Algorithm recovery has become a hot topic in recent years, ever since the search engine started to be more transparent about publicising major changes to its search ranking algorithms.
Google algorithms change on a daily basis, new websites are crawled and indexed, and old pages are deleted, so some jostling of SERP rankings is inevitable.
But a Core Algorithm Update represents a significant change, often based on a specific ranking factor like page load speed, and if your website content is quite consistent that can lead to a large number of your pages being affected.
How to recover from Google Core Algorithm Updates
We’ll look at some top tips for recovering from Google Core Algorithm Updates below, but the first thing to recognise is that there isn’t a quick fix — there’s no single meta tag or technical tweak that will get back your SERP rankings from a week ago.
All you can really do is understand what aspect of your website makes it less appealing to the new algorithm, and implement sensible changes that not only help to regain your rankings, but also future-proof your site by including high-quality content.
Top 10 ways to recover from Google Core Algorithm Updates
In no particular order, here are ten ways to recover if you have been hit by the latest Google Core Algorithm Update:
E-A-T stands for expertise, authority and trust, and it’s about making sure Google considers your website to be an authoritative source of information.
An example of this from the recent past was Google’s inclusion of rel=”author” metadata as a ranking factor a few years ago.
This has now been deprecated but alternatives like rel=”canonical” allow you to point Google to the definitive version of a page, especially for information that appears in several places on your site.
2. Trust signals
So-called ‘trust signals’ can show authority too. These may include industry awards and memberships like blogging circles.
Clearly displaying this can help you to show your site as trustworthy, so don’t be afraid to put that rosette jpeg proudly in your side navigation menu or page footer.
3. Bad ads
You might rely on advertising revenue to fund your site, but don’t do so at the expense of user experience.
If your page layout is heavily dominated by ads up top or you have ads that overlay the page content, you could be penalised in your SERP rankings.
4. Good ad policies
As well as displaying ads in a user-focused way, be clear about the advertising and sponsorship on your site, for example, if a page includes product placement or affiliate links.
This is another indicator of trust and has been linked with some websites ranking well; for bloggers and social media influencers it also keeps you in line with recent advertising rules.
5. Sales speak
Most websites are trying to sell something or other, even if they do so via affiliate links and paid ad placements.
But landing pages stuffed with excessively salesy-sounding content generally do not do as well as they did in years gone by, so be very careful about integrating marketing ‘calls to action’ (CTAs) more naturally into pages that offer real inherent value to visitors.
6. Consensus of opinion
Websites that contradict common opinion without good support often do worse in SERP rankings, so, for example, you might find far more results about conventional medicine than holistic medicine, depending on how specific your search is.
It’s not always possible to say exactly what everybody else is saying, but the message seems to be that if you can toe that line, you should.
7. Hide obsolete content
If your early content wasn’t up to scratch, don’t let it bring down the perceived quality of your entire domain.
Old and obsolete content can be hidden from the search engines using a noindex meta tag, so that even if you don’t want to delete your early archive, you can show Google’s search robots that it’s not intended to be treated as canonical anymore.
Find out more about hiding your content from search engines in this article.
8. Local results for local people
Google treats certain keywords as ‘local’, for example, it assumes that some product names are an indication that the user is looking for a nearby supplier or a place to buy that item.
If your website is heavily dominated by these, implement a local SEO strategy on a regional, national or even international level so that you’re providing content that targets the relevant geographical markets.
You might also want to check, correct and update your Google Maps pushpin as required so you’re appearing on the map results for those queries.
9. Technical tweaks
It’s worth revisiting technical SEO if your rankings have dropped, just to make sure your pages are crawled and indexed correctly.
Google Search Console will often inform you of any specific problems with indexing and ranking your website.
Your Analytics data can also help you to identify broken links and slow page loading speeds, which are relatively easy to fix by redirecting the link or using ‘lazy’ image loading.
10. Content quality
This is last but it’s definitely not least. Good-quality content is probably the single best way to future-proof your website, especially compared with quick fixes that could be wiped out in the next Google Core Algorithm Update.
Publish well researched, well-written information that is genuinely useful to your users. Longer pages often do well but it’s quality over quantity — even a relatively short but authoritative page on a topic can rank well.