Even people who don’t work in the world of search engine optimization and only have a limited familiarity algorithm changes may start paying attention after a major update. This is because some have such significance that they are covered by major news outlets to help people know what’s different.
For example, experts at Google say that following a now infamous algorithm change called Panda, the practice of over-optimization, or the technique of peppering articles with strategic keywords is now no longer valuable, and may even cause pages to completely disappear from rankings. Beyond influencing techniques that search engine optimization experts used to get results, the Panda update also forced content writers to adopt new methods, particularly if they had gotten into the habit of favoring keyword usage over high-quality content.
Fortunately, instead of dwelling on the problems that updates caused and wondering what’s next, you can take a proactive stance and have a plan for action that begins immediately after a change has occurred.
Get Information From the Source
Misinformation is a constant problem after algorithm updates, especially since speculation often blends with actual facts, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. Rather than getting lost in special reports found on search engine blogs and news sites, go straight to the source. Websites like Google Webmaster Central are excellent whether you’re involved with creating content or helping it rank highly. There, you can learn about the reasons behind certain algorithm adjustments and how to comply with new rules. Sometimes you can even learn about changes on the horizon, making it easier to feel prepared.
Analyze Performance Trends
No matter which role you play in the Internet marketing world, it’s important to learn how to gauge statistics about user traffic and conversion rates. Failing to do so would mean that you’re never able to know with relative certainty that current methods are effective, or if it might be time to make a change. Also, it can often be difficult to adapt to new search engine algorithms right away, meaning that you’re more prone to suffering a penalty. As soon as you hear that a new algorithm is in effect, carefully monitor your statistics and look for sudden drops, because they may mean you’ve been targeted because of adherence to old guidelines.
Check to Make Sure Keywords Are Still Effective
Programs like Searchlight can help you easily identify keywords that are still performing well, and those that are no longer making an impact after an algorithm update. Get into the habit of using Searchlight or similar programs to ensure that even as algorithms change, you continue to use keywords that are in line with goals. This can help your content continually get traffic on article directories and social media websites because it remains relevant.
Keep an Eye on What Competitors Are Doing
Some people say it’s more important to focus on your own strategies rather than being too concerned with the tactics competitors are using. However, after an algorithm update you may get useful information by identifying some keywords your competitors became dependent on and running reports to see if they suffered a drop, or conversely, experienced a rankings boost after an algorithm change. This can help you shape your own methods moving forward.
Initially, algorithm updates can seem scary. However, since Google has repeatedly mentioned that they may carry out hundreds of updates on an annual basis, and other major search engines often follow suit, it’s necessary to understand how to react smartly, starting from the first day that a new algorithm goes into effect.
Colby Hetrick is an avid blogger. Want to get more online visibility for your business? Submit your site to Aviva to get more attention.