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Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 17 Apr, 2012
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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.

1. Google Webmaster Tools Blog

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.

2. Google Inside Search Blog

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.

3. Google Webmaster Central Forum ranking discussion

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.

4. WebmasterWorld Google SEO News and Discussion

This is usually my first port of call to learn about updates since it generally has more experienced SEOs than the Google Forum.

5. Barry Schwartz aka @RustyBrick on Google Algorithm updates on Search Engine RoundTable

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.

6. SEOmoz Google Algorithm change history

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.

7. SEO By The Sea

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.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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