Has your site been hit by Google’s recent ranking changes?

Google traffic drop

Since last weekend you may have noticed a jump in traffic to your website.

Or a sudden drop…

The reason for this being it looks like Google rolled out a couple of algorithm updates last Friday. These have resulted in the rankings of many websites changing.

Those whose rankings have improved will likely have seen their Google organic traffic increasing. Those whose rankings dropped will, of course, have experienced declines in traffic.

As mentioned, it appears there were two updates. The biggest affected the main organic search results and appears to have been a change to Google’s core algorithm. Initially many speculated Google had rolled out a Penguin update. However, John Mueller, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, has since advised this was not the case.

The other change was to Google Local Search results. There have been some big changes seen in the listings in both the Local “3 pack” results and also in Local Finder results (these are what you see when you click “More Places” in 3 pack results). The update seems to have been aimed at removing fake or spammy results out of Google’s local search results – of which there are many.

These changes have been noticed worldwide and we’ve certainly observed changes here in Google NZ results.

Why should you care?

Clearly, if your website has benefited from these updates you’ll be feeling happy. But if you’ve experienced a sudden drop in Google organic traffic it may well indicate that your site has been detrimentally impacted by these Google updates.

If that’s the case, you should (as a matter of priority) check to see if your rankings have dropped and then take appropriate actions to address whatever has caused this.

A good place to start is your Google Search Console account. The Search Analytics report section shows changes in rankings over time and other sections may well indicate issues that have triggered ranking drops.

If you haven’t yet set up a Google Search Console report you should. It’s free to do and the information provided can be invaluable. To do so, go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

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About the Author Mark Sceats

Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).

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