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Google's August 1st 'Broad Algorithm Update'

Profile image for Tom Crewe

Google’s public liaison of search, Danny Sullivan, officially announced on Twitter earlier this month that a broad algorithm update, which happens several times a year, has now been released.

Whilst Google makes several minor tweaks to their algorithm every day, these larger, broad algorithm updates are far rarer, and can have a huge impact on the ranking of sites across the world. You only need to take a look at the discussion thread on Google’s algorithm update announcement Tweet to see that people aren’t too happy with this update, and I think the real frustration here comes from not knowing specifically what Google have changed.

 

 

At Adido we haven’t seen any significant drops in rankings or traffic for any of our clients, but webmasters across Twitter are reporting losses of traffic as high as 70%! The frustrating thing about this update is that Google have stated that web pages which aren’t performing as well since the update don’t necessarily have anything wrong with them, it’s just that the changes to the algorithm are benefitting other sites which are rising up the rankings, therefore knocking certain sites down a few places.

 

The difficulty with a core broad update is that it’s not the same as other named updates which are designed to target a specific issue. For example, the Penguin update was designed to target link spam, which gave SEO’s a clear indication of what they needed to do to secure their place in the SERPs. However, core updates don’t target one specific thing and are most likely a restructuring of the existing ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, adding more importance to certain factors and decreasing the importance of others, therefore webmasters must work much harder to pinpoint where their website is lacking.

 

So, what do we do about this latest algorithmic update?

Essentially, for SEO’s it will be business as usual following the latest algorithmic update, as we continue to try and hit as many of the ranking factors as possible. A continued effort to create high quality content and doing all the things we know work already such as improving site speed, fixing broken links etc. will still be the main strategy. However, if you have seen your competitors shoot past you in the rankings then it’s time to do some hardcore competitor research. Dive in and see what they are doing which perhaps you aren’t. Are their meta titles, H1’s or URLs better optimised? Do they have a secure website and you don’t? Is their site architecture simpler to navigate? Finding the answers to these questions might just instruct your own SEO strategy going forward.

 

If your site has been negatively affected, try not to panic just yet. Sometimes these updates take a while to settle down and even with the masses of testing Google does, things can go wrong, so they will be tweaking the algorithm to make sure they get it right. Just keep testing, keep optimising and keep a keen eye on your competitors going forward.

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