How Often Does Google Update Their Algorithm?

One of the most often asked questions by people who are starting their first website is “How often does Google update their algorithm?”. The truth is that they are always updating their algorithm so that they do a better job of ranking websites. In fact, according to Gary Illyes who is webmaster trends analyst at Google says that updates happen at least two to three times a day. While Google says that 95 to 98 percent of those updates are not actionable if you would like to know more about how Google algorithms work so that you may be able to do a better job with your rankings, then consider these facts.

How Do You Know When There Is Volatility in Algorithms?

It is relatively easy to keep track of when major updates are affecting your sites. In fact, there are several tools that you may want to consider using including:
  • MozCast: This web page gives a weather report showing turbulence in Google’s algorithm.
  • SEMRush Sensor: This web page provides a volatility index along with information on the volatility in search engine result page updates and the use of HTTPS.
  • US (.com) SERP Fluctuation: Gives you a circle chart comparing the current day to the last 30 days.
  • Algoroo: This web page studies the data for over 17,000 keywords to find volatility. In addition to volatility, they publish a list showing the largest winners and losers.

How Does Google Develop Their Algorithms?

Google hires raters to look at many different websites using published guidelines. Then, they collect this information and feed it into a computer. The computer changes the algorithm based on the data collected by the search raters.

What Are Some of the Major Algorithm Updates?

Google has produced several algorithm updates that are considered more important than others. Learning the basis of each one will assist you in avoiding being penalized.
  • Panda– This update from 2011 focused on penalizing content with weak content. Since that time, Panda has rolled into the core algorithm. In order to avoid being penalized, create content that real people will find useful and limit yourself to posting it on one site.
  • Penguin– This update was designed to stop spammy linking practices. You will want to find these in your Google Analytics program. Find the spammy ones and ask for them to be removed. If they are not, then ask for Google to disavow it so that you do not suffer a penalty. Likewise, make sure that you always link to content that your users will find useful.
  • RankBrain– Originally introduced as Hummingbird, the RankBrain update focuses on understanding user intent when they enter a search term into Google. The best way to cope with this algorithm is to make sure that you are using a variety of words on your page that users might type in when looking for the content on your pages.
  • Possum– This update that was originally called Pigeon, intends to show a user the best possible answers when searching for local content. One of the best ways to stay ahead of this one is to create a separate web page for each location that you serve.
  • Mobile-friendly– This update gives priority to websites when ranking them that are responsive. Almost half of all search traffic comes from mobile devices, so make sure yours loads quickly and is responsive.
  • Medic– This update is focused on meeting user intent by ranking highly authoritative sites written by experts in their field manner who are trustworthy. Keep authority, expertise and trustworthiness in mind when developing content for the internet.
Computer with Google search engine on the screen on a desk

How Can You Keep Abreast of Algorithm Changes?

Google sometimes announces information about algorithm changes. One of the best ways to follow these conversations is to regularly read Google’s Webmaster Central Blog. You can also discuss algorithm changes in the Webmaster Central Help Forum. The best advice on keeping up with algorithm changes is to not fret about them constantly. Instead, spend your time creating content that connects with users while making sure that you do not end up in Google’s penalty box. Build your trustworthiness by posting regularly on and off your site.