It's all about the numbers.
Google’s algorithm updates can have a big impact on organic search traffic and sales. Now that the search giant has ramped up its algorithm tweaks to occurring an average of one to two per day, it can be difficult keeping track of them all. The recently introduced Panguin Tool simplifies this process.
Named for this year’s largest Google algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin, the Panguin Tool overlays a timeline of Google’s algorithm updates on your Google Analytics data. Panguin requires integration with your Google Analytics account to run, and unfortunately doesn’t yet work with other analytics programs.
Set up is simple: Log in with your Google Analytics account information and choose the analytics account to associate with Panguin. In a couple seconds a chart loads displaying your Google organic search visits overlaid with Google’s major algorithm updates.
Panguin allows daily and weekly views of the data, as well as the ability to select a custom date range. Mousing over any of the color-coded algorithm update milestones displays a quick description of that particular update. Keep in mind the chart only shows Google’s organic search visits and not paid search visits or Bing’s search traffic. This restriction makes sense because the algorithm updates only impact Google’s organic search traffic. As a result, the relationship between the peaks and valleys in the analytics shown and the algorithm update milestones is as close to apples-to-apples as you can get.
A coinciding dip in your analytics data and an algorithm update could mean that that update impacted your site’s Google SEO performance. When I say “coinciding,” I mean on the same day. If the dip in organic search traffic first and then an update came a week later, it’s unlikely that the two are related. If the algorithm update came first and then a dip in organic search traffic came a week later, it’s possible that the two are related but I’d still be looking for other causes like changes made on your own site.
If you suspect your site’s performance was affected by an algorithm update, the best thing to do first is to head to leading SEO industry sources like Search Engine Land or SEOmoz to read up on the update. They’ll have news straight from the search engines, thoughts on what it means on a more practical level for site owners, and some tips on what to do next.
Jill Kocher is a seasoned SEO professional and all-around technogeek. By day, she manages Resource Interactive’s SEO practice here in Chicago and serves as contributing editor at Practical eCommerce. By night, Jill landscapes her home in the far northern suburbs of Chicagoland while enjoying a glass of wine and thinking about SEO some more. Family discussion centers primarily around SEO, analytics, social media, mobile apps, android, iOS, how-was-your-day and cats.