May 11


How to tell if Google is going through an Algorithm Update

By Jason Khoo

May 11, 2020


Hi guys, and welcome to another edition of Zupo's SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation is how to know if Google had an algorithm update. This is a really important conversation when it comes to SEO because SEO is all about optimizing for Google search engines. So generally you want to know if they're updating their algorithm because it can really affect if your site is ranked number one or if it's removed from Google.

Now, before we jump in, of course, I want to introduce the tea we have. It's called the Mystic Dragon. It's now been on here for the fourth time because I actually like it enough that I'm going to keep drinking it. It's pretty fruity for a tea and I actually enjoy that fruitiness, but anyways, let's get brewing and talking about conversation. So anyways, how can you tell if Google was going through an algorithm update?

So a lot of people, the reason why I think I want to have this video and have this conversation is because I've talked with many businesses and websites over the years, and generally they'll tell me like, "Overnight, our ranking has dropped and there was an algorithm update and they screwed us and we're not getting any business anymore," and so on and so forth. Now there's a clear differentiation though. There can be algorithm updates and then there can also be just Google updating on a small scale. Your site can drop in a ranking without an algorithm update. So the best way to understand is Google does make modifications to their search results almost on a daily level, therefore your rankings will fluctuate every single day. And so your site can be dinged on a day that they're not having an algorithm update and that's very normal.

But why I want to make the differentiation between algorithm updates and just normal algorithm fluctuation is that an algorithm update is something from Google where they are making a widespread change. That might be something in their algorithm, it might be something in their formula. It is something that will have a lasting impact across a lot of different websites, right? And so when they have an algorithm update, that means entire industries of websites can be jostled around or removed from the first page and then other ones take their place. Algorithm updates usually are seen as something where if you're managing logical websites, it can affect many at once. Where if you're managing just one website, generally you don't see all your websites get fluctuate like crazy on one day, unless it's a Google algorithm update, but you can see one website drop or go out, drop or go up. Even in a drastic sense, you can see your site go down four pages, it go up three pages. That can happen even without an algorithm update.

So how to tell Google is having an algorithm update is there's many tools that exist out there that you can use. Some of the popular ones include SEMrush. I think Moz has one called MozCast, and I think there's a couple more. I don't know their names off the top of my head. I think one is like SEO Ranger or something. I'll have to check it out. I'll add it into YouTube notes so that you can reference them yourself. There's a lot of different tools out there that exists to monitor Google's rankings, and what they measure for is if they see widespread ranking changes, then that's an indicator that Google might be going through an algorithm update. If they don't see very much, it's almost like an earthquake meter. If they don't see very much, then there's confidence that there's no algorithm update going on.

So what I would like to do is generally, I like to just check on a weekly to monthly level. These different tools, I generally use a combination, SEMrush and Moz, to just see what their reports are saying. I generally like to cross reference across multiples softwares because, again, Google does not sanction or I guess like support any of these tools, so they can be a little bit off. They're not really in conjunction with each other. So generally what I like to see is I like to cross reference with multiple and if they all kind of say, "Hey, there's a lot of movement," then I can be more sure that there's Google algorithm updates. But of course, Google has made it a little bit easier. They have started to announce algorithm updates where they'll roll it out and they will usually announce it like a day before. So that's also another easy way to know if an algorithm update is happening.

So another way to do is there's a lot of great articles out there and publications whose sole job is to give instantaneous news about SEO and Google, which you can go and look at. I think their publication is called Search Engine Roundtable. Generally, they're always the first one on top professors of Google algorithm update. So you can go on their website to verify as well.

So that's how you can tell if there's a Google algorithm update happening. Again, it's not something based on few, just on one site. You need to have much more data to understand if they're having a widespread update. And if there is a Google algorithm update, there are different implications if your site has dropped on an algorithm update. I'll go into what you do if you are affected by the algorithm update in a different video, but hopefully that will help first, determine for you, if you see your site fluctuating, how to determine if it's a algorithm update or if it's just normal SEO fluctuations.

I hope again, that was valuable. I think there's a lot of confusion when it comes to algorithm updates. I'm going to go ahead and pour out my tea. If you guys found the video valuable, please like and subscribe. And I hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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