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Sea Change: Riding the Waves of SERP Volatility

August 29, 2018
Erik Hinds

Google constantly updates their algorithm, which can have drastic effects on your rankings.

If you are running a modern digital marketing program, then organic search position is likely very important to attracting new business with the highest return on investment (ROI.)

Google is constantly tweaking the ranking factors, and sometimes they go beyond just little tweaks. Some changes are what they call a “broad core algorithm update.”

These major updates occur several times a year. Sometimes, you may be a beneficiary of a big boost in search rankings and an influx of traffic.

You’ll ride their wave and this update could propel you forward.

Other times, your rankings significantly change for the worse. Your SEO ship has capsized.

Great Poseidon! Why do they do this?

Google continues to refine its algorithms over time so it can be a better search engine for users. Their goal is to get the most relevant results to the searcher.

Keep in mind that the way people are searching and the types of results served are also evolving. For example, over the last few years we have seen a big jump in mobile queries and voice search.

Google is constantly pulling data, figuring out which results generated in clicks and which did not. Trends are noticed and adjustments are made.

Monitoring the High Seas

So, how do we know when one of these waves of change to search engine results pages (SERP) will come crashing down? We don’t. Ever.

Unfortunately, Google does not send out a fair warning ahead of time. If you are diligent and check every day, you can use several tools to track SERP volatility

SEMRush

SEMRush provides a free volatility monitor showing major and minor updates. They also categorize the winners and losers from major updates.

https://www.semrush.com/sensor

SEMRush has premium options available for deeper insights.

RankRanger

RankRanger also monitors Google SERP fluctuations. We always recommend checking multiple sources to confirm index volatility.

https://www.rankranger.com/rank-risk-index

BrightEdge

While BrightEdge does not monitor SERP volatility, it does monitor keyword positions and can alert you to anomalies (both good and bad).

Screenshot of BrightEdge SEO tool

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat

Q: How do I fix my rankings after an algorithm update?

A: There is no fix, per se. What you should focus on is creating top notch content that fits your target’s needs while following SEO & web dev best practices.

According to Google…

Screenshot of Google SearchLiaison Tweets

The best thing you can do is build a solid ship to carry you across the search ocean. The foundation of the ship is built on best practices: secure, mobile friendly, page speed, page titles, links, etc.

Content will be the engine that drives your ship. The more quality content you feed the ship, the better position you’ll be in.

Do you need some help navigating the rough waters of SEO, content development and website best practices? Let our team help!

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