Slave to the Algorithms

If you’re ever tempted to think: “I don’t need to learn any more about managing my website, I just need to get on with it”, think again. According to this research, Google made an algorithm update every 3 hours last year. We can all be certain of one thing: whatever the rules were 12 months ago, they’re different now.

Apparently, there have been 8 major algorithm updates between March and September this year, including 3 ‘broad core’ ones, which change a wide range of factors. These are often to ‘fix’ unintended consequences of earlier changes. Of course, it’s impossible to continually identify each one and react to it – instead, we need to be aware of the broad themes in SEO and to work on those. For some time now, website speed has been a consistently important theme, and I’d advise prioritising that, for sure. Moving some of my sites on to a faster server this summer has had a positive effect overall, and it hasn’t increased my hosting costs.

That said (and I’m sure this is unrelated), I’ve noticed a lot of individual page performance changes recently. Some have been doing much better and others worse; this wouldn’t be apparent just by looking at overall site traffic totals – some digging down in Google Analytics and (especially) Google Search Console has been necessary to see what’s been happening.

And then they’ll change the rules again…