7 of the best sources for learning about Google SEO algorithm updates. Sites and forums that discuss the latest updates?
I’m often contacted by site managers and marketers who have just experienced a change in their rankings in the natural listings. Often this is because Google has recently made changes to its algorithms that have affected rankings. I’ve been hearing more of these recently (especially from site owners who’ve received to unnatural link notices), so I thought it would be helpful to create a short reference of the best sources to learn about current updates.
These are the sites I monitor to learn about changes – I’ll start with the official Google line which I recommend subscribing to through a feed or Twitter and then look at other sources including forums which are often more useful for understanding the SEO techniques which may have been penalised.
As the main guidance blog for webmasters from Google, you might expect the Webmaster Tools blog to be best place for announcements about changes which can impact SEO, but in-fact for major changes the next option is a better source. Webmaster Tools tends to cover detailed features.
Google calls this “the official Google Search Blog” and this is where it tends to place it’s major announcements about algorithm changes. For example in April 2012,blo it highlighted over 50 search quality changes. You have to pick out the major changes, but here’s a couple of examples:
- High-quality sites algorithm data update and freshness improvements. [launch codename “mm”, project codename “Panda”] Like many of the changes we make, aspects of our high-quality sites algorithm depend on processing that’s done offline and pushed on a periodic cycle. In the past month, we’ve pushed updated data for “Panda,” as we mentioned in a recent tweet. We’ve also made improvements to keep our database fresher overall.
- Improvements to processing for detection of site quality. [launch codename “Curlup”] We’ve made some improvements to a longstanding system we have to detect site quality. This improvement allows us to get greater confidence in our classifications.
When there is a change which impacts a lot of sites, you will see a lot of posts from Webmasters affected affected. Be aware though that for this and other forums there may be site owners of small or non-commercial sites who are “sailing close to the wind” and using techniques that commercial sites are less likely to use.
Now onto the non-Google advice.
This is usually my first port of call to learn about updates since it generally has more experienced SEOs than the Google Forum.
Several posts per month on the details of changes. Barry often has more detailed analysis than some of the other sources, so is worth checking out.
This has an outline of the most recent changes linking to relevant sources, but doesn’t tend to have its own commentary instead linking to the Google sources or others such as Search Engine Land.
Different in style and timescale from the other sources here, Bill Slawski discusses patent applications and grants made by the search engines. His detailed posts may give an idea on future algorithm changes or help explain those that have just gone live.