Forecasting For The Future: How to Track Google Algorithm Updates -

Forecasting For The Future: How to Track Google Algorithm Updates

Google changes its search algorithm about 500 to 600 times a year, with about 12 major updates in the past year. This means that they make changes at LEAST once a day, if not more.  Those in the SEO world are probably familiar with the two of the most recent updates: The “Medic Core” update and the Mobile Speed update which came out in July and August of this year.  Search Engine Journal states that 3 of the most important updates in the past 2 years are the Broad Core Algorithm update, Maccabees, and one simply called “Fred”.  There are three things to remember when an update happens (1) don’t panic, (2) wait to react, and (3) read credible sources and make adjustments where necessary. You definitely want to track the major updates, just don’t make yourself crazy trying to do so.

Read more in: What to do if your Google Ranking drops

The important thing to remember is while staying on top of algorithm updates is important, there are always other things to consider alongside of these news updates.

Why You Should Care about Algorithm Updates

Google Algorithm updates are increasingly important to consider in the SEO world. While you do not need to pay attention to every little update that Google has—which would be overwhelming and verging on impossible, especially for small business marketers, it is important to keep tabs on the top sites and most important updates. In reality, the most important updates are really what impact businesses the most. Keeping on top of algorithm updates can help you address flaws and adjustments you might need to make in your digital marketing strategy. Many digital marketers start out by reading every little update and trying to recognize the impact, but the key is really knowing what is most important and seeking out guidance for how it might impact your business in consideration of the whole of Google Search engine impact.

BUT Algorithm Updates Aren’t Everything…

That being said, algorithm updates are not the end all be all of SEO for company websites. It is important to remember that when you see a significant change in traffic you need to consider all possibilities. Have you changed your normal behavior with content in some way (Frequency of blogging, etc)? Are you having issues with your mobile site or load times on your site because of new content you have added? Is your website optimized to the best of your ability? While you absolutely want to consider how new algorithm updates might impact your business, you also want to make sure you don’t use them as a scapegoat for other flaws in your digital marketing strategy.

How to Track Google Algorithm Updates

Now that we have considered the important aspects of Google Algorithm updates, let’s take a look into how to track them and recognize what is most important in a constant feed of changes, adjustments, and new material. There are a few different sites that you can go to to see Google Algorithm updates, and we cover them here:

The Google Webmaster Central Blog

The Google Webmaster Central Blog is a great place to find out about any major changes Google plans on launching, including major algorithm updates.  In the past this is where the news was launched about Panda, Penguin, and the Page Layout algorithm.  Sometimes Google releases information about changes weeks or months in advance, giving marketers plenty of time to prepare.  That being said, they definitely don’t post about every little algorithm update (remember when we said Google makes these changes at least once a day, if not more?)  But this is still a great resource to check periodically to see about what’s to come.


Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan and @searchliaison) and John Mueller (@JohnMU) are two people you definitely want to be following on Twitter; they both work for Google, and both have been known to drop tweets about potential algorithm updates as well as tips for how to work with them.  Danny Sullivan confirmed Google’s Broad Core Algorithm Update via Twitter just this past August.

In addition, Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) avidly watches Google for any potential updates and then uses Twitter to share her insights on them.  She also posts helpful articles and case studies on her blog.

Here is a full list of interesting and informative leaders in SEO that you can follow on Twitter.

Moz Cast

Moz cast takes a unique approach to reporting the general “climate” of Google Algorithm updates. With an overview page that looks much like a weather forecast, Moz has taken the approach of climate to tell marketers what is on the horizon. On a stormy day or a day with extreme temperatures, marketers know that there is a lot being stirred up in the Google Algorithm. This is great because it is something that marketers can check daily, in a general sense, without getting hung up on small details.

Panguin Tool

Do you want to see how these Google Algorithm updates directly impact your own organic traffic? The Panguin tool is free and allows you to look at these updates in relation to your own traffic through Google Analytics. If there have been any penalties to your traffic because of conflicts with new updates, you will easily be able to see them here! This tool is very user friendly and gets you a report within seconds as well.

Rank Ranger

Rank Ranger is similar to the Moz page, with the exception that rather than having links to long-form content on the update, a summary of each update is on the main page of updates. This makes it easy to scroll through, read about the updates, and look at visual aids to help understand the information. A sidebar allows you to also go back and look at updates as far back as updates that Google announced in 2000, so if you are in to the digital history, as well as getting a summary on the updates most recent and relevant to your work today, than Rank Ranger may be your new go-to for updates!

The Takeaway

There are many tools to monitor Google’s constantly changing algorithm updates, and most of them make it fairly easy to understand what the relationship to your organic traffic really is. While it is not necessary to monitor every update that Google puts out (especially since there are hundreds every year), it is important to understand the big changes and change your strategy accordingly as they happen.

Did you have any issues with your organic traffic with the most recent Google updates? Have you tried any of the monitoring sites suggested in this post? Let us know in the comments section below! We would love to hear from you.

Photo Credit: All screenshots taken by the author September, 2018


By Amanda Disilvestro on September 12, 2018

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