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How to Handle a Google Algorithm Update

Mar 24, 2017
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A few months ago I shared some of my suggestions on what to do after Google makes a major shift in their algorithm on my monthly Search Engine Land column. At the time the article was written, many people in the SEO and online marketing communities were wondering how to handle the recent Penguin 4.0 roll out and mitigate the 'Possum' update. As I release this post, the newest major update, FRED, is causing panic in the world of SEO. So what should a website owner or SEO do after a major algorithm is released?  

In the infographic below, I share some of my thoughts on how to approach a major update. Remember, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times a year. Most of these tweaks go unnoticed, but when a major one hits, it's easy to get wrapped up in the hype. For the most part, Google won't acknowledge a major update and when they do, the information we get is very minimal. So let's look at a practical way to handle an update.


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Major algorithm updates can be scary, but if you are doing SEO right and not trying to beat the system by buying links and spinning content, you'll be okay. When you realize a major update has happened, stay calm, wait to see the impacts and make calculated adjustments if needed. Stay focused on building a strategy that focuses on delivering your users what they are looking for, creating connections that build links and focusing on what you can control.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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