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Tools to Diagnose Impact of Google Algo Updates - Google Algorithm Changes & Updates Part Three
Monday, July 05, 2010
In our final installment of our series on Google Algorithm Updates and Changes we look at various tools that you can use to help diagnose whether or not your site has been impacted by a recent Google update. As mentioned previously, Google makes upwards of 500 changes per year to their algorithm. Some of these changes will have no impact on your site while others may have a significant impact.

Google Algorithm Changes & Updates 2010: Part One - Inventory of Google Algorithm & Related Updates for the first half of 2010.
Google Algorithm Changes & Updates 2010: Part Two - Dealing with Algorithm Updates & Search Engine Changes

So how do you know whether or not your site has been affected by recent algorithm updates by Google?  Before we get into our list of tools to help diagnose the impact of an algorithm update on your site, we should remind you that providing that your site follows best practices and that you purposely do not employ tactics to manipulate the search engines, you really should have nothing to worry about.  Of course, there have been examples where major Google updates have impacted a large number of sites on the Web including those that attempted to follow proper best practices and such.  The lesson here is that for the most part, site owners are at the mercy of the search engine algorithms, and while Google is not God, they will have the ultimate say as to what one website appears where it does in the Google search results.  Google is not perfect, they know that.  That is why the continue to update their algorithms.  It is about continuous improvement and striving to deliver the most relevant results to a user based on a given keyword query.  It is not easy to organize the World's information and you cannot fault Google for trying to accomplish this.  Quite honestly they have done an amazing job.

Ok so you have heard that there are rumors that Google has just launched and algorithm update.  Here are ten tools that you can use to help diagnose if the algorithm update has had an impact on your site.

10 Tools to Help Diagnose the Impact of a Google Algorithm Update on Your Site
  1. Google - might as well start at the source.  Try a couple of your favorite searches for related keywords that well represent your site that you know your site had placed well for.  Is your site still appearing in the Google SERPs for these phrases?  Try searches for a variety of terms including variations of head/torso and long-tail keywords.

  2. Your Web Analytics - check your organic search traffic in your analytics.  Notice any interesting trends?  You should have a general idea about your most popular pages and key phrases.  Are you noticing increases or declines for these metrics?  It is always a good idea to compare month over month or year over year to get an idea of the amount of traffic that your site should be receiving in a given time frame.  If your site has experienced a significant decline in rankings or traffic after a reported algorithm update, your analytics can help diagnose when this change occurred.

  3. Google Webmaster Tools - www.google.com/webmasters - This is by far one of the best tools that you can use to diagnose issues with your site.  You can review crawl errors, meta data issues, linking inventories, etc.  Google Webmaster Tools provides you with detailed reports about your pages' visibility on Google.  You should be logging in regularly to monitor how Google is viewing your site.

  4. Google Webmaster Help Forum - http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters.   Learn about crawling, indexing and ranking issues from other site owners and  learn about building search-engine-friendly sites and diagnosing issues with your site's crawling, indexing or ranking.

  5. Google Webmaster Guidelines - http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769.  Feel free to revisit this from time to time to ensure that you are employing the tactics and best practices that Google suggests will help your site gain a presence within Google's SERPs.

  6. Google Webmaster Checklist - http://www.google.com/webmasters/checklist/. This is a quick little checklist developed by Google to help site owners properly set up their Google Webmaster Tools accounts which again can be used to diagnose site issues as a result of a Google Algorithm update.

  7. Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide: A detailed guide to best practices in search engine optimization, with plenty of illustrations and examples.

  8.  Matt Cutts' Blog - http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/. Popular Googler Matt Cutts tends to chime in after major Google algorithm updates and provides insight into best practices to consider.  While often cryptic in nature, Matt does often provide some clarity and tends to respond quickly to the comments for a given post.  Sometime Matt even reaches out to folks for their thoughts on algorithm issues as seen with this post.

  9. Google Webmaster Central Blog - http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com. Google does a great job with their blogs.  They have a lot of different blogs as we illustrated in our top 50 Google blogs post from a while back.  Posts such as this one can be very helpful when learning about infrastructure or algorithm updates.

  10. Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp.  Another great source of information on Google algorithm updates can be found here.  A great example is this response from Matt Cutts on the recent Google "MayDay" Update.

Sometimes your website may lose it’s rankings because of an algorithm change. Sometimes Google makes a change to it’s algorithm that can impact your website, the rules do change and it is important to stay on top of these algorithm changes.  The above tools and resources can be used to help diagnose if your site has indeed been impacted by a Google algorithm update.


posted by Jody @ Monday, July 05, 2010  
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Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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