Episode 16 – Diagnosing a Ranking Drop (or Algorithm Change)

How to properly diagnose a ranking change:

  1. Look at data – Don’t use third party ranking or visibility tools. Wait for Google Search Console data.
  2. Hypothesis – Look for trends on your site, competitors that have been affected, and changes to the search results. Use these to build a hypothesis on what changed and how to fix it.
  3. Test – Test your hypothesis by changing one variable and seeing how it reacts. You will need to wait for these changes to take effect, which can sometimes be until the next algorithm update.

Give it Time

Many drops will change dramatically over the next 7-14 days. There is often a learning phase to new algorithm updates. The search results quality is measured by user metrics, and the search rankings will change as certain pages score better or worse.

Algorithm Rollback

We’ve already seen what seems to be a rollback or secondary release for the algorithm change that was released last week. Sometimes these rollbacks happen within days or hours. If there are massive bugs or issues, expect to see Google react quickly (see last August).

Algorithm Tracking Tools

Where to check to see whether there was an algorithm change and what categories were affected?
https://algoroo.com/

https://www.semrush.com/sensor/?db=US&category=

https://moz.com/mozcast/

SEO Twitter:

Consider following these accounts for updates and analysis around Google algorithm udpates.

Google Search Central:

The Google Search Central knowledge base is an incredible resource. Check it out.

https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2019/08/core-updates

More SEO Discussion

For more SEO discussion, join our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fuelyourphotos/

Ready to take your SEO to the next level and get inquiries on autopilot? Take a look at our SEO course: https://www.fuelyourphotos.com/seo-course/

Join the free 7 day SEO challenge: https://www.fuelyourphotos.com/challenge/

Previous Episodes

Dylan: Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 16 of the Fuel Your Photos, SEO for photographers podcast, it's Dylan and Corey. And today we're going to talk about algorithm changes and how to diagnose a rankings drop.

Corey: Yes, this is such an important skill as someone who's going to be managing your own SEO, or even if you have someone else managing your SEO, just to be able to monitor yourself and understand, even if it doesn't have to do with an algorithm change.

If your rankings are dropping or increasing, knowing why that's happening can be so helpful in understanding what to do or not to do in the future. Yeah.

Dylan: I feel like these drops are so like such a source of anxiety. And I guess I'll, I'll, I'll say one thing before the, start that over the last. I don't know, six or eight years of really tracking SEO rankings on a daily basis.

Most of the third-party ranking trackers that have like, show me like massive drops have been inaccurate. Don't let them scare you.

Corey: That's I think every time someone logs into a rank tracking tool or search console or whatever they're using and they see a major drop their heart sings immediately, like what's happening, but like immediately you have to just calm down and say, okay, well there's probably more to this.

Let me analyze it before I freak out. And even if it is an actual drop. It's always going to help to approach it from a place of being calm and factual and thinking things through without making any wrecks cash decisions.

Dylan: For sure. Yeah. Don't tell that your site. so yeah, I guess the first thing then is give some time, a lot of these drops are going to happen, but they might not be perfectly static in the coming few days.

And they also. But you, you need some time to get accurate data and the most accurate data on these is going to come from Google search console, which is typically on what a two day delay for most States.

Corey: you're going to get your most, I think, in search console, the like fully. propaganda is like three days behind and you could get like as recent as one day ago, but it's going to be like maybe half of the data.

So it's just going to kind of give you an idea. So you're really going to need, how long would you say you need to wait to get search console data?

Dylan: I typically want to wait at least a week, but probably two weeks. yeah, and I, I say that because if you look at one specific day, Versus like the same day, the previous week, there could be like a 20% difference in clicks just without any ranking changes.

just from normal. Variances activity, right?

Corey: I mean, there's a lot of different kinds of things like that that can happen, whether it's a seasonal or whether it's just people don't search on the weekend or whatever it is, you could have day to day swings in search console that are pretty drastic.

Dylan: I've been fooled by holidays so many times in the past where I look at a site and it's.

Like 30% down on a Monday and I'm like, what is this? And it's like, Oh yeah, it's like Memorial day or something.

Corey: Yeah. Even the entire week of Thanksgiving or Christmas or between the new year. Like people just take off during those weeks.

Dylan: Exactly. Yeah. Those are always massive sources of anxiety, to see the numbers go down that far.

But anyways, I think waiting for two weeks of data is really nice because then you can look at the entire week average compared to the week average before.

 

things like that are going to just give you much more actionable data, rather than trying to grasp what's going on with your entire website based on a few clicks on one day.

Corey: You know, we're going to give some examples here later of like what kinds of different hypotheses you can make, to figure out what might be happening. But for right now, one thing that's coming to my mind is that there are certain times whenever. You need to just wait, could be two weeks, could be a month.

It could be three months, but there's other times if certain things are happening that you could probably find it pretty much immediately and fix it. In fact, sometimes we've seen cases, especially this year in last year, where. Pages would, you know, they would be used. Some, somebody would be using a tracking tool and let's say they're tracking a specific keyword.

And all of a sudden they would drop to less than a hundred or not, not tracked at all. It's just dropping off the map and then we would. Look and see that their homepage wasn't even indexed like that kind of stuff. Sometimes you can find out immediately and you know, clearly, Oh, this isn't ranking because it's not indexed.

I need to submit this again or something. Yeah.

Dylan: I, while you're waiting for the search data to come through, that is going to be diagnosing things like how the SERP, how the search engine results pages have changed or how your content is being. Just assessed differently. definitely dive into those technical issues.

Indexation, make sure your pages are indexed. make sure you're not, actually you didn't accidentally no index all of your pages or something. Make sure that your server is up and that Google can crawl your site and things like

Corey: that. Yup. You'd be surprised. We've seen that kind of stuff quite a bit where something will be causing Google, not to be able to access that.

And so for those things, You can use something like a simple site search in Google, so do a site colon and then your domain without a space after the colon. And that should show you what's indexed or try that on a specific page. And that should show you what that page is. Index. You could also use a cache instead of sight in front of the domain.

So cash colon, your domain to see if there's a recent cached version, sometimes that will work. And then outside of that, you could also use something like, Mobile-friendly testing tool or I don't know. I guess the structured data testing tool is going away. Is it still around,

Dylan: it's still working

Corey: those kinds of tools that Google uses to, or even the, what's it called?

The Google page speed insights. Like any of these will often. When you run the test, it will show you whether Google is able to render the HTML, the Java script images, things like that. So doing these kinds of tests to see is Google still finding the information accurately? I would say that could probably be step one.

If you notice a drastic decrease, there's a sharp, drop-off checking to make sure your page is still indexed, checking to sure that Google can still access the page. Those would be the first steps that you do immediately, because if that's broken, you can fix it right now and get your rankings back usually pretty quickly.

Dylan: gosh, I'm trying to think of any other technical things like that, but I think the last one that I've seen cause issues is sometimes like server misconfigurations where. redirect was removed or like an HTTP to HTTPS redirect was removed, causing Google to index both and mess up rankings. if you've ever done previous migrations and have redirects from that previous domain, I've seen sites where that, that domain expired and that can cause issues.

Corey: They have, man, there's so many weird little things. Yeah. Like even I've seen people set up a dopey rocket and when they're logged in and everything looks great, but when they're logged out, it's completely broken. Yeah. Yeah.

Dylan: Or on WP, rocket, desktop, first mobile. I've seen people have completely broken mobile experiences due to different performance plugins like that.

And Google's crawling the mobile version of your

Corey: site, so, right. So yeah, the whole point here is. First of all check technical issues. I think all of the things that I mentioned here before would help you diagnose whether that's the case. And like, you know, if you do that site search and you see that there's like 10,000 new pages indexed that are all hacked well, that's probably going to be a problem.

I've had that happen to me before it can happen, but those should be relatively apparent with just minimal investigation using the things that I just mentioned here. But that's not always going to be how it's not gonna always be that easy. Sometimes you're gonna have to do a lot more digging and you're going to have to give us some time.

So let's go into kind of the more common Google dance where you're going to have rankings that fluctuate. You're going to have things that go up and down over time and you need to figure out why and how you can win it back.

Dylan: Yeah. So. We've waited 14 days for content. And you jump into your search console.

Where do you typically go next?

Corey: What do you look at for me? I think I'm going to go into the performance report and I'm probably going to do a date compare and I'm going to pick a date range. If we waited two weeks, I want to pick a two weeks time whenever I was at the peak. And then I'm gonna take the previous two weeks whenever it's lower.

And I'm going to compare those. I wanna make sure only one. variable is enable to hear, I would say probably clicks. You could do impressions either way, but one or the other is enabled, and then you're gonna have a compare column that you can sort by. That's going to tell you, which by default is going to show you which queries have either lost or gained impressions, but you could also flip over to pages and see which pages have lost or gained impressions or clicks, whichever you're looking at.

and so that is going to help you narrow down. Where the major problem lies, especially if you're looking at, like, let's say I came into search console and I'm seeing like major decline overall in my traffic, that's where that's really going to help. But if you just opened up SEO edge and you saw, Hey, this went down from like page one, like I'm positioned five and now I'm positioning 50.

What would you do then?

Dylan: Yeah, I mean, I think it would be, it would be somewhat similar where I would, I would come in and do the same comparison. And just get that first broad view, like, okay. SEO edge is telling me that I had this huge drop has my traffic changed. once I've gotten that out of the way, I would look at the average rankings and S and go into the exact query that I was tracking in SEO edge and see if it's showing a change.

And then I would even go further and click on the device tab and look at, as that queries ranking changed on desktop versus mobile searches because SEO edge is, I believe typically looking at mobile searches and it's also localized to where you're tracking from. Hmm. so it's yeah. You can spend some time digging to kind of try to figure out why SEO edge is reporting the number it is.

but I think that it's, it's just a starting point because search console is going to have better, more actionable data. That's actually representative of real life results. yeah. See, you're pretty much looking for a reason to either affirm

Corey: or,

Dylan: just completely deny the, the SEL

drinking.

Corey: Yeah, that makes sense.

You know, that brings up an interesting scenario that I have seen happen many times where you notice that there's a drop either locally or nationally, but not the other. So for example, let's say you're ranking really well for Portland elopement photographer locally. If you search in Portland anywhere you're ranking page one, position one, but if you search from South Carolina, you're like third page.

or, you know, the opposite happens where in South Carolina, you're page one position one, but you search anywhere in Portland and your third page, you know, those kinds of things can happen where either like Google has started to heavily rely on local signals for that particular query or local signals have changed or, or.

You know, more important for your site. That's pretty interesting scenario.

Dylan: Yeah. I see that all the time.

Corey: What do you do to, what do you do to check that? I guess you can, if you're in the area that you're trying to rank for. So if you are important land and you're trying to rank in Portland, you could just do an incognito search and see how do you have any type of tool or anything you use to change your location?

Dylan: There are different browser extensions you can use that will allow you to set your IP addresses location. I'm not sure how accurate they are. I've only used them a handful of times.

Corey: and if you had one,

Dylan: exactly. Yeah. If you had a VPN, you could try to set it to a different state or something.

Corey: Ask a friend and another.

Dylan: Yeah, we've definitely done that. I mean, yeah, multiple times, in our Facebook groups before we've, we've said like, Hey, like we're just interested to see how this queries. Rankings like first page changes based on where people are searching from around the country and world. But yeah, that's, that's a really interesting problem in it.

It really can have drastic effects depending on if most of your potential clients are searching from outside of the U S or if they're searching from outside of the state or the city, or if they're all local clients that you're trying to target just for your city. I know that I've talked to a few people that are based in Europe and they're only targeting English, speaking us, citizens that are searching from abroad, about European topics.

Right? So like for them, they need to be in the search console, locations tab, and looking only at us data, if that's what they're most interested

in.

Corey: Yep. That's interesting for sure. So kind of one of the points we're getting at here is. You, you may see that one of your tools is talking about a decrease in ranking that isn't even meaningful to your business, as long as it's not affecting you locally.

That could be one example. In other words, you need to know what your tools are telling you. You can't just take the number and believe it at face value.

Dylan: I also, I think we make this point at least once every podcast, but SEO rank trackers. Are like one singular point in time. And all of these variables that we're talking about from device type to location, search, or history, any of those personalization factors are they're set they're static.

so you're, you're looking at like one specific ranking on that tool where it says you're in a certain position where Google is, is looking at all of the. Searches that happened and giving you an average ranking, which is just a, a much, much better

Corey: metric. Yep. One more thing. When we're talking about rankings that I brought up recently, when I was making a video, I, I looked at a comparison of something like a two week stretch or maybe it was a month.

I think it was a two week stretch when I was at a peak and a two week. stretch when I was at a low. So we just mentioned doing that a few minutes ago, but one of the things to be careful of there is looking at the average for that two weeks, because you could be, you know, 10 for half of that time and position one for half of that time and see an average of five and think, Oh, I was in, I was positioned five, two weeks ago.

When realistically, you know, you were in a major swing at that point. So make sure you're looking at the actual days in that spread to see like, what was happening, what are the typical swings that you see in a week, et cetera. Hopefully that's making sense. I know that might be kind of hard when you don't have a visual to go along with it with a podcast.

Dylan: another point and I think we've kind of made this already, but just that the change in overall impressions and the change in overall clicks is going to be a much more meaningful piece of information than any individual ranking changes.

 

so I definitely do like to look at the traffic and impressions when diagnosing these, these issues and not as much the individual rankings.

Corey: Yeah, it's an interesting point, too. When you start bringing SERP features into the mix, feeding snippets, people also ask Matt packs a bunch of different glees that can kind of, yeah, they can count as a position, but if you drop one position, you could decrease your click-through rate by 40% or something like that, you know, because you're below one of these features now, or if you had the featured snippet before.

Search console might still show you in position one, but then you drop down to like the first organic and you don't have the featured snippet anymore. You know, what happens to your click through rate? What is, is there a big difference because your position moved down or maybe your click through rate went up?

Dylan: Yeah. I think the next point is to group the pages, Or I like to look at topics. but I like to kind of try to group all of the pages that were winners and all the pages that were losers and try to look for common themes, both in what type of information is being presented. How has it presented on the page?

Is it new content? Is it old content? Is it short? Is it long? Did I build links to it? Did I not, looking for any sort of, common themes? and I like to do that analysis more than just like tracking Portland wedding photographer, which is my old main head term for my site. And looking at like, how did that rank change?

That that's a less interesting, game for me, I guess.

Corey: Yeah. That's something that happens all the time in our Facebook groups is people will say. on my rankings are down, my rankings are down and we'll ask them, do you mean that your ranking is down for one keyword or are your rankings down across your entire domain and all your pages both can happen, right?

Like you're could literally have a ranking decrease across every page because of some authority issue or penalty or whatever, no index you want your pages accidentally. Like all of those things could happen and you could have major problems, but more often it's. People are worried about one keyword is dropping.

And when you go look at the page, let's just say, you know what you said earlier? What was it? Portland wedding photographer. If you looked at your search console and you saw that Portland wedding photographer was down four positions, but then you look and see which, which page is Portland wedding photographer, driving traffic to it's my homepage.

Okay. Let's look at my home page and see overall over the past week, is it up or down and clicks and impressions and you see. Oh, wait, it's up significantly in clicks. What in the world is happening? And you could realize maybe that one keyword you were tracking for the wedding photographer. Wasn't the most searched phrase.

Now in that case, it probably is, but let's just say it's, you know, wedding photographer in Portland, Oregon as an example, and all of a sudden you moved up a little bit for that, even though you moved down for Portland wedding photographer, but now you're getting significantly more clicks, things like that have happened all the time when I've gone in analyze this kind of stuff.

Dylan: A hundred percent. Yep. Yeah. And that, I mean, that could be a simple change of like Google recommending a different keyword in the auto suggest or something. That's so true.

Corey: Yeah. Yup.

Dylan: let's see, what other let's do, I guess recent site changes. I think we kind of talked about this. I'm not sure if we did it all already, but

Corey: I think, I think as we, what we are talking about now is we've looked at the fact that something's have, right.

We we've decided that our ranking has changed or traffic has changed. We've looked at the data, we've talked about tools you can use to test. We've done some kind of initial poking. Now it's time that we start to make hypothesis. We have to start to say. All of this has changed. I'm not sure why, but I'm going to make some guesses so that I can start testing.

so I guess now we want to dig into some examples of things that are. No possibilities, some things that could be theories you could have, if you're new to this or you haven't done this a lot, you might need some guidance on what should I start with? What should I guess first? Yeah, totally. And I think recent changes is a great,

Dylan: good place to start.

I think one point I want to make about recent site changes is that a lot of these changes will affect your rankings. More or less like within days. so like if you change a site title or make some content adjustments, you can affect your, your rankings over the short term, but, larger like structural changes, like.

Maybe you totally redesign your site. Maybe you move it to a new platform. maybe you significantly improve in performance. A lot of those changes sometimes aren't given the full weight in the algorithm until there's an algorithm update and Google then reassesses a lot of their site-wide metrics. and might say like, Hey, this, this site used to be slow, but now it's pretty fast.

And you might see an overall lift. That maybe, maybe you've moved to the new fast server and changed and become amp valid three months ago, but there hasn't been an algorithm update. And so that, that algorithm update hits and all of a sudden your site skyrockets. so that. That sort of thing can happen.

Corey: Yeah. And that's a good, good thing to bring up here. Like what is recent and what's the kind of cadence that you should be looking at? whenever you're thinking about when's the last time I made changes, I mean, there's, there's new core algorithm updates, pretty much monthly. but that doesn't mean that every one of those is going to consider every factor.

Right. So it could be every three months that they have an update that even has any impact on local signals. So I would say, I would say at least a 90 day, like what changes have I made in the past 90 days is a good part.

Dylan: Yep. Outside of that. I think looking at the changes to your comp, like the competition.

So look at what pages are now ranking above you that weren't before, have they improved the content? Have they improved their sites? Have they built backlinks to their sites? I think we've seen that in like the wedding photographer space where a certain photographer might have. Once a major awards and had 15 features in the last quarter, that significantly can improve their rankings.

And so it might not be anything that you did, wrong on your site or any changes that you've made, but. They've made changes and they're positive and that it has to, to hurt somebody when their rankings improve. So,

Corey: yeah, it's funny. Cause there's a analogy that Google gives them one of their gods about this, and they talked about ranking a list of the top 100 movies.

And let's say you made that list in 2015 and you want to update it in 2019. Well, there's going to be new movies that are going to be at the top of the list because they didn't exist in 2015. But that doesn't mean that the ones that are moving down were bad movies. It's just that now there's new things to consider.

And you might even find that the movies from 2015 that were on your list deserve to be higher now that you compare them against. Kind of the newer movie. So that's kind of the normal process of re indexing the web and changing the rankings based on what they're finding. It's funny. I had this exact same thing happened to me.

I did a ranking analysis for a course video recently, and I was analyzing one of the pages on my own site. That was a big traffic driver and had dropped. And it ended up that this was the thing that caused the drop. There was a competitor who came in. And the competitor just basically wrote another piece of content, almost exactly like mine.

They weren't copying it or anything. It's just that the right kind of content for this, this particular query was this type of guide. They wrote their version of it. It had a lot of the same points in it, but there were also. A little bit more authoritative. They have, an SEO agency, they have a YouTube channel that's really active.

The topic was around YouTube. So that helped the fact that they had more content on their domain. That's YouTube centric and SEO centric. So. The whole thing was, even though they just came in and made something about the same quality as mine, all of the other metrics that went into it made it. So there's one result ahead of my dang, but there's ways that I can come back and improve the content significantly.

And I think even outweigh

Dylan: those. That's awesome. I think the next thing I would look at, if you have access to an SEO tool that allows you to see competitors, backlinks is just, I first I pull up the pages that are ranking and see, is there,

Corey: are there new backlinks to this

Dylan: page? And then the second thing I do is just look at their overall domain and see what the velocity of new backlinks looks like.

are they adding more backlinks than they have been in the past or roughly the same rate or are their backlinks steady or even going down just to, to quickly see if there's any competition from that angle? Yep.

Corey: And if you don't have access to one of those SEO tools, you can usually get a free trial from either.

SEMrush H refs or MAs any of those three would let you check those things. And sometimes you can even get a free account that will let you check, like when you are out per day or something along those lines. So it should be able to check those. Yeah,

Dylan: I guess next,

Corey: if, the entire intent behind a SERP change.

So a SERP search engine result page an entire keyword is what I'm trying to say. Let's say that, you know, Someone is searching for, Portland, elopement, photographers, and Google decides that based on the top 20, the, the Corpus, as we call it the whatever number of pages they're analyzing, that they consider qualified for that suddenly they realized that the real intent here is places to a local Oregon.

That's just an example. And maybe that happens sometimes. And your list doesn't include places to elope. Do you see that kind of thing happening often?

Dylan: Yeah, I would say that this is, is like, that would be an extreme case. And usually it's a much more granular, like a slight difference in if they think that a wedding photography.

Wedding photographers homepage should be shown or more directories should be shown or

Corey: more

Dylan: wedding blogs, featuring examples of work in that city should be shown or things like that.

Corey: Yeah. So is it topic based? Is it entity based? Is it, you know, are they looking for information what's that kind of intent behind?

Dylan: Yeah. Yeah. And so that I think is always kind of shifting, Google's always looking for the. The answers that are going to solve the searchers problems best and what, what gives them the best user metrics

Corey: in the photography space? What I'll often see to kind of go along with what you're talking about.

There is that a query will start off showing blog posts and informational posts. And over time, Google will realize that they're looking for a photographer and then it will shift more to an entity based. Query. And if you're wondering what we're talking about with entity based versus topic based, I think we talked about that in the last episode when we were talking about cornerstone content, didn't we?

Yeah,

Dylan: we did. Yep. Covered that pretty well. Yeah. And I think, I mean, these, these are just really important to keep up with. I'm trying to think of some examples I've seen in the recent algorithm updates. I know that one that my site ranks for is the term, Best wedding blogs and like lots of different searches, kind of similar to that.

and Google is showing my list of wedding blogs. They used to show a featured snippet with like the top 10 wedding blogs. before that it was literally the actual wedding blogs ranking. So it was like green wedding shoes and style me pretty and. That kind of site that was ranking. So over time, Google has realized that people doing that search actually wanted a list of wedding blogs on a site and not just the individual wedding blogs themselves, which is kind of interesting, kind of a reverse entity based.

Yeah, that's true. That makes

Corey: sense. Yeah.

Dylan: yeah. Cool.

Corey: So what other types of hypotheses would you make? Yeah.

Dylan: So we have technical, we have site changes, competition, improving intention. I mean, outside of that, I would look at, does Google still trust the content of your site and you as a. Author, I guess, as an expert on the topic,

Corey: has Google turned their back on you?

Exactly.

Dylan: Which I mean, a harsh, a huge part of the algorithm is just trying to figure out is this a source of information that users can trust? is this information that, that we're comfortable showing users because by them ranking a site high in search results, that's kind of a. And approval of some sort that they've vetted this information yeah.

As being worthwhile.

Corey: if it's bad, their product is bad.

Dylan: Exactly. And so that, I mean, that's a huge, huge deal is like, just making sure that you're, you're showing to Google that you are a valid source of information that you're trustworthy, that you're not putting up just like blatantly false information or lies or I dunno.

Yeah. Thank you,

Corey: you know, there's one, one thing we haven't mentioned yet, that I see happen all the time here. if you see that you, your site is decreasing in ranking for a particular query, sometimes what will happen is. A different page on your site will be ranking instead. So you have cannibalization happening and Google is testing a new page on your site that thinks might also be relevant or more relevant for that query.

That's a really

Dylan: good point. I've seen that more times than I'd want to admit. Yeah. So I think that's so once you have these hypothesis, what then are you going to do with it?

Corey: Yeah, I think, you know, I'm going to go back to kind of the stuff we talked about in the very beginning, I'm going to start doing some more testing and poking and seeing whether or not I can find any evidence for my hypothesis, if sure.

If I can find that. Oh, yeah. It's clear that there's competition above me now. And the quality is better for their content or, Oh yeah. There's a possibility. The intent could have shifted here because now they're showing an image back where they weren't before or whatever the, you know, I'm going to go, I'm going to look at the actual server and I can do some competitive analysis I'm going to find out is that making sense?

And at that point, if I'm confirming. My feelings or my hypothesis, I would start by making one change at a time. And. Giving it another week or two to see how it impacts ranking. I will say though, this is an interesting point, too. It kind of goes back to some more testing I was doing on my site this year.

one time I saw drop analyzed, it came up with some thoughts on why it was dropping, made some changes, saw immediate recovery to some extent, like 60% recovery or something like that. And I was like, okay, I fixed it. Left it alone came back a month later and I was like, Oh crap. That fixed it for like two days.

And it went back down even further. So if you fix something or you make something worse, sometimes you really need to give it another week or two and check again. But you have to kind of keep checking in until you see like a constant, like it's back to where you expect it to be for a period of time, you know, weeks or something like

Dylan: that.

Yeah. One theory that a few people that I've talked to you in the past on much larger sites. But I think that the, I think that it's much easier to diagnose algorithm changes and ranking drops on a large site because you have so much data, you have so many pages, so many queries, so many rankings that you can really see trends.

but I think that the theory that is kind of like. I dunno, the best, best way to handle these drops right now is what they call the kitchen sink theory, where they throw the kitchen sink at the problem. If they see a massive algorithm change negatively affecting them interested, they're not just going to change like, Oh, I'm just going to change my page title structure.

They're going to say we're going to make better page titles. We're going to look at the. Way that all of our content is displayed. Like at the template level, we're going to improve performance. We're going to do a audit of our backlink profile to see if we need to work on it in any ways. and we're going to do as much as we possibly can in the next quarter, pretty much, so that when the next algorithm update hits, it hopefully responds positively to at least get out of the hole that they're in and hopefully, come out on top.

Corey: I think that's going to be the case if you're seeing a site-wide drop. Yeah. Oh, for sure. It's not any of those initial technical issues that we came up with, you know, like preventing Google from crawling your site. That's when you would want to do something like that. Kitchen sink. Yeah. Oh, you think, I mean, like if you're, if you have a one page that's tanked.

Dylan: Yeah.

Corey: If everything else is stable. Yeah. You don't want to make too many changes to your site. Probably. For sure.

Dylan: I a hundred percent agree.

Corey: Yep.

Dylan: Let's see here. Why

Corey: don't we talk a little bit about out, algorithm changes in general and I guess maybe where to get some reliable information about whether the algorithm has changed and what kind of sites it's impacting and what other SEO pros are seeing and saying about algorithm changes.

Dylan: Yeah. So there are a few tools that track. A basket of websites on a daily basis to get an idea of if there's a lot of churn in the algorithm, a lot of changes going on. a few of the favorites are , SEMrush sensor, and Mazda's Moz cast and we'll have links to all of these in the show notes, but they, they pretty much have different metrics.

Typically it's like a zero to a hundred scale or something like that, that, that just shows how, how much the algorithm is changing on that day. And if you see spikes, you're typically seeing it broad algorithm change.

Corey: Yeah. Yeah. Basically. I mean, just to kind of recap what you just said, in other words, these tools, let's say they are tracking a million sites or a hundred thousand sites or whatever they track.

Keywords and pages across those sites and they track position differences. And if there's, you know, the score at the end is huge differences and they give it a highly volatile score. So when you look at these actual understand exactly what we're talking about, but, some of them based on temperature or, or whatever, but it's just, it's interesting to see is, is this normal, like I'm seeing some swings today.

Is this just like the typical daily. Changes or is this like a really wild day when lots of people are seeing massive changes?

Dylan: Yeah. And I've used this in the past where. I didn't know there was an algorithm update and maybe it was like a month previous. And so I was able to look back at these different sites and see here's the date that my site traffic dropped and then compare it to those to see like, was there an algorithm update that date?

And many, many of these sets are interesting because they. They not only look at the web as a whole, but they'll look at specific categories. So you can just look at like arts and entertainment sites or something like that to see if they were specifically hit.

Corey: And that can be a good way to tell is the recent algorithm change specific to an industry because sometimes that happens, you'll see, like the medical industry gets affected or, you know, whatever.

Dylan: Yeah, totally. outside of those, a few Twitter accounts to follow, John Miller he's. search. Is he search liaison?

Corey: Can't remember the exact title. I can't remember that's him or Danny Sullivan. Yeah.

Dylan: He's he's just a good guy to follow on Twitter. He'll post, usually a funny gift or something. Every time there's a gal, Google algorithm, update videos.

I post like helpful information.

Corey: Yeah.

Dylan: He has a thing for banana photos. I don't know. You'll

Corey: also see him. Sometimes kind of confirming or denying certain things that other people are saying on Twitter. or like bring some sense back into silly conversations that SEO's are having on Twitter. He's a cool guy.

Just likes to like come in there and be like, okay guys, it's not like that. Or, yeah, you're right. There's definitely something happening. I can't say much about it, but there's something happening.

Dylan: the next one is Sistrix, which they're kind of like a commercial or like a larger scale version of H refs and SEMrush.

and they just have really good data on the web as a whole. And they typically tweet about algorithm updates in real time and what data they're seeing and what industries insights are affected. the next one is, search liaison and that's is that cuts? There's that Danny Sullivan,

Corey: Denise, that must be Sullivan.

Dylan: Yeah, cuts is cuts us out.

Corey: Now it's been up for awhile. All these new kids listening to our podcast are probably like who's cuts. If you're Oh, gee SEO. You know who cuts is droppers. Drop us a comment on this show notes and let us know if you, if you know, cuts can't, even though you're in the RG club,

Dylan: this accounts similar to John. But I think it's more official and we'll just post helpful information to read from the Google blog around updates and what might be affected.

Corey: So difference there between Danny and, John is that, Danny is based in the U S at the Google headquarters. Like he's in their main Google office.

He meets with executives of Google. Whereas John is based in. Switzerland. Yeah, Switzerland. And he might be a little bit more in touch with some of their developers who are working on specific projects or parts of Google, let's say image, search or search console. He seemed really buddy buddy with the search console guys.

Whenever I was at the Google event, they hung out the whole time. So, and they're from somewhere in the Europe as well. So like, That's there's some slight nuance and understanding like how they communicate is that John's going to be like, he knows more behind the scenes stuff with developers, whereas Danny's going to know like the vision of the company, that kind of thing.

Dylan: Yeah. And then the last tour I kind of picked was an actual, just SEO in New York. Her name is Lily Ray, and she just has really. Decent technical or like analysis of the data. so she'll, she'll get the Sistrix data as soon as there's an algorithm update and she'll just start pouring through it to see if she can see trends between the winners and losers.

And it's really good analysis and super time consuming. And I can't imagine spending that much time on it, but she does so nice. Yeah. Check that out.

Corey: Cool. I mean, there's some official information out there. Google has, You know, doc about core updates and what to look at if you've been affected by a core update.

We'll definitely link that in the show notes as well. It's very interesting reading it before the seventh. I'm like, why do I not review this more often? This is like a perfect little SEO audit checklist. It's really

Dylan: totally. Yeah. It's amazing. So I hope that's helpful. you should now have a good idea of what to look for if you.

Open your SEO edge some morning and see some drops across the board or certain single pages effected.

Corey: Yeah, you've got a good starting point. And now you can do some of your own self analysis and give it a little bit of time before you jump into our group and ask questions, but we still are there for you for that.

Right? You can still come into the fuel, your photos group. especially in our course group, if you're a course member, we're, you know, very active at answering those kinds of questions. And for our course members, even looking at search console with them to try to figure out what's going on. but yeah, for sure, seek help in these different communities if you get stuck.

But hopefully this is going to give you some direction where you can come to the conversation with some data and some sources and some hypothesis, and then maybe someone else can give you some outside insight. If you get stuck.

Dylan: Awesome. Don't forget to subscribe and give our podcast a nice little five star rating.

If you wouldn't mind. And we'll be back next Friday with another episode.

All right. See you then.

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