Google is notorious for shrugging off questions about significant updates to their search algorithms until after the fact. When asked about one this week, John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at the company, gave a characteristically vague response on Twitter: “Yep! We make updates all the time.” Chatter from webmasters and other industry professionals, however, indicates that there’s a big shift happening in the way Google processes search queries.
As of Sunday, June 25, SEO experts began noticing unusual volatility. This proved to be more than a blip as more and more sites experienced wide fluctuations in search rankings as well as organic site traffic. By June 28, John was still being coy, saying “There’s nothing confirmed from our side, this is all just random chatter.”
Random chatter or not, many webmasters and SEO professionals are absolutely convinced that a massive algorithm update began on Sunday and is continuing to roll out to sites around the world. Some reported spikes in site traffic observed in one country but fewer visitors than usual in another, while others witnessed individual keywords doing better – or going from first page results all the way to the third page.
Automated tracking tools support what webmasters are seeing, with platforms like Mozcast, Algaroo, Accuranker and others appearing to confirm the reality of a highly meaningful update.
That’s all very interesting, but what can you actually do with this information? Here are a few suggestions:
- Check your site analytics. Now is a good time to look at your data to see whether and how things have changed. Is your traffic unusually heavy or sparse? Are particular keywords suddenly not performing as they had been in recent months?
- Make changes based on what you see. If everything looks great, consider yourself a winner in this round of the algorithm sweepstakes. If not, tweak site copy and Yoast where necessary, then monitor the results. Repeat as needed.
- Remember that quality is the winning formula under all algorithms. For years, Google has stressed the importance of useful, well-written content that answers the questions their users ask. Spelling, flow and clarity are the paths to success. Keyword-stuffing and sheer bulk without value to readers will get you penalized.
In short, don’t panic but do monitor, and be prepared to make improvements to your site’s content along with SEO implementation. Your law firm can ride this wave and come out on top, even if the surf’s rough for a few weeks.