Google has always been a shrewd, dynamic company. They routinely change how they determine ranking factors in order to combat spam and improve the user experience in their search results. Sometimes these changes are drastic and impactful for webmasters.
However, the majority of updates are even more subtle. Certain changes can also go unnoticed entirely.
Some of Google’s algorithms updates are quite popular – some have almost reached iconic status (e.g., Florida, Panda, Penguin, RankBrain) – and have had a significant influence on the history of SEO and website rankings (and revenue).
It is important to track these updates for a couple of reasons. First, you have to know what Google is doing if you want to always be on their good side. Second, by understanding what type of changes are being made within the updates, we can make necessary changes on our end to keep up with the changes made by Google.
Why You Should Track Google Updates
Over the last couple of years, our industry has changed. Constant algorithm updates have made it harder for us to rank our websites, and when we do rank well, it seems as if their webmaster guidelines change again to render our efforts invalid.
This is part of why people have started tracking updates. Tracking updates allows you to stay ahead of the curve by being one step ahead.
Also, tracking Google Updates allow site owners to know how an update can affect their site, its performance, traffic levels, and rankings. It’s better to be aware of an update before it affects you than after the fact! If you don’t know when Google Updates happen then you’ll never know if your website has been affected by a recent algorithm update.
An algorithm change or update can either help or hurt your:
- Search ranking and visibility.
- Organic search traffic.
- Return on investment.
The majority of people believe that an algorithm is a system by which Google punishes websites.
However, algorithms are a way for websites to be rewarded for providing relevant content and a good user interface.
By tracking Google algorithm updates you can also gain a greater understanding of how search engine optimization works in general and how to make it work for you, just don’t get too obsessed about it.
So how do you track Google algorithm updates?
Where to Track Google Algorithm Updates
There are several excellent SEO blogs that cover all aspects of search algorithm updates.
However, here are a few resources you can use to stay informed about Google algorithm changes.
Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Journal (SEJ) is the most popular and authoritative source for SEO, digital marketing, social media, and web design trends. SEJ is also one of the most accurate sources of information on Google’s algorithm updates.
Search Engine Journal has a section that is solely focused on providing up-to-date information for Google algo updates. This will be especially helpful for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professionals and webmasters who want to know when and how Google has rolled out a new algorithm update.
Google Webmaster Central Blog
While there are a lot of great ways to stay up-to-date with Google algorithm updates, there is only one place where you’ll be able to consistently see every update as it happens — the Google Webmaster Central Blog. This should be your go-to resource for seeing every algorithm update as it happens.
The Google algorithm update tracker by Google Webmaster Central is an incredibly useful tool to stay on top of and track what’s going on with the Google algorithm. It helps both webmasters and SEOs keep up to date with any confirmed changes and outages. The best part is that it’s free and anyone can use it.
If you want to track Google algorithm updates, Twitter is the place to do it. There are a few accounts worth following to get the information you need.
One way to track these updates is through Google’s John Mueller who tweets out the major algorithm changes.
Also, Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) constantly monitors the news for algorithm updates. He comments on Google developments on a daily basis for Search Engine Roundtable; however, it contains a small amount of conjecture focused on industry gossip that sometimes amounts to little or nothing.
Tools to Track Google Algorithm Updates
Google is not a fan of third-party platforms that monitor changes to its algorithms. Indeed, some Google representatives have warned SEO practitioners that such methods are often unreliable.
Although this may be accurate, there are resources that will alert you to the possibility of an upcoming upgrade, prompting you to review your analytics. Several are discussed below:
Mozcast is a free tool from the SEO team at Moz that monitors the real-time changes in Google’s algorithm. It offers accurate predictions of when Google updates will happen, offers a good indication of when to expect large ranking changes in SERPs, and it can show you when something abnormal happens with Google — which could be caused by a major algorithm shift.
SEMrush Sensor is a powerful algorithm tracking tool. You can view ranking changes on desktop and mobile devices, as well as by device, SERP functionality, and location. Additionally, you can view the total SERP performance (as well as domain winners and losers) for the previous 30 days.
SEMrush Sensor provides a free, convenient way to keep up with the latest changes in Google’s ranking factors and algorithm and it saves you the time of having to go digging around for this information.
Rank Ranger Rank Risk Index Tool
Daily, the Rank Risk Index monitors SERP fluctuations for over 10,000 domains and keywords. It is one of the most effective methods for monitoring Google’s algorithm.
Additionally, Rank Risk Index logs changes to the SERP configuration and Google SERP features to ascertain if ranking variations are triggered by changes in the form or quantity of vertical search engine results (e.g., Images, News, Maps, etc.) that Google includes on page one.
Accuranker ‘Grump’ Rating
AccuRanker is a cloud-based technology that monitors local and global rankings on Google and Bing on a regular basis. You can monitor these astonishingly precise results in a variety of ways, such by keyword, postal code, county, or state.
AccuRanker’s ‘Grump’ Rating, which is used regularly by leading business analysts, identifies unrests in Google’s algorithm. The grumpier the mood, the more dramatic the variations in rankings. On Desktop or Mobile, you can track Google’s algorithm operation and display global results or results by country selection.
Algoroo is a performance analyzer for Google Algorithms developed by DEJAN. Additionally, it monitors the fluctuations of Google’s ranking changes for your website using an interactive tool. Additionally, the tool provides a comprehensive overview of modifications to SERPs.
Additionally, this tool tracks fluctuations for approximately 17,000 desktop and mobile keywords using a flux metric called ‘roo.’ Thus, a higher roo indicates greater uncertainty, whereas a lower roo indicates less fluctuation.
Advanced Web Rankings Google Algorithm Changes
Advanced Web Ranking is a unique product. As is the case for many of the best-optimized websites, it focuses on a single task – keyword rank monitoring – and does it incredibly well. However, this does not imply that it is lacking in features and functionality. Additionally, it includes advanced reporting and competitor analysis tools that enable you to benchmark and analyze the meaning of all that rank monitoring data.
As the application’s name implies, Advanced Web Ranking is very adept at ranking monitoring. Through simulating human search behavior and continuously updating search engine definitions, the platform produces findings that many marketers view as the most reliable in the industry.
This makes AWR the perfect platform for users who need regular rank monitoring. If you’ve just seen the results of a Google algorithm upgrade and your keywords have been bouncing all day today, this may be a very helpful tool.
AWR’s Google Algorithm Changes tool tracks 11,000 keywords and 500,000 URLs across a variety of industries to identify trends and position changes.
Panguin is a free tool created by Barracuda Digital to assist website owners in increasing their site’s perceived efficiency in Google. Considering the fact that Panda and Penguin look at different variables, but with the intention of evaluating the quality of your site, this tool is extremely beneficial in identifying places where your site can fall short.
While Panda evaluates your site’s content, Penguin evaluates your site’s publicity. The Panguin tool enables you to meet all of these criteria simultaneously, alleviating some of the burden associated with keeping current with Google’s constantly evolving SEO algorithms and preferences.
CognitiveSEO has a system called CognitiveSEO Signals that tracks the fluctuations of over 170,000 keywords. Additionally, they keep track of verified Google Updates in the past if you want to see a history of major updates.
Increased fluctuations in this tool do not actually indicate that an algorithm change occurred on that particular day until Google confirms it, but they do indicate that Google might be modifying minor items or that a major update is imminent.
What to Do After an Algorithm Update
Every so often, Google updates its algorithm and changes how your website ranks. After an update, it can be hard to know what you should be doing next for your SEO. Here are some tips on what to do after a Google algorithm update.
There are five points to always keep in mind after an algorithm update, whether confirmed or unconfirmed:
- Avoid panic.
- Ascertain that you were affected by the algorithm update and not by anything else (e.g., a website change, technical SEO issue, or manual action).
- Respond slowly – be patient and gather data.
- To gain insight and see what SEO experts are saying, read authoritative sources.
- Make required changes to your SEO plan and tactics.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving.
What affects your rankings today can change in a matter of days, weeks, or months.
Pursuing Google’s algorithm can be risky.
If you survive a significant Google update unscathed, rejoice!
If, on the other hand, your traffic and rankings decline, consider it a sign of good fortune. Google has discovered an issue with your website. Therefore, get to work on resolving it.
By always concentrating on the SEO fundamentals, you can minimize your chances of preventing a significant effect. Avoid shortcuts or spammy strategies that may yield short-term benefits but may result in long-term catastrophe.
You are much better off understanding your audience and developing content that establishes your authority, relevance, and trust.
Algorithm changes can have a widespread effect on your website traffic. Many different factors can affect the ranking of our site, and these factors are always changing. Don’t be hasty with your decisions so that you don’t make things more difficult than they are already.
While Google Algorithm updates are extremely common, it’s not always easy to keep track of the latest updates.
There’s a lot of speculation from SEO experts online, but there are also a few great tools that you can use to monitor Google Algorithm updates yourself and provide some clarity to potential algorithm changes each month, some of which have been covered in this chapter.
Although it is not necessary to monitor every Google update (especially given the hundreds of changes that occur each year), it is critical to recognize the major changes and adapt your strategy accordingly.