Has Google Recently Updated Their Search Algorithm?

by | Sep 23, 2016 | Digital News

Have you noticed some movement in your organic rankings this month? Don’t freak out – many websites have reported seeing some significant movement in SERPs over the past days and weeks.

While you may be concerned for your site engagement metrics and organic traffic, now is not the time to stress out. We’ve covered off a few FAQs regarding the updates.

Why did my website drop in Google?

Assuming the regular stuff is under control (i.e. your content is solid, your on-site technical is all following best-practice guidelines and your backlink profile is clean), it is likely a recent drop or improvement can be attributed to the recent algorithm activity.

There seems to have been 2 key changes.

  1. Core algorithm update:

This has caused some interesting fluctuations across many verticals and industries earlier in September, with many SEOs and webmasters reporting large drops in rankings for specific keywords and pages.

  1. Local search update (being dubbed “Possum”)

Impacting the 3-pack of local results and the Local Finder incorporating Maps, Possum has seen some businesses be filtered out of visibility in the local results.

What does this mean for my website?

At this stage – not a lot. The drop or disappearance may seem serious due to losing search visibility, but as long as your SEO practices are solid, you should see rankings improve again.

What should I do about the algorithm update?

Now is a great time to check your backlink profile, content and technical SEO basics. That way you can put your mind at ease that it’s probably not a Penguin or Panda penalty. Assuming all those elements are fine, monitor your rankings. If they don’t bounce back within the next few weeks, it may be a good time to enlist the aid of a professional. If you already have an SEO expert on the case, they should be able to give you some peace of mind that your rankings will be improving soon (or giving insights on why they may not be!).

One extra thing you may want to do is verify when your website was last crawled by Google, and how often it gets crawled. Sites with high traffic will generally be cached more often than ones with lower volumes of traffic. This matters, because if Google hasn’t crawled your website since the last time you made an improvement or adjusted something, then your rankings wouldn’t be reflecting those changes yet.

How do I check when my website was last cached?

Great question. Simply type “cache:” in front of your domain or web page URL.

Still concerned? Our experienced team is happy to have a chat and discuss your organic performance.

Fun fact – The name Possum was inspired by one of the more alarming aspects of the algorithm update. When the changes first took effect, several companies thought their Google business listings had disappeared, although they had actually just been filtered. In other words, they were playing possum.

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