Embracing Google Algorithm Updates in 2020
Google Algorithm Updates. If you work in any form of digital marketing practice, then the odds are you know about them. Those three words tend to inspire some form of dread and worry in those in digital careers – but they don’t need to.
Recently, Google have released further information about their testing process that can help put Google Algorithm Updates into context.
Google Algorithm Updates are moments throughout the year when Google decide to make changes to their core search services, whether that is via Organic search, Paid search, Display, or any number of a large selection of other products. Around four times a year, Google will announce that they are about to make a core change, in which their core search algorithm is affected.
This can cause some digital marketers to panic. If Google is announcing an update, it must be huge. Do we need to prepare for it?
Well actually, in most cases, the answer is “no”.
Google conducted 595,429 search quality tests in 2018. The results of those tests ultimately meant 3,234 official updates.
According to the updated Google documentation on Rigorous Testing, Google conducted 595,429 search quality tests in 2018. The results of those tests ultimately meant 3,234 official updates and launches across the Google products. That averaged out at around nine different updates per day, the majority of which were unnoticed by most websites.
Not all of those updates would have been in Organic search; however, across the course of 2018, there were 15,096 live traffic and A/B tests. Those tests would have in and of themselves affected the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) by some degree for small groups of people. To put this in context, those tests included things like putting a large video result in the SERP and changing the colour of the Google Ads banner, amongst a lot of other things.
Then, when Google have decided they want to release an update, they will usually do a slow roll-out across the globe.
What it shows, once and for all, is Google search results are constantly changing, making the majority of changes impossible to plan for.
The ramifications across the digital marketing disciplines are simple. Over 90% of the time Google will not announce an update, and on the occasions when those updates are announced there is no need to panic. Where it is possible to reactively change aspects of a website when a Google update is announced, it is not recommended. Google updates all the time, and reactively changing for one aspect may cause more damage in the long run. Not all announced updates will affect all websites, and not all updates will be announced. It is best to see how an update affects a site in the long run, before adapting to it.
Sometimes there will be a dip in search traffic, sometimes there will be a rise. That is all a part of the ebb and flow of the eddies in the SERP.