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I look after some customers in the area of search engine optimization. This means that I make sure that the customer's website is placed at the top of the Google search for certain terms - without having to book expensive Google Ads for it.
The process is not done in a few weeks and the rankings often go up and down, like a stock price. This is because Google is constantly re-evaluating the customer page and also the other websites that can be found in Google search. This creates fluctuations in the rankings that place the different search terms further up or down.
These small fluctuations are something completely normal if you keep an eye on the placement of a website and there are always ups and downs at Sir-Apfelot.de. The bottom line is that there is an improvement in the rankings in the long term, so that at some point you will reach page 1 and, if possible, the top 3 for the terms.
However, when a webpage suddenly falls from page 1 or 2 to page 8, 9 or 10, most customers get nervous. This is understandable, as it means that you hardly receive any visitors from one day to the next and, as a rule, you no longer receive any inquiries from potential customers.
The question then is: Is it because Google has just updated its algorithm or is it because the website has been penalized or placed worse for something?
The good news: If you don't use some tricks (keyword "Black Hat SEO") to fool Google, then a penalty is relatively unlikely. What is more likely to happen is a significantly poorer ranking for certain keywords because they may be used too often on the website.
I only had this case recently, when a customer strictly followed the guidelines of the WordPress SEO plugins Yoast SEO created the texts. A quick note: I'd rather go for the plugin anyway SEOpress guess. It has some advantages that are beyond the scope of this description. The Yoast SEO plugin does not get along as well with the German language as it does with the English language, which means that it does not recognize when a term is used in the plural.
An example: The plug-in “requires” that “prefabricated house” be built into the text 15 times in order to achieve the correct keyword density. Now do this to get the Yoast SEO traffic light green. As a rule, "prefabricated houses" are also used a few times in the text, because these appear naturally in a text on the subject of "prefabricated houses".
The Yoast SEO plugin does not understand that, however, because it only looks for the singular "prefabricated house" and does not know that "prefabricated houses" basically describes the same thing - just in the plural.
Google, on the other hand, already knows this and evaluates both "prefabricated house" and "prefabricated house" to calculate the keyword density. By using the relevant keyword very often to make Yoast SEO happy, you unintentionally triggered the over-optimization for Google, which in turn gives Google a small “penalty”. This then usually looks so that the website for the terms "prefabricated house" and "prefabricated houses" appears further back in the search results than it should actually be.
Even if such gradations occur every now and then due to over-optimization, it is much more likely that a Google Core update has just been installed. These are major updates to the Google algorithm that lead to large fluctuations in the search results that affect some websites more and some less. This means that websites that were previously on page 1 are suddenly further back and websites that were at the back are suddenly at the front. Everything has been mixed and shaken once, so to speak.
Google itself informs webmasters here in a help articlethat smaller updates are installed almost daily to improve search results. There are also so-called core updates that have a greater impact on the search results:
Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as "core updates." They're designed to ensure that overall, we're delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. These core updates may also affect Google Discover.
Information about these updates can usually be found at some point in the blog "Google Search Central". However, the information often comes days after you think about what happened to your own rankings.
To calm yourself down, it would be good if you knew whether a Google Core Update is currently running. Because then the motto is: sit back and wait three weeks, because then the rankings have usually recovered and you have reached a level that is reasonably easy to explain or justified.
If the website is still badly placed, you should find out what the content of the update was and research what Google might find bad about the website. Bad rankings can almost always be justified somehow. If anyone needs help here, please feel free to contact me.
But in order to see whether a Google Core Update is running, you can SEO tool SEMrush which offers a free feature with which you can see how likely it is that a Google update is currently running.
The tool SEMrush is a very helpful toolkit for SEOs. In addition to visibility analyzes, keyword research, on-page SEO tests, market analyzes or the evaluation of Google Ads of competitors, there is also the small but fine tool SEMrush sensor.
SEMrush Sensor evaluates how strong the movements in the search results are for many millions of search terms worldwide. If there are strong fluctuations here, this is shown with a high value (on a scale from 0 to 10).
In addition, small Google icons are displayed for rashes to which Google updates can be assigned, so that you can see a connection between a Google update and the fluctuations.
The research with SEMrush Sensor works not only globally, but also in relation to individual countries and even subject areas, because the Google Update often only affects certain subject categories.
If you want to know what happened to your own domain during the last Google updates, I can use the tool "Google Updates" from Sistrix recommend. It is free of charge (up to 25 queries per day) and you can see very quickly which updates the queried domain has with gains and which updates it survived with losses.
If you need help optimizing your domains or are wondering what's going on with your website, please email me. I watch it - if my time allows - for free and give my professional opinion on it.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.