current Position: Current keyword rank
+ Position Movement: Change rank
You only need to focus on the time after September 27 (algorithm update date) and the amount of increase / decrease traffic
Note: We only check Organic Traffic, not the general traffic. Google penalties for updates only apply to Organic search results. Therefore, traffic from PPC and Social Media channels is excluded from this traffic checking.
If the ranking drops significantly, you may already be penalized.
However, keep in mind that if you just drop a few rankings, the algorithm update might boost your competition. And so, we will have to take the next step …
3. Check carefully before doing anything
Make sure you have a thorough analysis before doing something like this: edit the website.
There are many people who have contacted me about how to handle the website after being penalized but they have not even considered whether their website is being fined or not!
One general rule is that we have to check website traffic regularly. It may be per week, per month, but you should monitor traffic on a regular basis. If traffic and rankings do not decrease at all, wait a while and then check back.
Of course, it is difficult to predict the future. Sometimes the rank / traffic will drop a bit, but then everything will return to normal. That is why we should not rush to edit the website without considering the comprehensive assessment and careful planning.
The worst is when you change everything on the website at the same time traffic has not changed and the ranking of the website is ok.
What I’m saying sounds obvious, but honestly, I have seen many cases where SEOer rushed to revise their website when they heard about the algorithm update without knowing their rank & traffic situation.
Have you heard about: algorithm updates affect website with density of keyword greater than 5%?
However, do not rush to start removing keywords in your articles, especially if your site is still ranked higher than the competition.
Because As a result of the change in the site, Google bot may be able to crawl the site more frequently and re-check your site.
So, even if you think it’s going to improve your content or your site, the result is likely to happen in the opposite direction – your site may still be down.
That is why you should try your best to avoid altering your content, as long as your website is ranked high.
4. Consult with experts
I will not introduce anyone in this section, nor will I be guided in choosing a good expert. You will have to research and find out for yourself!
The only advice I will give you is to follow step 3 (just above). – Check it carefully and do not rush to make a decision.
And what I’m going to say below will explain to you why you need an expert to restore an affected website after the update:
- Saving Time: An SEO expert and Google algorithm will always know what to do, prioritize it and have an effective way to handle it. From there, you can optimize website recovery time.
- Save effort: You do not have to worry about making mistakes or editing unnecessarily, which can be risky and harmful to the website.
- Save Cost: The longer your site is penalized, the more money you will lose! Even if you have to pay to hire an expert to fix the web, the end result you get will be worth the cost.
Using expert help is the best and most effective way to handle Google penalties.
If you have enough experience with SEO and want to handle your website recovery yourself, you should consult with a professional before embarking on any major changes to your site.
5. Audit website
Any restoration of a website after a penalty must begin with a website audit.
Whenever you notice a significant change in traffic or keyword rank then you should check the site, even if it is the 5th time of the year.
You will never know which plugin caused the problem or what the dev team has missed.
So, there are four things that you should consider when checking your website:
When launching the new updates, Google re-scans and re-checks the website. The old technical issues that Google has ignored (or have not figured out) before may be a cause for concern.
Do you confused Google with placing hreflang tags or canonical tags incorrectly?
This does not matter if your page load speed is 3 seconds and your competitor’s are 10 seconds.
However, if after scanning through the website, Google bot discovered your competitor with page speed is also 3 seconds, they even have better web structure, then you should proceed to optimize your website.
Backlink is always a concern problem. Even though Google says the Penguin 4.0 algorithm ignores bad backlinks, I still see a lot of recent stories about websites that are penalized after an SEO attack.
Related post: Guide to filter quality backlinks for SEO
Backlink issues will involve Footprint issues, including:
- IP duplication
- PBN with no traffic
- PBN with Whois duplicattion, Gmail duplication
- Sex, Gambling PBN
- PBN has a nasty theme (Google generally evaluates these PBNs to be manipulative to rank, not a website that provides useful value to users)
- Posts on PBN are copied from other sources
Content is a very important part of a website. So make sure you do not confuse Google with duplicate content, Meta Description tags, and Titles.
In addition, you should compare your content to the content of your competitors.
What can we improve? Any other topic your competitor has but you have not mentioned yet?
If your website has a little content, or only mention the products that your business is doing, Google will not favor your website!
Google appreciates websites that provide useful content to users.
In simple terms, besides mentioning the greatness of the product or service you are dealing with, the website should also focus on providing guidance to help users solve their problems.
d. User experience (UX)
Many recent updates and algorithms (like RankBrain) focus a lot on the user experience and how users interact with the site.
You can start by asking some friends to interact with your site. Then, give them the specific features of the website, but do not let them know the steps to use that feature.
For example, ask them to text your website, contact your company’s staff, send a message via the form, buy a product, or subscribe to a newsletter.
What you need to do now is give them the home page address, ask them to try out the features, and take note of the problems they encounter.
Also, make sure they do all of this easily on both Mobile and Desktop. Remember to pay special attention to mobile devices as this is a rapidly growing market.
You can also use tools like UserTesting to get input, or ask a UX expert to view a web page and give you useful tips.
6. Exclude the possibility that the website is affected by the update
If the decrease in traffic occurs immediately after the algorithm update is published, it does not mean that the update is the cause.
As mentioned earlier, during an algorithm update, Google may look at our site and look for some ambiguous issues.
This could also be a manual action, so check out Google Search Console. You will usually receive a notice of the penalty, the reason and some steps to fix it. After solving the problem, you can submit your site for review and re-evaluation.
In addition, it is possible for you to become a victim of an SEO attack. And more dangerous is that you will never know what’s going to hurt your site until you re-audit, and that’s why I recommend in section 5.
7. Website restoration strategy
Next, outline the plan. The key to successful website restoration is priority.
You can find many problems with your website, but if you start fixing things that are not so important, you will spend a lot of money, time and effort because they will not improve too much. And the final result is that the website rankings have not improved.
So, having a clear strategy is essential because it not only helps you make things faster but also more effective.
If you do not follow your website regularly, you will never know the cause of the penalty!
Once you have completed one step on the overall edit, take a moment to see if it works. Doing everything at the same time will not help you find the cause of the penalty, so you will not know what to avoid in the future.
8. Continue to implement SEO
In most cases (as long as the site is not completely deindexed), the best way to get rid of the penalty is to continue to do good SEO.
penalty is similar to obesity. If you gain a little weight each day, but you do not notice it, until one day, any mirror makes you realize that you are obese. Losing weight very fast is almost impossible. If you increase 10kg in a year, it is expected to take about 1 year to lose weight!
Trying to run 5 hours a day is ineffective because generally you will not be able to maintain it. Trying other negative ways, such as diet pills and a strict diet, can make us more troubled.
The best solution is to keep doing the right thing for a long time and the results will come. If you have followed my blog for a while, you should definitely know what the correct thing is. If you have not? Let’s check this article first!
To be honest, it’s hard to know whether your website can recover from a penalty – it may take 2 weeks or maybe 2 years. That’s why you should always follow Google’s rules.
For a sustainable development, follow the rules!
After the algorithm update, is your website affected by google? Do you see traffic fluctuations on your website? Has your website ever been penalized?
And more importantly, have your website ever recovered and become stronger after receiving the penalty? How can you revive your website after that update?
Share with me in the comment section below!
Image credits: GTV SEO, SEOCZar