Did Your Organic Ranking Tank? We know why…

This is a safe place, can we all agree on that? Great, then it’s ok to admit the word “algorithm” mystifies you — perplexes you — even scares you a little bit.

So, when you hear Google is updating its algorithm it can cause fear, panic, and the like. Google has admitted to a March 2019 update that actually LOST entire web pages from its index. Gone. Poof. And the effect on organic rankings was HUGE.

In March 2019, Google did what it called a “Broad Core update” – meaning Google is not “fixing” something directly, or even addressing specific industries or areas of need – but rather, creating and implementing more sweeping adjustments to organic searches.

As one tech blogger explained it:

Broad core updates are improvements to Google’s overall algorithm for the purpose of better understanding search queries and webpages. These improvements help Google to more accurately match search queries to webpages and improve user satisfaction.

Everybody, Stay Calm!

Did you feel that? Did your site feel the full brunt of the digital earthquake? Or maybe you just felt a little aftershock. Either way, Google’s “advancements” truly hurt many sites’ rankings about a month after the update’s release.

On April 7th, Google tweeted:

We’re aware of indexing issues that impacted some sites beginning on Friday. We believe the issues are mostly resolved and don’t require any special efforts on the part of site owners. We’ll provide another update when the issues are considered fully resolved.

We won’t bore you with the nerdy details to indexes, search impacts, etc. etc. – but basically Google admitted “Houston, we have a problem.”

Here at RPS we experienced it on our own site. One day we’re trending along, enjoying the top spot in our market for the organic keywords we’ve identified in our marketing strategy, and then the proverbial bottom dropped out. It was easy to recognize, and virtually impossible to explain.

We saw the same trend in several client websites as well. Even after efforts to optimize, the organic search metrics didn’t seem to follow a logical pattern. We weren’t rattled, but rather challenged ourselves to find out why. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mystery, BUT not without an explanation or a resolution. (Every good mystery movie ends by solving the mystery — haven’t they ever seen an episode of Scooby Doo?!)

Oh, that algorithm, it’ll get ya every time! And, just like it seemed to “get us” for a time, we’ve been digging in to deeper understand the update and its aftermath. Google is not really in the practice of explaining in depth the reasons behind updates, or the predicted effects. Sometimes they just drop an update and see if anyone notices.

We Will Rebuild

So, how do you overcome the aftershock of the Broad Core update of March 2019?

First, know that Google has since come out an assured the web community that it is reindexing sites already, and you can directly ask for Google to index your site. Not a great solution for sites with a lot of volume, but an option nonetheless.  

The dust will supposedly settle. Google is quick to assure it’s back to business as usual… but we’re a little more proactive than that. We trust the system but also believe in strategy implementation for the win.

We don’t believe major adjustments are ultimately your best move. Instead, we believe there’s value in monitoring. Organic rankings are the long-game in an often frantic, mile-a-minute digital marketplace. Craft a solid strategy, modify as needed, and remain calm.

We’ll get through this, together.

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