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Google’s core algorithm updates continually shape the search engine landscape, bringing both opportunities and challenges. Understanding these updates is crucial for people engaged in the digital world, and let’s be honest, most people are engaged in one way or another. This article will help guide you through core updates, offering insights on what to look for and how to respond.

Understanding Google’s Core Updates

Google’s search algorithm is always changing, but it tends to roll out 3-4 core updates throughout the year. These updates refine search results, ensuring making sure they’re relevant and good quality for the user. This pattern helps Google keep pace with the dynamic nature of user needs and online content. High street stores change for the seasons, Google changes for the benefit of their users Here are some examples of previous core algorithm updates, directly from Google.

Preparation before a Core Update

Proper preparation for a core update is foundational to your SEO success. In theory, if you approach SEO the right way, you’re less likely to be negatively impacted by core updates and may even be positively impacted. Here’s how you can prepare:

Monitor Google’s announcements

Staying informed about upcoming updates helps you prepare and adapt. Subscribe to and follow official Google accounts for up to the minute updates.

Screenshot of Google Core Algorithm Update announcement on their official Twitter account.

Follow Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines

Google’s Search Quality Raters Quality Guidelines are your secret to success! Adhering to the principles will align your site with Google’s objectives, potentially improving rankings. Regularly review and follow. Another handy way to keep up to date is reading them as well.

Build a solid SEO foundation

Having a robust and correct SEO foundation can future-proof your site from updates. If you build a house, you need solid foundations, a website should be no different! While some aspects may need tweaking, a strong base will cover the essentials. Focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to users. Ensure technical SEO aspects, such as site speed, mobile optimisation, and proper linking structure, are in place. Regularly audit your site to identify areas for improvement.

Assess historical performance and trends

Understanding how previous updates affected your site can provide insights into areas that may be vulnerable or opportunities to make it even better. Analyse traffic and ranking data around previous update periods. Look for patterns and make necessary adjustments.

Collaborate and communicate

SEO is a collaborative effort. Keeping your team and stakeholders informed means everyone will be working to the same end results, and that a plan is in place. . Regular meetings, clear documentation and procedures, along with open communication will foster the best team spirit for collaboration.

Emphasise User Experience (UX)

Google’s updates often focus on improving user experience. Positive UX means you’ll align your site with this goal. Regularly test and optimise site usability, layout, and content relevance. Seek user feedback and make continuous improvements.

By focusing on these areas, you’re not only prepared for core updates but have set your site up with best practices that drive long-term success. Preparation isn’t just about weathering updates; it’s about building a resilient and effective online presence for your visitors.

What to Do During the Rollout

Avoid hasty changes

Wait for a bit! Although Google is good at communicating when updates happen, they don’t always say to what extent. It’s common for them to be rolled out at different times depending on where you’re located, for instance, the US is usually first. Moving too quickly or making impulsive reactions may lead to complications further down the line. Take time, observe the immediate effects, and gather data to make well-informed decisions.

Monitor traffic and keywords

Utilise tools like Google Search Console and GA4. Monitor overall changes in organic search, including competitors. Understanding what’s changed and what hasn’t, provides a comprehensive view of the update’s impact.

Post-Update analysis and actions

Analyse the impact

Employ tools to delve into the specifics of how the update affects your site. A data-based understanding helps in crafting a tailored response. Remember, your website and even your industry may not be impacted at all! We love using Ahrefs for this and in particular the Organic Keyword report. Within that, you can see a timeline of yours and your competitors keyword ranking over time. This makes it really easy to see who’s profited from an update and who hasn’t.


A screenshot from Ahrefs showing keyword rankings on a line chart for 4 competitors

Identify areas for improvement

Scrutinise content that now outperforms yours. Pinpoint what aligns the competition more closely with Google’s criteria, using their guidelines. This may uncover aspects of content quality or user engagement that need to be made better. Always ask yourself this, how can this content be more helpful to my audience?

Make methodical changes

Thoughtful adjustments, guided by careful analysis and data, can make a significant difference. If you change everything at once, finding out what works, and what hasn’t will be much harder. Focus on areas identified for improvement and always optimise for people, not search engines.


Google’s core updates, which may be daunting, need not be a source of worry.

Adequate preparation, watching carefully through rollouts, and methodical post-update actions, means you can navigate the changes with confidence.

Always choosing SEO best practice, understanding the broader landscape, and applying methodical changes will help you align your website with Google’s objectives. All of this means you can turn updates into opportunities for growth and continuous improvement, with a resilient website.

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