Understanding & Leveraging Core Algorithms for Optimal SEO

Posted on April 22nd, 2022 by nms

Ask any SEO specialist, and they will likely have some horror stories to tell about core algorithm updates. An essential part of ensuring a smooth and efficient search experience, Google’s periodic updates can be challenging to deal with, to say the least. And with changes rolled out so frequently and unpredictably, dealing with them is crucial to developing an effective insurance search strategy.

What can be done in the face of such unpredictability and impermanence? Are SEO specialists helpless to deal with these changes? Should they resign themselves to scrambling to keep up as they come?

Not quite. While core updates are part and parcel of the entire search engine optimization game, there are several ways by which SEO professionals can stay on top of the changes and even leverage them to their advantage. And while navigating the constant and unpredictable stream of core algorithm modifications will always pose a challenge, overcoming these can only be a good thing for any website and the company it represents.

With that in mind, here are some ways to understand and leverage Google’s core updates for optimal SEO:

Making sense of Google’s core algorithm updates

One of the first and most important things to keep in mind is that core updates aren’t something that should be “fixed”. Rather than taking a combative stance and implementing a set of quick fixes, SEO professionals would do better to adopt a long-term approach to improving and maintaining their sites’ ranking.

Google typically evaluates websites over an extended period. Sites then get an aggregated assessment that determines whether their ranking will improve, decline, or maintain their current position. As such, there is no single ‘fix’ or set of ‘fixes’ that can improve or hurt a site’s rank on the search engine.

So what can SEO professionals do when faced with an algorithm change? The same thing that SEO specialists have always done: constantly work to improve the site based on existing algorithms.

Many SEO practitioners scramble to implement a barrage of ‘fixes’ and ‘improvements’ in the weeks leading up to an announced algorithm change‒if Google sees fit to announce the update in the first place.

Unfortunately, any such “improvements’ are typically ignored. Instead of wasting time, effort, and resources on these ineffective ‘fixes’, webmasters and SEO professionals would be better off adopting a long-term strategic approach to optimizing their sites.

Major algorithm updates since 2018

In any case, it might help to have some idea of when algorithm changes are rolled out. Here are some statistics on core algorithm updates since 2018:

  • Frequency: Three major updates have been rolled out per year, 2021 being the exception.
  • Most active quarter: Q2 has the most updates by far, with four being released consistently.
  • Least active quarter: Only two updates have been released in Q4 of the years since 2018.
  • Most active months: March and June are when updates are more likely, with two registered in those months.
  • Most active time of the month: Of the roughly 12 updates released since 2018, nine were rolled out before the 15th of the month. Over 50% were rolled out within the months’ first four days.
  • Average time between updates: 120 days.
  • Average updates per year: Three.

Using this information, SEO practitioners can determine how much time they have between updates to implement changes to their search engine optimization efforts.

Strategies to affect Google core algorithm updates outcomes

Perhaps one of the most important things to figure out is what site changes are more likely to improve site performance in the wake of an algorithm update. Although it is a never-ending quest to hone in on specific strategies that can garner a favorable response to new algorithms, SEO practitioners can at least use the historical data to make more educated guesses.

If recent core updates result in a decline in a website’s ranking, some strategies that could spur a turnaround are:

  1. Cite sources for all content
  2. Ensure that all claims are accurate
  3. Address thin content by redirecting or refreshing as needed
  4. Duplicate content should be canonicalized, killed, or redirected
  5. Include credentials and awards in author bylines, bios, and pages
  6. Improve the sites’ reputation off-page by updating the relevant Wikipedia page and other sources of information
  7. Add testimonials and on-site reviews to improve the business’ reputation
  8. Ensure that social media pages have accurate and credible information
  9. Improve and expand the “About us”, “Contact us”, and mission statement sections of the site
  10. Avoid aggressive and invasive ads
  11. Provide customer service information


As you can see, there are many ways your clients could use core algorithm updates to their advantage. Rather than taking an adversarial stance against these changes, it might be better to view them as professional challenges to overcome.

About Agency Tsunami

Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.