Digital Insights

4 Ways to Avoid the Pain of Search Engine Algorithm Updates


Published: August 29, 2014

How well your website fares in the organic search engine rankings is largely dependent on your ability to adapt your strategies to Google’s constantly changing rule book of acceptable SEO techniques. Be forewarned: just trying to stay abreast of the more than 500 algorithm updates that Google makes each year can be a full time job in itself.

The more dependent your business is on organic search traffic, the more important it is to stay on top of the latest algorithm updates if your business is to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Start Working Smarter by Getting Your Website Google-Compliant
Many of Google’s updates are actually minor tweaks and adjustments to existing updates that have already rolled out. Conduct regular audits of your website and SEO strategies to ensure that you have met all of Google’s existing standards before the next update is released. If you use a third-party SEO agency or consultant, make sure that they are using only “white hat” techniques to rank your website.

  • Your content needs to unique. Google hates duplicate content and will penalize your site accordingly. If you lack the time or writing ability to create fresh and original content on at least a monthly basis, you need to find a dependable outsourcer who can be entrusted with the job.
  • The more helpful your content is the better. People use the search engines to get their questions answered and to find solutions to problems that they are experiencing. If your content isn’t providing real value, there is little reason for Google to refer users to your site.
  • Remove any junk back links to your website. These are links from spammy third-party sites that have little real content of their own and no relevance to your industry or niche. Google expects nothing less than relevant links from authority sites that you have “earned” by marketing great content.
  • Clean up your anchor text. This is the text contained in your back links that connects readers to your site. Avoid “keyword stuffing” by using your branded terms, and make sure that your anchor text is well diversified to give your link profile a “naturally occurring” appearance.

The Best Tools for Tracking Google’s Algorithm Updates
If you’re already following accepted SEO practices, you probably won’t notice any changes to your search engine rankings when a new algorithm update rolls out aside from minor traffic spikes. When these algorithm changes occur, you need to know exactly what the new guidelines are so that you can make any necessary adjustments to maintain your rankings and website traffic.

Source is one of the best sources for up-to-the-minute information about the current state of SEO. Their free Google algorithm change calendar includes a summary of every update since 2000, with links to detailed articles about each update and the best compliance methods.

Mozcast provides a helpful snapshot of possible changes occurring across the SEO landscape. Every day, they check the rankings of 1,000 select keywords and compare the results with past performance.

The Google Webmaster Central Blogspot provides valuable information about algorithm updates as well as general SEO tips and useful new tools.

Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s webspam team and has his own blog which you can access at His insight into new algorithm changes is invaluable, and he sometimes provides information about new updates before they roll out.