Google changes search algorithm … and says there’s nothing to fix

Google changes search algorithm … and says there’s nothing to fix

Google, which has more than 70 percent of the world’s search market share, has confirmed that it released “a broad core algorithm update” on August 1.

Chatter on sites where SEOs discuss all things Google, such as WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World, blew up yesterday as clients who saw marked traffic declines on August 1 chimed in. Digital marketing now is the No. 1 way businesses get the word out about themselves and companies spend major money trying to improve their rankings. Any significant change sparks hand-wringing across the business world.

The chatter was enough that Google’s new search liason, Danny Sullivan, has spent much of the day explaining how people should be adjusting their sites to the update.

His message boils down to this: There’s nothing specific to this update, just follow earlier guidance on how to rank better on Google:

  • Improve site speed.
  • Get your SSL certificate if you haven’t already.
  • Post new, relevant content to your site.
  • Make sure it’s mobile-friendly.

Those are the basic points. Google released a 164-page guide on July 20 on how to rank better. Click here if you like to do that kind of reading.

“As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains,” Sullivan said on Twitter. “There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

He cautioned against over-reacting.

“I’m deeply aware people will want to fix things, if there’s a traffic change (and generally not share if they’re suddenly rewarded). I think it is useful to say there’s no specific thing happenings, so people don’t just start making random changes. They should think broadly.”

Among the services that Thinker offers are building, maintaining and hosting websites. After hearing about the update and the complaints of some webmasters of a sudden decline in traffic, we checked the analytics on our sites and didn’t find a lot to be concerned about. Thirteen percent of our sites saw a marked rise in traffic from July 31 to August 1. We had no sites that saw a discernable decline.

We agree with Sullivan. If there’s nothing “broken” on your site, there’s nothing to fix. Follow the Google guidelines and you should be fine.