If your Google rankings are important to you (and they should be), you might want to look out for the results of an update coming before the end of the year. Now, according to these people (who obsess over Google even more than I do), there are 500 to 600 search algorithm changes a year, so you might be thinking: “So what?” Well, this is a major one, in a series called ‘Penguin’, which will affect sites with bad ‘link profiles’. It’s also thought that it will be the last such step change in the series, with future updates being on a continuous basis.
Will this affect you? It’s highly unlikely, if you’re just a normal site with a normal ‘link profile’, or pattern of links to your site. The main impact of these updates has been to heavily penalise sites which have an unrealistic number of links to them, probably built up over years by dodgy SEO techniques. For some time now, Google has given these sites the opportunity to ‘disavow’ such links, so what we might see will be a few more sites dropping out of the Google search results and a few returning. So even if the update doesn’t affect you directly, you may find you move up or down in the rankings due to the movements of others.
We run a free service for our clients, monitoring positions in the Google results, which can be a useful early warning of changes. However, if you want to analyse how well you’re doing in the search engines, it’s all about measuring what they’re actually doing for you. And that means charting the visitors sent. In Google Analytics, just go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and click on “google/organic”. Select the last year, and add in “compare to previous year” to see whether things are going up or down. There’s an even more sophisticated report here.