How to React to Google Algorithm Updates

Google’s algorithm updates can feel like earthquakes shaking the digital landscape. For marketing managers and directors in the UK’s bustling recruitment sector, understanding and adapting to these changes is not just beneficial—it’s essential.

With a decade of SEO expertise, particularly within the recruitment industry, I offer a pragmatic approach to navigating Google’s algorithm updates, ensuring your business not only survives but thrives.

What is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

A Google Broad Core Algorithm Update is an adjustment to Google’s complex system of ranking web pages in search results. Unlike minor updates that might target specific issues, a broad core update has widespread effects, influencing how Google evaluates content and ranks websites. These updates aim to improve the searcher’s experience, delivering more relevant, authoritative content.

Well-known Google Algorithm Updates

Over the years, Google has rolled out several significant algorithm updates, each with its focus. For instance, the Panda update targeted low-quality content, while Penguin aimed at reducing the effectiveness of link schemes.

More recent updates like BERT and E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) emphasise understanding user intent and the quality of information provided.

For recruitment businesses, staying informed about these updates can be the difference between a top-ranking position and getting lost in the noise.

How to React to Google Algorithm Updates

Step One: Stand Fast!

Dealing with Google algorithm updates requires a measured approach, especially in the competitive recruitment sector. The initial reaction to news of an algorithm update might be to spring into action—tweaking website elements, overhauling content, or altering SEO strategies hastily. However, this knee-jerk reaction can often be counterproductive.

Consider, for instance, a recruitment business that observes a sudden dip in its website rankings following an algorithm update announcement. In a rush to regain their standings, they might decide to rewrite large swathes of content, dismantle their link-building strategy, or make drastic changes to their site architecture. Such impulsive modifications, made without a clear understanding of the update’s impact or intent, could inadvertently eliminate elements that were actually contributing positively to the site’s SEO performance.

It’s important to remember that the immediate aftermath of an algorithm update can be volatile. Search results may fluctuate widely as Google’s new algorithms roll out and begin to recalibrate the vast index of the web. This period of fluctuation is often referred to as the “Google Dance”—a term that harks back to the early days of SEO but remains relevant. During this time, the search engine is essentially testing and adjusting the new parameters, leading to temporary ranking changes that might not reflect the long-term impact of the update.

A prudent course of action is to monitor your site’s performance closely without making any hasty decisions. This monitoring period should focus on key metrics such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates specific to the recruitment industry, such as application submissions or contact form inquiries. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide invaluable insights during this time, offering a clearer picture of how the update is truly affecting your site.

An illustrative example of this approach in action can be seen in the experiences of a UK-based recruitment firm following the Google Panda update. Noticing a slight decline in their website’s traffic, the firm initially considered revamping their entire content strategy. However, choosing to wait and observe, they discovered that the decline was temporary and that their content’s overall quality and relevance—hallmarks of the Panda update’s focus—eventually led to a recovery in rankings and even an improvement in traffic quality.

In summary, the wise response to a Google algorithm update is not to panic or celebrate too soon but to adopt a stance of careful observation. Allow time for the dust to settle and for accurate data to emerge. This measured approach ensures that any changes made to your recruitment website are informed, strategic, and, most importantly, aligned with the true implications of the update, safeguarding your site’s SEO integrity and performance in the long run.

Step Two: Audit your website

Conducting a comprehensive audit of your website post-Google algorithm update is akin to performing a health check-up, ensuring every aspect of your site aligns with Google’s evolving standards. This step is particularly crucial for recruitment businesses, where the relevancy and accessibility of content can directly impact your ability to attract both clients and candidates. A methodical audit covers several key areas: site structure, content quality, and the integrity of your backlink profile.

Site Structure

Start with an assessment of your site’s architecture. A well-organised website not only facilitates a smoother user experience but also aids search engines in crawling and indexing your pages efficiently. For a recruitment website, this means job listings should be categorically structured and easy to navigate. For example, a recruitment agency specialising in the tech industry might organise listings by job type (e.g., software development, data analysis) and location to simplify the search process for candidates.

Moreover, loading times are a critical factor in both user experience and SEO. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can identify pages that load slowly due to unoptimized images or cumbersome scripts. A practical example is a recruitment site that reduced its bounce rate by optimising image sizes and leveraging browser caching, significantly improving page loading times and subsequently, its search rankings.

Content Quality

Next, scrutinise the quality of your content. Google’s updates often aim to prioritise content that offers real value to users. For recruitment websites, this translates to job listings that are detailed and informative, blogs that offer genuine career advice, and pages that clearly explain your services. Each piece of content should meet the needs of your audience, be it job seekers or employers.

Consider a recruitment site that responded to a dip in rankings by revamping their blog section. Previously filled with generic posts, the blog was updated to include in-depth articles on career development, interview tips tailored to specific industries, and insights into employment trends. This shift not only aligned with Google’s emphasis on quality content but also led to increased engagement and longer visit durations on the site.

Backlink Profile

Finally, evaluate your backlink profile. Backlinks, or links from other websites to yours, are a vital SEO component, signalling to Google the credibility and authority of your site. Use tools like Ahrefs or Moz’s Link Explorer to review the sites linking to you. Look for any links that seem spammy or irrelevant, as these can be detrimental to your SEO efforts.

Recruitment sites, in particular, should aim for backlinks from reputable industry-related websites, such as job boards, career advice forums, and sector-specific associations.

For instance, a recruitment agency noticed a drop in rankings after a Google update and discovered upon review that several backlinks were coming from low-quality directories. By disavowing these links through Google Search Console and focusing on earning links from reputable industry sites, the agency saw a gradual improvement in rankings.

In sum, a detailed website audit post-Google algorithm update is essential for identifying and rectifying areas that may not align with Google’s guidelines.

For recruitment sites, this means ensuring the site structure enhances user navigation, the content is both high-quality and relevant, and the backlink profile strengthens your site’s authority. This proactive approach can safeguard your rankings and ensure your website remains a valuable resource for your target audience.

Step Three: Review content

The adage “Content is king” continues to hold paramount importance. This principle is especially true in the recruitment sector, where the quality and relevance of content can significantly influence a site’s visibility and effectiveness.

A critical review of your website’s content is not just about ticking SEO boxes; it’s about ensuring that every piece of content serves a genuine purpose and meets the needs of your target audience—job seekers and employers.

Engaging and Insightful Articles and Blog Posts

For recruitment businesses, articles and blog posts offer a prime opportunity to demonstrate industry expertise, provide valuable insights, and engage both candidates and employers. However, to truly resonate with your audience and meet Google’s quality guidelines, content must go beyond surface-level advice.

Consider a recruitment agency specialising in the tech industry. A blog post titled “The Top Programming Languages for 2024” can attract considerable attention from job seekers looking to advance their careers. If this article delves deep into each programming language, discussing its applications, demand in the job market, and resources for learning, it provides tangible value to readers.

Furthermore, incorporating expert opinions, case studies of successful career switches, or interviews with leading tech professionals can enhance the post’s authority and engagement.

Informative and Up-to-date Job Listings

Job listings are the backbone of any recruitment website, but their value in SEO terms—and to users—depends greatly on their quality and currency. Listings should be more than just a collection of job titles and requirements; they should be comprehensive guides that help potential applicants understand the role, the company culture, and the application process.

For example, a listing for a Digital Marketing Manager position could include not only the job responsibilities and required skills but also insights into the company’s marketing philosophy, current projects, and the team structure. Providing information on the expected career path and development opportunities within the role can also significantly increase the listing’s appeal.

Moreover, ensuring that job listings are current and promptly removing or updating expired ones is crucial. Outdated listings not only frustrate job seekers but also signal to search engines that your site might not be a reliable source of information.

Catering to Both Job Seekers and Employers

A common oversight on recruitment websites is focusing content solely on job seekers, neglecting the equally important employer audience. To address this, consider developing content that speaks directly to employers’ needs and concerns. Articles on topics such as “How to Attract Top Talent in a Competitive Market” or “The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace” can offer valuable insights to employers, demonstrating your agency’s expertise and understanding of the recruitment process from their perspective.

By reviewing and refining your website’s content with a focus on depth, relevance, and audience needs, your recruitment business can enhance its SEO performance. This strategic approach to content not only improves your site’s ranking and visibility but also strengthens your brand’s reputation as a valuable resource for both job seekers and employers in the recruitment sector.

Step Four: Make positive, insights-driven changes

Once you’ve completed a comprehensive audit of your website and scrutinised your content through a critical lens, the next logical step is to implement changes based on the insights gained. This phase is pivotal; it’s where strategic adjustments are made to enhance user experience, elevate content quality, and ensure your recruitment site is fully aligned with SEO best practices.

The aim is to harmonise with Google’s guidelines, focusing on genuinely improving your site rather than attempting to outsmart search algorithms.

Enhancing User Experience (UX)

User experience stands at the forefront of Google’s evaluation criteria. A site that is easy to navigate, fast to load, and accessible across all devices can significantly improve your SEO standings. For example, if your audit reveals that your recruitment site takes more than a few seconds to load, this is an immediate area for improvement. Implementing technical changes such as optimising images, leveraging browser caching, and minifying CSS and JavaScript files can dramatically reduce load times.

Another common issue could be mobile usability. With the increasing prevalence of mobile searches, ensuring your site is responsive and mobile-friendly is non-negotiable. Consider a candidate looking for job listings on their smartphone during their commute; a site that requires zooming in to read content or navigate menus will likely frustrate the user and drive them away. Simple adjustments, like switching to a responsive design or increasing tap target sizes, can greatly enhance the mobile user experience.

Improving Content Quality

Armed with feedback from your content review, focus on elevating the quality of your articles, blog posts, and job listings. This could mean diversifying your content types to include video interviews with industry leaders, interactive salary surveys, or detailed career advice guides.

For instance, if you discover that your job listings are too generic, you can revamp them to include specific details about the company culture, employee testimonials, and clearer paths for application and career progression. These enhancements not only serve to attract and engage job seekers but also signal to Google that your site is a valuable resource, rich with high-quality content.

Adhering to SEO Best Practices

Implementing SEO best practices involves more than just keyword optimization. It includes setting up structured data to help Google better understand the content of your site. For a recruitment agency, this could mean adding job posting schema to your listings, which helps them appear more prominently in Google for Jobs, making your listings more visible to job seekers.

Additionally, ensuring all your pages have meta titles and descriptions that accurately reflect the content can improve click-through rates from search results. If your audit reveals missing or duplicated meta tags, rectifying these issues can have an immediate positive impact on your SEO.

Moreover, consider the backlink profile of your site. High-quality, relevant backlinks are a strong indicator of your site’s authority. If your review uncovers a number of low-quality or spammy backlinks, taking steps to disavow these links through Google’s Disavow Tool can help protect your site’s reputation.

The process of implementing changes based on an audit and content review is an opportunity to significantly improve your recruitment site’s performance. By focusing on enhancing user experience, elevating content quality, and adhering to SEO best practices, you align more closely with Google’s guidelines.

This approach not only improves your site’s search engine visibility but also its overall value to both job seekers and employers, fostering a more engaging and effective online presence.

Step Five: Review, review, review!

SEO is a dynamic and ongoing process that demands continuous attention and adaptation, especially in the aftermath of a Google algorithm update. The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and what works today may not be as effective tomorrow. This reality underscores the importance of regularly reviewing your website’s performance, using analytics as a guide to understand how changes in SEO strategies and Google’s algorithms are impacting your visibility and traffic.

Monitoring Traffic and Rankings

The first step in this ongoing review process involves closely monitoring your website’s traffic and search engine rankings. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console offer invaluable insights into how users are finding and interacting with your site. For example, a recruitment agency might notice a significant drop in traffic to its blog section following an algorithm update.

By drilling down into the data, it might find that the decline is specifically related to a set of articles focused on interview tips. This could indicate that these articles no longer align with what Google deems most valuable, prompting a review and update of the content to better meet current SEO best practices and user expectations.

Adjustments Based on Insights

Armed with data, the next step is to make informed adjustments. This could involve optimising existing content, enhancing site speed, improving mobile responsiveness, or revising internal linking strategies. For instance, if analytics reveal that users are bouncing from your job listing pages at a higher rate post-update, this could signal issues with page load speed or content relevance.

Tools like PageSpeed Insights can help identify specific technical areas for improvement, while a content review might reveal opportunities to make job listings more comprehensive and engaging.

Regular SEO Health Checks

Beyond reacting to changes in traffic and rankings, conducting regular SEO health checks is crucial. This proactive approach can help identify potential issues before they significantly impact your performance. For example, using an SEO audit tool to conduct a monthly check might uncover that several high-quality external links have become broken over time. Addressing these broken links promptly can prevent erosion in your site’s authority and ranking.

Staying Informed on SEO Trends and Updates

Staying abreast of the latest SEO trends and Google updates is also part of the continuous review process. Google often provides guidance on major updates and how they affect ranking factors. For recruitment businesses, this might mean adapting content strategies to align with Google’s increasing emphasis on experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) within your industry.

Leveraging User Feedback

Finally, incorporating user feedback into your review process can offer direct insights into how visitors perceive and interact with your site. If users frequently comment on the difficulty of navigating your site or the lack of certain types of content, these are clear indicators that adjustments are needed to improve user experience and content relevance.

In essence, treating SEO as an ongoing task rather than a one-time project is key to maintaining and improving your website’s performance in the ever-changing SEO landscape.

By continuously monitoring analytics, making informed adjustments, conducting regular health checks, staying updated on SEO trends, and listening to user feedback, recruitment businesses can ensure their online presence remains strong, relevant, and capable of achieving desired outcomes in the face of Google algorithm updates.

Can You Recover from a Google Algorithm Update?

Absolutely. Recovery is not only possible; it’s likely if you adopt a focused and methodical approach to addressing the areas impacted by the update. Success stories abound of sites that bounced back stronger by aligning more closely with Google’s focus on quality and user experience.

Has Your Site Been Hit by a Google Core Algorithm Update?

Identifying whether your site has been affected by a Google core algorithm update involves monitoring your analytics for significant changes in traffic and rankings. For recruitment sites, this might mean a sudden drop in applications or a decrease in page views for job listings. If you suspect an algorithm update is the cause, refer back to the steps outlined above to guide your response.


Google’s algorithm updates, while sometimes daunting, are not insurmountable challenges. With a strategic approach rooted in best practices and a commitment to quality, recruitment businesses can navigate these updates successfully.

Remember, in the fast-paced world of SEO, flexibility and a willingness to adapt are your greatest assets.

TL;DR Summary

Reacting to Google algorithm updates with a calm, strategic approach can safeguard your recruitment business’s online presence. By auditing your site, reviewing content, making informed changes, and continuously monitoring performance, you can maintain, or even improve, your search engine rankings post-update.

Ready to ensure your recruitment business remains at the forefront of Google’s search results? Click the button below to book a 15-minute consultation. Together, we’ll craft an SEO strategy that not only withstands algorithm updates but turns them into opportunities for growth.

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