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This Week In SEO 92
More Algorithm Updates, Content Quality, How Long it Takes to Rank, & More


Another Algorithm Update (Probably!)

Eventually these won’t be newsworthy anymore with the frequency they keep happening…

Okay, probably not. It’s always a big deal when Google drops an algorithm update like a diss track aimed at your website.

I am seeing signs both within the search community and from the automated tracking tools of an update with Google’s search results going on right now. The interesting thing is about 50% of the tools are reporting on the algorithm update and the other are not. Maybe Google is doing a 50/50 test on a new algorithm?

SERP/algorithm tracking site evidence:

Cognitive SEO:



SEO Tip: Some Crappy Pages are Hurting Your Overall Quality

Have your rankings been raked over the coals from the end of summer to now? Every week or two, your keywords look like this:

I’ve said it a bunch, but it’s so critical I’ma post about it again:

Google’s John Mueller has explained a number of times that if you are seeing a decrease in rankings during algorithm updates, and over the long-term, then it could mean that Google’s quality algorithms might not be convinced that your site is the best possible result for users. I would even go a step further and say it also includes user experience.

But that’s not the real point of the post, I just want to really make sure you get how important quality has become!

No, this is about how ALL the pages on your site (not just those balla “write epic shit” posts) contribute to your site’s quality score.

So from what we’ve been told, Panda is still a site-level score, which then can impact specific pieces of content based on query. That means site-level quality is still evaluated, which also means that all content on the site is evaluated. And remember, John has said that ALL pages indexed are taken into account by Google’s quality algorithms.


Time to Ranking

Hey, shout out to 2015, this post presents its information via infographic.


Links, probably.

Anyway, since it’s hard to quote from an infographic, I took a screen shot of the relevant section.

As you can probably imagine, one of the top 3 questions we get asked by people interested in signing up with us for our amazing link building abilities, is how long will it be until they start ranking on page one.

The answer to this depends on, like, 1,000 different things (age of the page you’re trying to rank, keyword competitiveness, etc.), but it helps to manage expectations by looking at some data:

TL;DR: Older pages dominate the front page of the SERPs for many keywords. Google has about zero incentive to let newer pages (unproven in trust and authority) slip into the top spot with some clever SEO tricks unless it’s a niche that strives on time-sensitve content. Unfortunately. 🙂


Recovering From Penalties

So your organic traffic tanked–it’s probably a Google penalty, right?

Maybe you stopped investing in SEO but your competitors didn’t.

Maybe your keyword is seasonal but you didn’t realize it.

Maybe the search volume went away cuz no one’s searching for fidget spinners anymore..

But yeah, most likely it’s a penalty.

So what now?

Actually, this post is pretty helpful, and gives you a road map to follow, like confirming if it was actually a penalty or something else:

If you don’t have at least two years’ worth of search referral data (three years is better) you may mistake a normal seasonal change in traffic for the effects of a confirmed, verified search algorithm update. You should proceed cautiously because you could seriously hurt your site’s search optimization for one or more search engines if you jump to the wrong conclusion.

While I may not agree with every single thing in the post (different approaches to SEO), this is still a great resource, and I recommend following the steps if you think you’ve been penalized.


Google, On Disavows

See the post before this to help figure out if you’ve actually gotten penalized. Interesting stuff!

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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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