Google Algorithm Shifts: Why You Need an SEO Company

Friday, 07 August 2015 18:01


Google Algorithm Shifts
Two pretty significant Google algorithm updates in late April and early May illustrated just how important it can be to have lots of information to compare when doing SEO, and may have implications for how openly SEOs communicate with each other in the future. While “Mobilegeddon” received the most attention, for most of our clients, this actually was the less significant of the two algorithmic shifts. Beginning May 1-2, we noticed a large shift for many of our clients. There was very little buzz on the usual industry sites that we check initially, and no official word from Google, in accordance with their new policy. Google had recently informed outlets that except for larger updates they want webmasters to focus on, such as “Mobilegeddon,” they were going to be much more tight lipped about algorithmic shifts.

Eventually, however, enough SEOs compared notes to determine that, yes, some sort of algorithmic shift had taken place, and it seemed to have centered on content. Many in the industry are referring to it as the “Phantom Update.” (Perhaps this is because its existence not been officially acknowledged by Google.) Although Google has not officially given us much of an indication what, if anything, happened on May 1, our analysis, and that of others in the industry that we trust, give us a great deal of confidence that there was a significant update, and a reasonably high level of confidence that it hurt sites that were “content thin.”

What to Learn From the Algorithm Shift

This update was important for a couple of reasons. Once again, it reinforced the industry mantra that good “Content is King.” Second, this may show a new trend in the industry – algorithmic updates that are not disclosed by Google, but which are discovered, diagnosed and disseminated by SEOs for SEOs. What’s more, this under-the-radar shift was potentially as significant as the highly publicized one.

This certainly puts do-it-yourself SEOs at a disadvantage. With a sample size of one, it is very difficult to detect and analyze a trend, as opposed to an SEO company with data from multiple clients to compare. It may lead to industry leaders becoming more collaborative about their findings, since they have only one another, and not Google, to confirm their suspicions.

On the other hand, it may lead to SEOs playing it closer to the vest. If they figure out the substance of an algorithmic shift, which is likely to take a little time and effort, they may regard this nugget of truth as a valuable commodity to be guarded jealously and not shared with potential competitors. It may even lead to new partnerships between industry leaders to share SEO data and insights.

Should Google persist in being non-communicative with their algorithmic shifts, it will be interesting to see what effect, if any, this has in how open SEOs are with one another. With the “Mobilegeddon Update,” Google deliberately tried to change the digital skyline by making things more mobile-friendly. With the “Phantom Update” algorithm shift, Google may unintentionally be changing the friendliness and collaboration between SEOs.
— Derrick DeYarman, Director of National Account Strategies