Most Google Algo Changes Not Actionable by SEOs

At Brighton SEO, I had the opportunity to chat with Gary Illyes from Google on all things Google search, and I asked about all the Fred updates, which encompasses many different quality algo changes Google has made this year.  Google has said before that when major algo changes happen that are actionable by webmasters – meaning something webmasters can change to see direct impact in the search results – they tend to be vocal about it.  But what about the majority of their 1-2 algo updates that happen every single day at Google?

Here was my question:

So for all these one to two updates a day, when webmasters go and they see their rankings go up or down, how many of those changes are actually actionable? Can webmasters actually take something away from that or is just under a generic “improve the quality of your site?”

According to Illyes, nearly all of these changes are not something that is actionable by site owners.

I would say that for the vast majority – and I’m talking about probably over 95%, 98% of the launches – is not actionable for the webmasters. And that’s because we may change, for example, which keywords from the page we pick up because we see, let’s say that people in a certain region put up the content differently and we want to adapt to that.

And then we test that in English as well, of course, but if the change internally, when we pass the update internally, if the change is minuscule then we are going to launch it anyway, if we cannot improve for example Indonesian.

He continues and talks about the quality content aspect of it in terms of its impact on algo changes, and how high quality content that tends to be shared will do great in the search results.

Basically, if you publish high quality content that is highly cited on the internet – I’m not talking about just links but also mentions on social networks and people talk about your brand, crap like that, then, I shouldn’t have said that right? Then you are doing great, and fluctuations will always happen to your traffic. We cannot help that, it would be really weird if there wasn’t fluctuation because that would mean that we don’t change, we don’t improve our search results anymore.

Google has always been very vocal about how all sites should strive to improve quality and results of those improved quality changes will be seen in the search results.  But for the majority of these algo changes, there is no magic change or specific improvement that can be made for each one for webmasters to see improvements in their rankings.

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