What Should You Do When Google Releases Major Algorithm Update

When Should You Be Concerned About a Google Algorithm Update?

Google has released an update to their search engine algorithm! But what does a Google Algorithm Update mean for your business? Don’t panic, Bob and Jesse are here to help you understand how to learn what’s different after the update, and how to use a variety of tools to address changes in your SEO and search engine rankings!

Also, we’re looking for listener feedback on our upcoming SEO courses. Visit us at localseotactics.com/courses to take an extremely brief survey regarding what sort of courses you would be interested in, and also take advantage of the opportunity to sign up to be a beta student for our courses! Take part in shaping these learning tools, and take advantage of learning more for yourself to help your business thrive.

Check out this episode today! Thanks for listening.

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What you’ll learn

  • The importance of taking notice when an algorithm update happens!
  • Using PageOptimizer Pro to get an idea of how the landscape looks after an algorithm update.
  • How long after an algorithm update do you want to wait before reacting to changes?

Here is the Transcript for Episode 83

Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome to another episode of Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I am your producer, Caleb Baumgartner. And in this episode, Jesse and Bob explore Google algorithm updates, what does this mean for your business, and what should you worry about how the updates affect your SEO? Bob and Jesse have these answers and more.

Also, if you’re interested in contributing to our upcoming SEO courses, visit us at localseotactics.com/courses to take a brief one-question survey, and you’ll even have the opportunity to sign up as a beta student for our courses. Thank you for listening and enjoy the program.

Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, here with Bob Brennan.

Bob Brennan: Howdy.

Jesse Dolan: How’s it going today, Bob?

Bob Brennan: Excellent. How are you doing?

Jesse Dolan: Not too bad. Staying warm inside. Looking forward to spring. We’re again-

Bob Brennan: Spring is near.

Jesse Dolan: It’s late February here, getting into early March coming up, and after the blast we’ve all had, it’s welcome. Very welcome. And such a Midwestern thing to always comment on the weather, right?

Bob Brennan: That’s our big cross that we bear, right?

Jesse Dolan: It is.

Bob Brennan: It’s the weather.

Jesse Dolan: Before we jump into the episode here today, do you want to mention everybody like we do? If you haven’t checked out our Free Instant SEO Audit Tool online, go check that out. You can run your page, plug in your keyword, plug in your page and click the button. It’s going to run a quick audit for you to tell you: is your page optimized for this keyword? What’s good about it, what’s bad about it? It gives you a quick punch list of things to fix. And the feedback we get on this thing, it’s super handy. There’s a ton of tools out there.

If you’re looking kind of, “Where do I start optimizing or how do I kind of know what to do on my page?” Check this out. It’s totally free. You can use it as many times as you want. LocalSEOTactics.com. Just look in the top right corner, a yellow button, Free Instant SEO Audit. You can run your page on this. I don’t think I’ve said for a while too. It’s page by page, right? You’re not looking at your site. You’re looking at a particular page. If you’ve got multiple keywords you’re trying to rank multiple pages for, you’re going to want to run this on each page. Check it out.

Though you can do that on your site, if you’ve got a competitor that’s ranking and you want to try to reverse engineer them a little bit, you can run it on theirs too. It doesn’t have to be just on your site. So, LocalSEOTactics.com, Instant SEO Audit. Take advantage of that.

With that, what we’re going to be talking about here today, Bob, is SEO in general, right? But there was recently a Google core algorithm update, a couple of weeks ago, that got pushed out. And whenever that happens, at least within the industry, for everybody who really pays attention to what Google is doing and how does it impact SEO, it always sends shock waves. Whenever Google is like, “Hey, we did a core algorithm update or some big update,” everybody kind of freaks out like, “What’s that going to do? Is my website going to tank in the rankings?” And sometimes people actually get a boost the other way.

Because usually when Google is doing an algorithm update, they’re trying to improve the search results. We’ve talked about it sometimes. We all take for granted nowadays. I mean, I don’t know, Bob, maybe we’re going to check this out, but is there billions, if not trillions, of web pages out there that Google is aware of it as index, and we sit down and we do a quick search on a keyboard and it guesses like, “Here’s the top 10 you were looking for.” Which is pretty amazing. Pretty amazing thing, how quick that happens and how good they are at guessing. So, when they push out an algorithm update, the really kind of behind… the reason for it is they’re trying to make that better, they’re trying to make that guess better, so we get the relevant things that we’re looking for.

As an SEO, when you’re trying to play that game and position your site and your pages to rank high, if you ever catch wind that there’s been an algorithm update, you should take notice. If you’re doing things the right way, if you’re not doing black hat, if you’re not being super spammy, usually an algorithm update isn’t going to hurt you. It may actually help you usually, but don’t be asleep at the wheel whenever you hear that kind of news.

Today we’re going to talk about some things that you could do and should do when you catch that news. First things first, this topic was really triggered by Kyle Roof of PageOptimizer Pro. We did an interview with Kyle-

Bob Brennan: He’s good.

Jesse Dolan: … a number of episodes back. Yeah. Awesome. Man, one of the smartest dudes in SEO right now. If anybody listening hasn’t heard of him or checked him out, two things, one, go LocalSEOTactics.com. Check our previous episodes. We’ve got an interview with Kyle about how Google works versus how we think it works, and talking about his PageOptimizer Pro tool that he invented, which we’ll talk about here more. And then in general, just check him out and follow him. He’s a wealth of knowledge as it relates to Google algorithms, what Google is looking for and things like that.

We are a big user, and also an affiliate, for PageOptimizer Pro. And what I mean by that, to be transparent with everybody, is we use it. That’s one of the tools we use for executing SEO. It’s also something that we recommend everybody else to use. Being an affiliate, if you go to our LocalSEOTactics.com, and we’ll put a link to it also in the show notes of this page, but if you go to our resources page, you’re going to be able to click on the PageOptimizer Pro link right there, and you’re going to get a discount if you sign up for PageOptimizer Pro. We get a few bucks if you do it, it doesn’t cost you anything.

But if you’re interested in the tool, it helps the show out a little bit. We get a few bucks in our pockets. You’re going to get a discount on PageOptimizer Pro, and then you’re just going to crush your results if you’re using PageOptimizer Pro, which we’ll kind of… that’ll be the last chunk of the episode here.

The point on that is, after the last algorithm update, Kyle put together an email, blasted it out to PageOptimizer Pro subscribers, saying some of the things we’re going to talk about here. So, giving credit where credit is due, this is not a topic that Bob and I kind of masterminded on it. It was really based on the email that Kyle sent out for PageOptimizer Pro saying, “This is super great insight. People need to hear this and know how to react for an algorithm update.”

When Google does the algorithm update, like we’re talking, there’s something that happened at the search engine results page, right? Maybe there was somebody that wasn’t number one that got kicked off the page. Maybe there was somebody further down the page and they kind of weeded out some results. Whatever it is, odds are, there’s some kind of impact for some of your keywords whenever Google pushes out a core algorithm update like this.

Now, they’re constantly doing algorithm updates with their machine learning and AI, Google’s constantly evolving. Years ago, there would be big announced updates that they would do. We’ve all heard the Panda, Penguin, and just names that we put on these algorithm updates. There’s little changes happening all the time, but whenever they come out and say that they did put out a core algorithm update, that’s the ones you really need to take notice on.

Take your keywords that you’re trying to be ranked for, that you’re monitoring, do some searches. Number one, of course, Bob, like we always tell people: monitor your own rankings, of course. We did the episode a while back about checking it on mobile devices, manually, use keyword trackers, do all these things. But when you catch wind of an algorithm update, go check your rankings, first and foremost, because the rankings are kind of important for your website and for SEO, right? That’s kind of the core thing we’re focused on here.

Also, you want to check what your competitors are doing. Maybe there’s some competitor that you’ve been just trying to dominate, see what happened to their ranking. Did they go up, did they go down? How did that impact that? And develop a strategy for yourself. If you need to fix anything, start putting some work in and some ideas on how to fix it.

Going back to PageOptimizer Pro, if you’re using that, that would be something to immediately do. And that was kind of the crux of the email that Kyle sent out is the way PageOptimizer Pro works is it’s going to check, let’s just say, the top 10 competitors for that search, for what keyword and what market. It’s going to take the top 10 competitors and compare it against your page you’re trying to rank, and it’s going to tell you, what are they doing that you’re not, which effectively means what does Google like about these pages and what are you missing?

If there’s a core algorithm update, run your page through POP and see what the results are. There may be some new competitors that are on those results that if you did this three months ago, the results are changed. Google has decided it’s going to favor something else. If you’re using PageOptimizer Pro, that process becomes very easy because you can just run it through the tool. It’s going to find the competitors, any competitors change, “Here’s the recommendations.” And then you, as an SEO, are going to have to take those recommendations and apply them to your website.

Bob Brennan: How long does it take, Jesse, to… I mean, how much time do you let pass before you kind of freak out? The rule of thumb is when Google announces it, or it’s known that it’s come out, people panic. Are you seeing situations where you accept the final results three days, four days later, or up to seven to 10 days? Or how do you view it?

Jesse Dolan: Great question though. That is something. Yeah, you don’t want to react right away. Because when Google pushes out that update, things are changing. There’s not somebody back at Google that went, “All right, here’s the new pages that are going to rank.” You know what I mean? They’re constantly testing, even then when they release an algorithm update, they’re still like the wake, it’s still settling.

Yeah, the general consensus, at least if you go out there to all the SEO community and boards is, give it a week or two, just to let the dust settle, but I’d put an asterisk on that. If you are one of the sites where you just totally tanked, give it maybe a couple of days. I wouldn’t overreact because Google can test things, right? They’ll make some changes, see how users react. For example, I’m being very extreme here, just to prove a point, if they completely rearranged a page where the top three results are now the bottom three results, boom, today that happens.

Now, tomorrow, if people are searching and they’re seeing that new results page, if most people are scrolling down to the bottom, they’re clicking through, clicking through and getting a lot of bounce backs and then they’re settling on those results that used to be on the top that are not on the bottom, Google is going to be aware of that, and they’re going to rearrange that page and say, “Oops, we tweaked that a little too much, maybe. We’re going to dial that back.” You want to give that time because if you were one of those pages and you suddenly drop, give it a day or two. Google may kind of rubber band that thing back and bounce back and put you back up top, and you don’t want to screw that up with making changes.

But after a couple of days, and again, this comes with first things first: check out the SERP. If your rankings dropped, make a note, take a screencap, whatever you got to do, get a snapshot of what that looks like, and keep checking. If that seems stable, Google’s not rearranging anything there, then sooner than later, start taking a look through POP or these things we’re talking about. What are you to do to your pages to get them back up? Because now they’re stuck down there, right?

Bob Brennan: Yeah.

Jesse Dolan: If that hasn’t happened to you, if maybe you’ve been still middle of the page or third, fourth position, and you haven’t seen a lot of flux for your site, and you’re not one of these that are kind of in danger. Yeah, then I’d give it more a week or two before you make any changes to yours. Before you’re running POP, before you’re kind of manipulating your site.

Just because, again, you still… Google’s in mid-test and that rubber band type stuff, and just give it time to see really what they favor at the end of the day. Let the other people overreact, and kind of screw their rankings up and just kind of see where the chips fall. But you’re definitely going to want to try to do something to up the ante on your website at the end of the day. So, awesome question. Very good question.

Bob Brennan: Makes sense. If I could use this analogy, it’s like the tools… Every once in a while, I’ll get invited to help somebody with a deck and I’ll show up and… Maybe I’ll just kind of reverse the role. I’ll show up and the tools I have are the Happy Homeowner hammer and the kind of the main China crappy cordless drill or whatever the deal is. And you can kind of tell by their reaction that, “Maybe we asked the wrong guy to help me,” type of deal.

To that end, tools are an important part of those game. And more importantly, much like… not that we’re doctors, but I would think the friends of mine that are doctors, they hang around a group of other doctors that they’re gleaning information from, and specialists all across the world nowadays. And that’s kind of the world of SEO, I would imagine, is basically leaning on us and we lean on others. Because obviously if any of us knew the formula of Google, we wouldn’t be doing podcasts. We’d be on the beaches of Bimini or Bora Bora or whatever the case is. That’s all I have to add is tools are important. POP is one of those great tools, along with Cora and a few others that really give you a barometer of what’s going on out there.

Jesse Dolan: To carry your example even further, Bob, is if you’re showing up with the crap tools, doing this versus the pro set type tools, like a POP, would be a pro set type tool, if you’re doing this for a career, when you’re showing up like that… You’ve given a fake scenario, by the way. Bob’s got the right tools. He knows what he’s doing in these areas.

Bob Brennan: Who knows?

Jesse Dolan: Just to be clear. But let’s just say, if you’re showing up to kind of build that deck and you’ve got some crap tools, if you’re a professional and you do that for a living, don’t rely on those tools. That’s not going to serve you well. And as SEO’s, this is what we all do, right? Everybody listen. This is what we do for our business or for a career or for serving clients.

Don’t be afraid to invest. Don’t be afraid to drop 30, 40 bucks a month for a subscription to POP because that doesn’t take a lot of new clients or new sales to make up that ROI. And if you’re trying to do this with free tools, or these kind of the crappy tools in your analogy, you’re just going to take more time, you’re not going to be as effective and you’re going to get out flanked by your competitors. Yeah. Great point and great lesson for everybody is just don’t be afraid to invest into the right tools if you’re a pro, right?

All right. Good stuff, and hopefully that resonates with everybody. It’s moving. We’ve talked about it before. Google will change the rules. Google will change the game. Your competitors will change and the market will change, what we’re looking for… SEO is an ongoing thing. Something you always have to pay attention to.

Moral of the story in this episode is when Google announces that they’ve changed something. That’s for sure when you should stand up and take intention and take some actions. But as a second takeaway, the spirit of this, even if Google doesn’t do a core update or the next 90 days, you should still evaluate these things. Your competitors may have changed, right? The market may have changed, and the impact of the search results. So, even if there’s no update, this is all still really good stuff.

Bob Brennan: Yep.

Jesse Dolan: All right, let’s get to our five-star review here for this episode. We’ve got an awesome review from Dead Bug Walking LLC, Bedbug Heat Specialist.

Bob Brennan: Nice.

Jesse Dolan: Now I got to take a little pause there, Dead Bug Walking, you are in SEO. And I can tell by your name, because you’ve got like four keywords stuffed right in there, so it’s perfect. It’s perfect.

Bob Brennan: The man.

Jesse Dolan: Yeah.

Bob Brennan: Or woman, we don’t know.

Jesse Dolan: True, true. But we do know that they take care of bedbugs and things like that. That is very evident. But all kidding aside, thank you for the review. It goes on to say here, “Very informative podcasts about local SEO and SEM. I’ve been listening to the podcast for what seems like years now,” which is true. We’ve been on for years. “Just listening to them has improved my rankings and relevancy greatly for our local and even non-local showing on any search engine. Love how they actually show you more content than ads, unlike some of the other SEO podcasts do. I have not used their services yet, just listened to their podcasts so far. They seem to know what they are talking about though. They have guests on that are very knowledgeable to give different perspective.” Thank you. That’s perfect, right?

Bob Brennan: That is cool.

Jesse Dolan: We are, for somebody like you, like we mentioned in previous episodes, going to be launching some digital courses. We have this free, we call it… this is the DIY solution as the podcast. Hopefully we’re sharing some things that help you out to learn what to do. And then yeah, we can be hired as an agency to do all the heavy lifting for you. Totally.

We’re coming up with these digital courses to kind of go something in the middle where we’re going to help you and coach you and teach you, but you can implement it yourself. If you’re interested in that, we’d like to know two things from you. One is: what kind of courses would you like to see? Go to LocalSEOTactics.com/courses. The one question survey, we just want you to check a few boxes, what kind of courses that you want to see.

And then secondly, after you do that, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up to be a beta student. To jump on board, to give us feedback on the course before it’s released, to kind of go through it. It’s a good trade, right? You get it for free, we get some feedback from you to perfect it and make it even better for everybody else. So, Dead Bug Walking, anybody else that’s kind of in that same realm, if you’ve been listening to for a long time, kind of feel maybe you need some help still. Maybe this is a good kind of in-between for you. So, check it out LocalSEOTactics.com/courses.

Last plug, everybody else. If you do want to leave us a review, we would really appreciate it. We’ll keep reading them as long as you keep sending them in. It helps us know we’re doing the right thing, help spread the word for the show and everything else, so we really appreciate it. Go to local SEOTactics.com, scroll down to the bottom for reviews and all that portals are right there to make it easy for you.
Bob Brennan: We appreciate it.
Jesse Dolan: We do appreciate it. We do. And we’ve been doing this for years, like he said, Bob, and it really is fun. It’s a kind of a good thing that we get to jump on every week and flap our lips a little bit and hopefully help you all out there. Any other closing thoughts, Bob?
Bob Brennan: No. That is it. We get done with this, I’m going to go work on my Sprinter van. I’m building a Sprinter van, so my kids and I can go to Florida on spring break and hopefully watch a rocket getting launched.
Jesse Dolan: SpaceX. Yeah, I’m jealous. I got nerd out on that, man. I’m totally jealous, for real. That’d be fun. All right. Thanks for jumping on, Bob. Thanks everybody else for tuning in on this episode and we’ll catch you on the next one.
Bob Brennan: Thank you.

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