Navigating Google’s Frequent Algorithm Updates

Written By: Shannon Young
Edited By: Clint Butler
Published On: December 5, 2023 

Google’s frequent algorithm updates have been rolling out in quick succession since August. Some in the SEO community are understandably feeling concerned. As we move into December with another broad update, uncertainty is everywhere.

Should SEOs Be Worried?

Caution is warranted, but panic is unproductive. The short answer is yes and no. I know what you’re thinking; another "it depends" moment, but not entirely. I’m not here to start scaremongering. However, some things are happening that we all need to be mindful of.

Google’s frequent algorithm updates can create instability. Fluctuations in search visibility, including sites appearing twice or vanishing from results, have occurred. Some authoritative sites now rank surprisingly low, possibly unintended casualties.

Such volatility signals Google's evolving priorities regarding "quality." Their rapid pace likely relates to escalating issues around artificial intelligence (AI) and content. Facing an explosion of AI-generated content of varying quality, Google is aggressively and repeatedly trying to stay ahead.

In this environment, even well-meaning sites risk getting caught in the crossfire of Google's sweeping algorithmic maneuvers. Google has long viewed SEOs warily, believing past optimization practices exploited loopholes. The tech giant now seems intent on undermining some standard SEO techniques.

Yes, We Should Be Worried About The Updates

Just like with any significant disruption, there will always be unintended casualties. That's why you should be worried as an SEO. You get randomly caught up in one of these broad core updates for some minor issue and become collateral damage.

Google sees SEOs as a nuisance. For too long, we've gamed the SERPs through clever tricks instead of paying for ads like respectable businesses. We've made money in niches some know nothing about while exploiting loopholes. Well, in Google's eyes, enough is enough!

I recently saw someone in an SEO forum ask: "I want to start a cooking blog using AI-generated recipes and stock photos so I don't have to cook. Can I do that?"

This attitude right here is what's fueling Google's aggressive algorithmic shakedowns targeting our industry. And who knows where it will end?

So yes, be concerned if you care about your site's search visibility. Be very concerned. Google has SEOs in their crosshairs with no signs of letting up. Our livelihoods are at stake if we don't adapt.

No, Some Of Us Shouldn’t Get Too Concerned About Core Updates

Notice how I said some of us. The expert SEOs will weather the storm and adjust and adapt with Google. We are already starting to see people doing this.

Staying relevant amid Google's updates requires adapting to their increased focus on E.A.T's "expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness" signals.

Ensure your site offers unique value. Avoid overuse of AI content, emphasizing human editorial quality control. Diversify traffic sources so you don't rely entirely on volatile organic search. 

What Should SEOs Do?

Google is updating its algorithms more rapidly than ever before. To combat what they see as threats to search quality, SEOs face a pivotal moment. Those adapting to Google's intense focus on E.E.A.T content will remain viable. Those who cling to outdated tactics perceived as "shortcutting" may see traffic plummet overnight.

Realigning with Google's shifting quality standards requires effort. However, this offers a significant upside. Here are some practical steps you can take.

Double down on editorial processes that ensure your content provides unique value. Rather than chasing volume. If you must use any AI-generated content, exert maximum human oversight.

Monitor Google algorithm news closely and evaluate whether site improvements may be leveraged when major updates roll out. Be plugged into SEO communities to stay ahead of changes.

Brainstorm valuable viewpoints that set you apart, such as exclusive real-world research or data products for subscribers. Help Google understand what makes your work indispensable.

The Final Word

The path forward undoubtedly poses headaches for SEOs as Google shakes the terrain. But for those able to evolve amid the upheaval, ample opportunity awaits. Sites that successfully distinguish themselves through diverse, unique, must-read content. They will not only weather the storm, but they will flourish in the long run. When navigating Google’s frequent algorithm updates, choose progress over panic.

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