To succeed in Google search, SEO professionals must stay updated on Google’s algorithm changes and be adaptable to evolving search trends that influence website rankings and online visibility.
Enter Bard, Google’s conversational AI chatbot.
Among Bard’s many potential uses, the tool can be a powerful ally for SEOs looking to dissect and understand Google’s algorithm updates and identify actionable recommendations for impacted sites.
Bard is uniquely positioned to help interpret algorithm updates with its live access to the web, ability to generate real-time insights and direct connection to Google resources. These features are invaluable in an industry where timing plays a crucial role.
Understanding Bard’s limitations
Bard is powerful but not without its limitations. One notable constraint is its production of “AI hallucinations.”
AI hallucinations occur when an AI model generates insights that may appear accurate but are based on patterns or associations that are not truly reflective of real-world data.
In the context of SEO, this could mean that Bard might provide recommendations that seem logical but do not align perfectly with the actual performance of a website or the tools to which Bard has access.
For example, in algorithm tests for this article, I asked Bard to examine the bounce rate of a client site in relation to the September 2023 helpful content update.
Bard claimed to have access to Google Analytics but provided inaccurate metrics. In other tests, Bard has claimed access to paid tools like Semrush and Sitebulb.
SEOs must exercise judgment and lean on their expertise, cross-referencing Bard’s insights with other data sources to ensure the validity of their recommendations.
With an understanding of what Bard is (and what it isn’t), let’s dive into how you can use it to better understand, interpret, and act on Google algorithm changes.
Generate a timeline of how recent algorithm updates may have impacted your site
With a simple prompt, Bard can provide a timeline of recent algorithm updates.
While this is readily available information, we can start to see Bard’s analytical prowess shine by enhancing our prompts.
- Prompt: “Provide a complete list of algorithm updates from 2023. For each algorithm update describe how it may have impacted the ranking of sites like [INSERT DOMAIN NAME] and why it would have made that impact. Provide the size of the impact across all search results for each update.”
The expanded prompt requires Bard to analyze how these algorithm updates may impact your site. By keeping this higher level, we can see industry-level trends that may impact your rankings.
Bard’s output can then be used to generate hypotheses about the impact of algorithm updates. These hypotheses can be tested using live data, like traffic from Google Analytics and ranking data from Google Search Console or Semrush.
The “why” here is essential in understanding the rationale behind Bard’s conclusions. By asking it, you are prompting it to dig deeper into the mechanics of each update’s impact. This will lead you to actionable recommendations.
Dig deeper: How to use Google Bard for better SEO
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Digging deeper into algorithm updates: A practical example
Once you have generated a timeline of algorithm updates and assessed their overall impact, you can use follow-up prompts and live data from Semrush, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or other SEO tools to dig deeper into the data and understand any fluctuations in traffic and ranking – either positive or negative.
Selecting supplementary data sources
The first step following your algorithm exploration in Bard is determining which supplementary data sources will enrich your analysis.
In this practical example examining the influence of algorithm updates on Merrell.com, we will harness the capabilities of Semrush, a versatile SEO tool capable of providing vital ranking data and traffic modeling insights.
Semrush excels in aligning search algorithm activity with your website’s ranking keyword trends.
Their Semrush Sensor monitors search engines for volatility and maps those fluctuations on a trend line with your total ranking keywords.
The dates for high search engine activity, indicating an algorithm change, can be seen with a red comment icon.
By merging this data with the insights gathered in the previous section, we gain valuable perspective on how these updates have influenced the search engine rankings of Merrell.com.
We can then use follow-up prompts to identify actions to take next.
Analyzing the data and crafting follow-up prompts
Examining the last six months of ranking keywords for Merrell.com reveals a positive trend with no notable negative impacts from algorithm updates.
Notably, the September 2023 algorithm update has significantly boosted performance.
To further understand this positive impact and identify ongoing optimization opportunities, we’ll utilize follow-up prompts with Bard.
- Prompt: “Following the September 2023 Helpful Content Update, the number of ranking keywords for merrell.com drastically increased. Provide more insights on why. The increase globally was from 142k in early September 2023 to 209k keywords in November 2023. Explain how this update has impacted top competitors. And outline additional recommendations for continuing to improve rankings.”
Through this prompt, Bard reveals the factors contributing to the performance boost experienced by Merrell.com and sets the stage for ongoing enhancement. However, the guidance provided is at a higher level and is not necessarily actionable.
Dig deeper. How to build a strategic SEO process
Closing the loop with actionable insights
To bring our SEO strategy full circle and elevate our defense against algorithm updates, the practice of prompt engineering emerges as a critical component.
This entails delving deeper and refining previous prompts to uncover nuanced insights to sharpen your strategy further.
- Prompt: “The recommendations provided previously are solid but appear to be fairly generic. Provide specific recommendations for how Merrell.com can continue to see positive organic growth in the face of the September 2023 Helpful Content Update. Consider looking at competitor websites for specific content they’ve developed that is performing strong in this market.”
This final prompt constructs a clear roadmap for achieving continued SEO success following Google’s September 2023 helpful content update:
- Create more “how-to” content: Cater to the needs of your audience by offering valuable instructional content.
- Develop product comparison content: Help users make informed decisions by comparing your products with competitors.
- Produce in-depth reviews: Provide comprehensive, unbiased reviews to guide consumers.
- Foster local content: Tailor your content to local audiences, enhancing relevance.
- Optimize for long-tail keywords: Capture specific search queries with less competition.
- Build high-quality backlinks: Strengthen your site’s authority and trustworthiness with valuable external links.
While these recommendations align with SEO best practices, Bard consolidates and customizes them based on your brand’s unique characteristics and competitor insights. It’s essential to treat these recommendations as a versatile toolkit.
With these insights, you can craft a robust SEO strategy tailored to enhance organic results and navigate any algorithm update successfully.
Bard and the future of algorithm updates
Staying ahead of Google’s algorithm updates is a must for SEO success. Bard, our Google-powered, trusty AI companion, plays a vital role in this mission.
With its direct connection to Google resources and live access to the web, Bard can provide a thoughtful analysis of how Google algorithm updates may impact sites like yours.
Think of your algorithm analysis like a funnel approach.
- We start broad, checking out the big picture of how these updates impact the web.
- Then, we zoom in to see how they’ve specifically influenced your site.
- Finally, with Bard’s help, we identify actionable strategies to avoid any negative impacts and propel positive results forward.
While Bard can be your reliable partner, always watch the limitations of AI and verify any recommendations against your knowledge and the available data.
Keeping this in mind, you can take charge of your SEO strategy by leveraging the power of AI and Bard to understand and respond to Google algorithm changes quickly.
Dig deeper: What we can learn from past and present Google algorithm updates
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.