If your blog is negatively impacted by a Google algorithm update, the sudden traffic loss can cause you to panic and fear the worst. Try taking these three steps to handle the Google update in a calm and rational manner.
Has Google become your arch-nemesis? 😡 It's hard to want to please Google and follow its ever-evolving rules and regulations when it knocks your side down a peg (or lots of pegs, in some cases) with an algorithm update.
I'd posted about this on Instagram, and figured it would make a good post with more detail.
What are Google algorithm updates?
Google's algorithm updates are significant changes to how Google's search algorithm operates at it's core. They're also referred to simply as “core updates”.
Google gives notice when these large changes are going to happen on their list of Google Search ranking updates. They usually roll out slowly over the course of a couple weeks.
These updates typically mean widespread sweeping changes in how Google is ranking websites, and how they are determining how helpful and reliable your content is to readers.
For food bloggers, this also means how well they deem your site is demonstrating your E-E-A-T.
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It's the set of guidelines that Google now uses to evaluate the credibility and quality of sites and the content they deliver to readers.
E-E-A-T was rolled out at the end of 2022 and now plays a central role in how content is “graded” with regard to their search rater guidelines as part of their core updates. Go ahead, click on the link to that PDF. That 176 page PDF that explains every single detail of the search result quality guidelines. I dare you.
How do I know if my site got hit by a Google update?
Generally speaking, if your website is affected by a Google core update, you will see:
- Traffic declining
- Rankings for pages or keywords declining
There could, of course, be other explanations for these types of drops in traffic or rankings.
Even the drop of a single page on your blog that typically brings in a large percentage of your site's traffic simply because it dropped from the number one spot in search results to number three can prove to be disastrous for your site (ask me how I know).
But if you think your site fell victim to a Google update, here are 3 ways to handle your SEO ✨frenemy✨.
1. No sudden movements
Much like doctors tell you not to make big life decisions right after surgery, don’t make big sweeping changes right after your site has been pummeled by a Google update.
It’s tempting to jump headfirst into a major overhaul project in a desperate attempt to regain your traffic.
Resist that temptation.
2. Do your research
Don’t make sweeping business decisions based on a comment you saw in a Facebook group. Actually research the update and its impact.
Always read Google’s documentation first, then check other reputable sources and experts.
Google doesn’t try to hide anything – what they’ve done and are looking for from you is all right there for you to read.
I mean, they're not going to reach out to you to schedule a coffee date and discuss what specifically on your site might be the issue. But that's why you need to follow the next step…
3. Analyze, audit, assess
Whatever you want to call it, now’s the time to really dig into your content. There are any number of things that could be hurting your reputation with Google – compare your posts to their documentation.
- Is it content length?
- Is it page speed?
- Is it keyword stuffing?
- Is it related to EEAT?
- It is your technical UX?
- Is it a complete and total mystery because you’re already awesome? (I mean, duh)
Remember these 2 things
- Even the industry’s top SEO experts don’t have all the information. They have highly educated and experienced guesses, and access to much (if not all) the same information that you do.
- Just because Google has “penalized” your site doesn’t mean your site is bad. Do your best to appease “The Google gods”, but don’t let it wreck you.
We’re all about bloggers helping bloggers here, so go ahead and send this post to a friend! ❤️
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