One of the most often asked questions by people starting their first website is, “How often does Google update their algorithm?”. The truth is that they are constantly updating their algorithm to do a better job ranking websites. In fact, according to Gary Illyes, webmaster trends analyst at Google, 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 track when major updates affect your sites. 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.
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 most prominent 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. To avoid being penalized, create content that real people will find helpful 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, tell Google to disavow it so you do not suffer a penalty. Likewise, ensure you always link to content your users will find helpful.
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 different words on your page that users might type in when looking for the content on your pages.
Possum– This update, 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 is to create a separate web page for each location you serve.
Mobile-friendly– This update prioritizes 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.
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 read Google’s Webmaster Central Blog regularly. 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 ensuring you do not end up in Google’s penalty box. In addition, build your trustworthiness by posting regularly on and off your site.
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