By Janet Driscoll Miller
I regularly receive emails and calls from desperate website owners trying to understand why they saw sudden drops in traffic to their site.
Unfortunately, most of these site owners don’t have time or know-how to follow the algorithm updates, so they’re often baffled about what the cause might be.
When I’m contacted by one of these site owners, I first try to determine if the root cause was an algorithm update.
Because algorithm updates tend to have a specific timetable associated with them, I find them often easier to identify than other site changes — especially since many website owners do not thoroughly document changes made to page content or other areas of the site.
This lack of documentation can make it difficult to ascertain exactly what actions may have led to a rankings loss, whereas losses within a certain window of time may correlate directly with an algorithm update, often making the problem and the solution faster to diagnose.
In conjunction with Search Engine Land, I developed this flow chart to help others follow a process to determine if a Panda or Penguin algorithm update may be affecting their sites.
The flow chart should only be used as a guide, however. It is not a guarantee but rather a potential indicator that your site may have been hit by one of these updates.
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