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Google’s algorithm changes a bit every year. While it’s usually a few weeks of disruption, this year brought a lot of additional change: updated spam filters, a new Google Business Profile dashboard, problems with disappearing reviews, and more. With all the commotion, it’s no wonder that users seem more up in arms about algorithm shifts.

As we approach the holiday season, businesses are more stressed than ever. Rankings are dropping, consumer behavior is erratic, and sales are never guaranteed. This has many businesses questioning why Google makes these changes – and why now? Let’s take a look at the “why” behind Google’s actions:

User behavior drives Google’s changes

Google doesn’t act randomly. If you don’t take our word for it, just consider how much testing Google does on what shade of blue to use in search results (spoiler: they have a whole position dedicated to it). At Google, nothing is left up to chance.

So why are they constantly making changes that spark controversy on Twitter? Why risk angering the hundreds of millions of businesses that use Google to drive traffic and manage their brand?

User behavior.

If you’re on the business side of Google, it can be easy to forget that Google is made for users – not businesses. Google is constantly evolving as it tries to match users’ search intents.

As you chase the algorithm, Google is chasing user behavior. It’s no wonder this game never ends!

User behavior is even behind Google Business Profile updates. The new in-search dashboard was born because business owners were googling their business to access the Google Business Profile dashboard. Instead of funneling users to the dashboard, Google met brands where they were: on Google search.

Google uses the holidays to incentivize ad-buying

Google makes over $200 billion in ad revenue each year. Most companies invest some of their marketing budget in Google Ads. And because Google’s algorithm is a moving target, brands that experience dips in their rankings are incentivized to buy ads. Ads help supplement lost traffic, even if it means shelling out for more clicks.

In our recent conversation with Ben Fisher, he brought up an interesting point about Google algorithm changes: they always occur in the winter. Why? Google is using the pressure of the holiday season to incentivize ad-buying. 

During the holiday season, companies invest in Google Ads to promote special deals, holiday items, and gift guides. When you add a volatile algorithm to the mix, companies scramble to maintain clicks, views, and engagement. As rankings drop, businesses buy more ads. 

How should businesses combat change?

It can be tempting to drop everything and change your strategy whenever Google makes algorithm updates. But that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do.

The fundamentals of ranking and SEO will always hold true – no matter what Google does. At its core, SEO boils down to:

  • Building great content
  • Getting links for traffic
  • Attracting users

Even a simple page can do great with the right foundation.

Consider an SEO health check

Running through an SEO checklist is never a bad idea. But if the thought of doing it yourself puts you to sleep, there are plenty of businesses out there that will conduct an SEO audit for a small fee.

When the algorithm changes your ranking, it may be because you’re not following the guidelines correctly! Google algorithm changes aren’t inherently built to disrupt your traffic. So if you’re facing issues, you likely have a problem with your SEO.

Happy searching!

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