Have you witnessed some turbulence in SEO over the past couple of weeks? Well, if yes, do not panic. It is just the new Google algorithm update making rounds.
As March 9th 2018 was the date we witnessed a lot of changes and as Google also has refrained from giving this particular Google algorithm update a name, let us name this update as “March 9”.
So, the last month has really been crazy. Isn’t it?
You have now already seen important Google algorithm updates on the 9th, 14th and the 23rd of March 2018.
Looks like Google is tweaking several things and you are likely to see much more turbulence over the next few weeks.
As updated on 20th March 2018, Google has confirmed that a new Google algorithm update was rolled out on 7th March 2018.
Of late, Google does not confirm algorithm updates.
However, Google did confirm that last month they have made a major alteration to their core quality algorithm.
While some marketers are thrilled to see incredible improvements on their websites, there are others who are not too excited.
This is because some sites which received a hard blow by the Google algorithm update that came on 7th Feb 2017 are still slowly recovering.
Well, this was bound to happen as that particular update primarily focused on demoting websites without a good Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust – let’s call it “E-A-T”.
So, the sites that got hit by this update have been constantly working on their E-A-T and have also seem to have witnessed noticeable progress.
Next, there are also some e-commerce sites, which have constantly been working on improving their content.
When these sites got link audit done, they witnessed a remarkable increase with the Penguin 4.0, a few years later.
Even these sites witnessed tremendous increase on the 9th of March 2018.
So, we can attribute this increase to the site quality rather than the links.
There are some eCommerce sites which are loaded with numerous quality issues.
When such sites carried out canonicalization and removed a lot of thin content along with other changes, it helped them to work their way up the ladder.
Next, there were websites, which had a set of serious user frustration issues, problems with the ads and notable E-A-T issues.
These sites worked hard to fix these issues and their sites have now improved dramatically.
The results are showing!
There are several websites which saw modest or good gains since 9th March 2018 update.
What Does Google Say About the 9th March Google Algorithm Update?
Well, Danny Sullivan – the new Google Search Liaison – said this (refer the image below) about the changes:
Although Google keeps making several trivial changes day in and day out, they make changes like this particular one every now and then.
There are interesting tweets like these, where Google tells us that Google has many other ways to identify top-quality sites.
Danny also confirmed yet another fact, which all of us are already aware.
That is, Google pushes important Google algorithm updates a few times every year.
Danny also added that this update was a much broader generic change to core algorithm.
And finally, he shared the fact that Google will not be giving any name to this particular algorithm.
So, it will be interesting to wait and watch what name does the search community gives, if at all it gives any name to this Google algorithm update.
After all, this is one of the biggest Google algorithm updates we have witnessed.
Which Were the Sites That Got Hit by This Google Algorithm Update?
The interesting fact is that, so far we have only come across big wins with very few obvious losses.
Well, as told by Danny, this Google algorithm update was not designed to punish the websites, but it was developed to benefit high quality websites.
Having said that, those websites which are witnessing losses are certainly not experiencing this across the board.
Rather, these websites are just losing one or more positions on some particular keywords to the websites which were recognized by the Google algorithm update as having higher quality.
We also invested some time to review the last few posts over the past 24 hours across the Google help forum.
To our surprise, we did not find anyone who were complaining about their site being negatively impacted by this algorithm change.
However, if you were negatively impacted, then please feel free to leave a comment below.
We would be happy to hear from you.
What Should You Do If You Were Negatively Impacted by 9th March Google Algorithm Update?
As described by Danny Sullivan, this is certainly not the situation where the websites are demoted.
However, it is also not the kind of situation where you can fix the issues and then wait to witness the improvements.
The dips being seen are most probably due to the qualities recognized by the Google in one or more of your competitors.
So the best way to recover if you are hit by this update is to not make any efforts to recover. But wait. . .
You can certainly find ways to improve your website such that it becomes the best option for the search users.
We have put together our suggestions on how to make such improvements.
Please make some time to take a look at the following:
Begin with a Thorough Site Audit
Although it is not known whether this update focuses on any sort of technical issues, multiple technical issues will only frustrate users.
The best things to look for would be issues with page speed, redirect loops, broken links etc.
These are the things that have to be fixed immediately.
Revisit the Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG)
Well, the QRG is 160 pages long, but it is certainly worth reading through.
These guidelines explain Google Quality Raters the ways to determine which are the websites that are high in quality.
So, if a particular website has E-A-T issue, then you will be able to find pages and pages of what is considered as high E-A-T by the Google.
You will also be able to find information on which are the ad types that are considered annoying and what are the types of pages that are regarded as low or high in quality.
However, if you do not have the time to go through the guidelines completely, then you can refer this write up on Quality Raters’ Guidelines. It can be helpful to you.
This book quickly summarizes all the important points and also provides you with a checklist, which enables you to check the overall quality of your websites.
Get Someone “Not-So-Familiar” with Your Website to Do Competitor Analysis For You
When you or your staff who are well aware of your website carry out a competitor research, it is difficult for you to assess your website and determine whether it offers good user experience or not.
So, just get an actual user out there to determine whether your site is the best when it comes to user interaction.
Get your volunteers to look at two different competitor sites, which are ranking well, along with your site.
Next, ask them which one would they prefer or which is the site that they are likely to buy from.
If they often end up not choosing your site, then try and figure out what is stopping them to go with your website.
You can also evaluate what is it that you would want to add to your web pages in order to make the users buy from your site.
Try to create a buying guide, add product reviews, add a video or do anything that assists the users in their buying journey.
This will help you to make extremely good user experience making your site stand out from the rest.
Well, if you are not an eCommerce store, even then there are many things that u can do.
You can try experimenting with your content or add new tools, images and videos to your pages.
This will help your users to get more information on the topic they are looking for.
If you are planning to improve the quality of your site, then it is important for you to note that, your aim should not be merely to be just a little bit higher than your competitors.
The aim here will be to provide the best user experience.
After all, Google always ranks the sites that are truly the best choice of the users, which are extremely user friendly.
So, the websites that experienced great improvements with this update are the ones that worked extremely hard to improve the overall quality of their website.
Knowing and manipulating a couple of SEO tricks and loopholes to rank higher is a thing of the past.
That is just not the scenario today.
With every update, Google is getting better at fixing loopholes, which do not actually improve the user experience.
What About the Link Quality?
At this point, it does not look like this particular update is related to or focuses on any kind of link quality.
This is mainly because, the new update is a boosting algorithm.
It is certainly not an algorithm which demotes a particular site for having unnatural links.
So, by any chance if you are hit by this update, then doing extra modifications will certainly not help.
With back to back Google algorithm updates, it can be taxing at times for the marketers to maintain a stable ongoing pace.
If the frequent updates in Google algorithms are giving a nasty blow to your website, just remember there are multiple ways to recover.
So, should you always go ahead and keep trying new SEO tactics and keep implementing new tricks to stay on top?
Well, that would be certainly a wrong way to go about.
Having said that, the best approach would be to just focus on making user experience better without doing excess unwanted modifications to your website.
After all “less is more” in today’s SEO.
What to do After a Major Google Algorithm Update?
Major Google algorithm updates are often stressful, we know it.
Well, the important point to note here is, you never really get a detailed “to do” list of the modifications from the Google.
So, panicking for something you know very little about, particularly at the beginning, is just a waste of time and efforts.
Before, you decide to go ahead and make some changes, just sit back and check whether the update has affected you in any negative way.
If not, then refrain from the thought of doing any modifications.
Besides, if you are already doing search engine optimization the right way, the chances of your site getting negatively impacted is almost zero.
If you find your website suffering due to a specific update, just reach out to credible sources and make relevant adjustments only where it is necessary.
First, understand what the Google algorithm update was meant to be or what was it all about. This gives you a clear picture about the update and help you to evaluate your website accordingly.
Remember, careful evaluation followed by minimal necessary modifications can work wonders.
Share Your Experience
Has your website seen a negative impact due to this update?
Then please feel free to leave your comments below in the comments section.
We would be happy to here from you.