How to Recover From a Google Algorithm Update

Nadica Naceva
Last Updated:

Google is constantly evolving in an attempt to facilitate its users. The search engine’s evolution is at par with its philosophy of being ‘’focused on providing the best user experience possible.’’ While these changes are typically intended to improve the search experience for users, they can often have a major impact on website rankings and traffic

Your website, which was previously ranking high in search engine result pages (SERPs), might lose its ranking after a major algorithm update. In some instances, you may not even have violated any search engine guidelines, but the update has still affected your website. 

That's pretty common. For websites that cease to rank well after an update, Google recommends reading its people-first content help page. Besides doing that, you can take a few steps on your own to make your website more in line with the search engine's policies. 

How Do Google Algorithm Updates Work?

Google reports that it makes changes to its search algorithms ''several times a year.'' The core update is usually the one that's most talked about. For instance, the most recent core update came in March 2024. 

However, Google makes multiple changes daily, and you usually won't even notice them. 

According to Google, ''Core updates are designed to ensure that overall, we're delivering on our mission to present helpful and reliable results for searchers.'' 

So, if your page goes down in SERPs after an algorithm update, it could mean that your website is not providing what Google considers to be a helpful or reliable result for searchers. 

The core purpose of an update is to improve Google's assessment of overall content. Due to this, some previously under-rewarded pages might end up doing better in SERPs. 

Why May a Website Not Perform Well After an Algorithm Update?

Every algorithm update comes with its own set of changes and improvements. Any website that's in violation of these changes will most likely be affected by a drop in search rankings. 

For example, in its 2024 core update, Google updated its spam policies to remove the ''lowest-quality content out of Search, like expired websites repurposed as spam repositories by new owners and obituary spam.'' 

Based on this information, the following websites could be affected:

  • Expired Domain Abuse: Websites that were once used for legitimate purposes but have expired and are now repurposed by new owners as spam sites could be at risk. 

  • Scaled Content: In the 2024 update, Google is also taking a strict step against scaled content. The update will affect websites ''producing content at scale to boost search ranking — whether automation, humans or a combination are involved.'' 

However, sometimes, there's nothing wrong with the underperforming pages. Here's what Google has to say: 

''They haven't violated our spam policies, nor been subjected to manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those policies. In fact, there's nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites.''

But why is your website suffering, then? It's likely that there's better and more helpful content available to replace yours

Google explains this with an example of an article you wrote in 2021 about the top 100 movies. A few years down the line, you go to refresh your list. New, wonderful movies have been released since you last curated the list. 

It's likely that some movies that were previously on the list have been replaced, and new ones have taken their place. Or they may have moved down in rank. 

It doesn't mean they're not good anymore; there are simply better options available. That's exactly what an algorithm update does to the SERPs. 

In search engine rankings, we can apply this to review sites. These websites have a lot of information that’s continuously changing, such as the reviewed entities’ pricing, offerings, staff size, location, etc. Such websites have to ensure they keep their content up to date for it to be relevant.

Google's Recommendations on Recovering From an Algorithm Update

Google doesn't really recommend you do anything in this regard. In fact, in a tweet by Google SearchLiaison, it was said that there is ''nothing in particular to fix''  in the event of an algorithm update. 

However, Google also understands that website owners whose pages might perform less well after an update would feel the need to do something. In that case, Google recommends focusing on providing the best content possible. That's the core of what Google's algorithms are designed to reward. 

Also, wait for the update to be over before you make any major changes to your website. Keep an eye on Google’s blog and X pages to get notified when an update has rolled out completely. 

Tips to Recover From a Google Algorithm Update

Saying that you can't do anything at all after an algorithm update is a bit of an oversimplification. There's always room for content improvement. 

While there's no specific handbook for recovering from an algorithm update, you can take steps to make your content better. Also, you must follow through with the changes Google has made in its algorithms. 

Address E-E-A-T Issues 

In 2022, Google added another E to its E-A-T guidelines. These quality rater guidelines are the holy grail for digital marketers and SEO specialists

Google judges your content based on four parameters: 

  • Experience

  • Expertise

  • Authority 

  • Trustworthiness

Here's how you can improve your page for each parameter after a Google algorithm update. 


According to Google's search quality rater guidelines, trust is the ''extent to which the page is accurate, honest, safe, and reliable.'' 

The amount and type of trust for your page would depend on its content and your industry. For example, online stores must have secure checkouts. If they have product reviews or customer testimonials on their websites, they should be honest. 

Websites in the Your Money Your Life (YMYL) category require a high level of trust. On the other hand, non-YMYL websites aren't held to the same standards. 

One way to establish trust is through displaying trust badges. A trust badge is a seal or logo that shows security and reliability. 

For example, in this Forbes article about the crypto market forecast, there's a trust badge right under the title. The ''reviewed'' tag lends this article credibility. There's also an editorial note under the header that informs the readers that commissions from partner links do not affect the editor's evaluations or opinions. 

Forbes article trust badge 

Similarly, if you have a website in the healthcare industry, you must display the trust badge for your medical license and accreditation. For example, the WebMD article on cardiac arrest has been medically reviewed by a doctor. 

WebMD article trust badge

When you do the same on your website, add links to your accreditations and licenses. If you're mentioning individuals, link to their LinkedIn or professional profiles. 

For example, whatotexpect, a pregnancy-related website, has a separate web page for its medical review board and editors’ bios. 

Whattoexpect trust signals

Other ways to establish trust include writing high-quality content and updating it regularly. E-commerce and service-centric websites should also display social proof in the form of customer reviews. Also, make sure your website has contact information and links to social media profiles. 


Google explains experience as the ''extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand or life experience for the topic.'' Establishing experience is imperative for review sites. 

For example, if you review books, you should be an avid reader. Your content should display a genuine interest and knowledge of books. 

Including mentions of your experience in your content can help boost your ranking if it has come down after an algorithm update. For instance, if you've been reviewing books for years, mention that. Maybe you have a YouTube page where you review books, or you work for a publishing house as an editor. Mention all these things on your website. 

Showing experience helps you rank higher in SERPs. For example, the search for ''best headphones for gaming'' shows PcGamer and rTINGS as top results. 

As you go to the rTINGS result, you see the following statement indicating experience: ''We've tested over 770 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy.'' A reviewer who has tested more than 700 headphones is obviously considered highly experienced. So, their content does well in SERPs. 

rTINGS reviews

Another thing that the website does to show experience is that it doesn't merely publish and forget. The bottom of each article shows recent updates that have been made to the article. It shows Google that the reviewer revisits the articles and makes updates accordingly. 

rTINGS article updates


Expertise is the ''extent to which the content creator has the necessary knowledge or skill for the topic.'' Experience has more to do with something you have done, while expertise is something you know. 

For example, if you review hotels, books, or electronics, that's your experience with these items. You're not necessarily an author or an electrician. 

On the other hand, expertise comes from knowledge acquired through education, training, skills development, or practice. For example, if you run an SEO blog, your expertise would be being an SEO expert

Many websites suffer in Google's core updates because they fail to show expertise. One way to show expertise is by personally authoring your content. Create a bio for yourself which clearly states your qualifications and experience. 

Another way to show expertise is by adding citations or references from credible sources. For example, you can get insights from industry experts and add them to your content. 

In the Forbes example earlier, the writer has done the same. They have gotten insights from strategy consultants and added them to their content, which has led to Google marking their content as high quality. 

Example of establishing expertise in content

An example of self-based expertise is Neil Patel's blog. Every article is accompanied by his bio, showing why he's qualified to write about the topic. 

Neil Patel’s bio


Google defines authoritativeness as the ''extent to which the content creator or the website is known as a go-to source for the topic.'' All the factors mentioned above combine to prove that you're an authority on the topic. 

If your website has taken a hit due to the algorithm update, it's likely that more authoritative sites than yours have been given a boost. To compete with these authoritative sites, you must create more credible content. 

Maybe your website is credible, too. However, it's still below your competitor's. Look at what they're doing, and you're not. Then, try to implement those changes in your content.

An example of differing authoritativeness despite similar content is the search for ''cardiac arrest.'' The first result is from Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM). On the other hand, the American Heart Association (AHM), which is specifically for heart-related issues, unlike JHM, which is a general medical center, comes much later in the results.

Why is JHM more authoritative in Google's view? The first thing you notice as you land on the JHM article is a trust badge. The AHM article doesn't have this. 

Johns Hopkins Medicine article trust badge

The content on both sites is also poles apart. AHM's article is quite short and has insufficient information, whereas JHM's article provides a more in-depth understanding of cardiac arrest. 

When establishing authoritativeness on your site, keep these tips in mind: 

  • Write comprehensive and well-researched content

  • Get backlinks from high-authority websites

  • Incorporate trust badges or certifications from reputable organizations

  • Update your content regularly to reflect the latest information and developments in your niche

In one of its whitepapers about how the search engine fights disinformation, Google said that its ‘’algorithms identify signals about pages that correlate with trustworthiness and authoritativeness.’’ 

That means if an already reputed site mentions you, that adds to your authoritativeness. For example, if you’re a finance blog and a news publication quotes you in their content, that builds authoritativeness for your content. Getting more mentions from authoritative sites is another way to restore your SERP standing following an algorithm update. 

Improve Your Content 

Besides working on E-E-A-T, you can also recover from an algorithm update by improving your content. Let's say you were ranking in first place for a search term. 

After the update, you have fallen to fifth place. Check the first four results and compare them to your content. 

Do they have better formatting? Are their articles longer? Do they include more specific details or examples? See where they're doing better than you. Incorporate those elements into your content. 

Zari Khan, founder at BeeSEO Agency, recommends ‘’collaborating with other authoritative websites and industry experts through guest blogging and joint content creation can significantly boost your website's expertise.’’ To establish authority: 

  • Get backlinks from trusted and reputable sources 

  • Be an active part of the community (discussion forums and groups) 

  • Show social proof on your website (customer reviews and testimonials)  

Google's 2024 update is more focused on removing spam and unhelpful content. But back in 2019, Google released a list of questions content creators should ask themselves when they judge their content on Google's quality guidelines. 

Those questions are still relevant today. After competitor analysis, check your content against these questions. 

Ram Narayan, an SEO specialist, recommends covering topics in depth. He says, ‘’Generally, content that performs well in Google's search results delves deeply into the subject matter - long-form blog posts that provide in-depth insights tend to outperform 'thin' or superficial content.’’ 

There are three ways to accomplish this:

  1. Comprehension: Make your content easy to understand. Don’t use difficult words or phrases that your audience may not understand. If you use jargon, explain it. 

  2. Keyword Use: Avoid keyword stuffing. It doesn’t only lower your content’s quality but also creates a negative user experience. 

  3. Scanning and Navigation: For long-form content, facilitate navigation. For example, use bullet points and numbering to break up text. Have a TLDR section at the top of the content. If you’re reviewing something, include a table. Similarly, add a quick takeaways or FAQs section at the end for people who’re merely scanning your content for quick answers. 

Here are some additional tips:

  • Create original content. Do not copy from other websites and try to offer something new or better than your competitors. 

  • Do not leave questions unanswered. Try to cover the topic from every angle. 

  • Create readable and engaging content. Avoid fluff and repetition; instead, make your content interesting to read by adding examples, visuals, anecdotes, case studies, and light humor. 

Also, update your content, especially the articles that have years in their title. For example, Wordstream wrote an article about the best marketing strategies for 2021. It might have been high-ranking in 2021, but it won't make much sense to readers in 2024. 

Since 2021, it has been updated a few times, with the most recent update being in February 2023. But that’s still not fresh enough. So, Google will push out this outdated content in favor of newer and more relevant articles. 

Wordstream article

If you have similar content on your website, update or rewrite it. Similarly, if any new events have occurred or new research has been published that contradicts your current content, update your web pages to reflect the most accurate information. 

Christine O’Conner, a content marketer, recommends keeping up with the trends.Google Trends is a useful resource in this regard, showing you search interest around your relevant search terms. It’s likely the trends around your keywords have changed. 

According to O’Conner, ‘’The key here is ensuring your chosen keywords align with users' needs. If they don't match, your content won't drive traffic effectively.’’After an update, check what’s currently hot in your space and tailor your content accordingly.  

However, don’t freshen stories artificially since it is against Google’s guidelines. Google also says, ‘’It’s also against our guidelines to create a very slightly updated story from a previously published one, then delete the old story and redirect to the new one.’’ Only makes changes if they have actually taken place. 

Resolve Your Website's Technical Issues

Technical SEO is just as important as any other aspect of your website. Google should be able to crawl your website easily to rank it. A poor technical setup can put all your other efforts to waste. 

Here's a checklist for technical SEO: 

Essential Technical SEO Checklist

  • Crawl your website to identify broken links or pages that return a 404 error. 

  • Fix any duplicate content issues by setting preferred URLs and using canonical tags. 

  • Fix broken links, both internal and outbound. 

  • Give your URLs a clean structure. (Google recommends a ''simple URL structure.'')

  • Have an optimized XML sitemap. 

  • Add structured data to your web pages for Google to understand their content better. 

Remove Overly Salesy Language 

Your content should help users make informed decisions about products or services. It should not be a pushy sales pitch for specific items or companies. 

Avoid using language that sounds biased towards a particular brand or product. Instead, objectively describe the features and benefits of different options available in the market. 

If you've added affiliate links for products mentioned in your review, disclose that information clearly. Similarly, if you earn from commissions, disclose it to the readers. 

How to Recover From Google's 2024 Core Update?

In the new update, Google has focused mainly on two things: 

  • Removing spam 

  • Promoting helpful content 

Apart from following all the tips above, here's what you can do to maintain your ranking after this update. 

Recovering From Google's Core Update: Essential Steps

Follow Google's Spam Policies 

Review Google's spam policy to ensure your content doesn't violate any guidelines. Google is making updates to its spam-fighting systems to curb manipulative practices for ranking higher on SERPs. 

The new updates will help Google take targeted action on complicit websites. Targeted action means that Google can take action on specific pages instead of penalizing the entire website. 

If your website's ranking has plummeted after the update, check your site's manual action history. It will show you the penalties Google has given. 

Avoid Publishing Scaled Content 

Google isn't against AI or automated content. However, the search engine giant frowns upon the practice of publishing scaled content. 

Scaled content is when you use automated tools to generate a large number of articles that are low-quality and have no added value for the user. It's a manipulative tactic used to increase website traffic. 

Google's new update will identify and demote websites that publish scaled content. According to the search engine, ''This will allow us to take action on more types of content with little to no value created at scale, like pages that pretend to have answers to popular searches but fail to deliver helpful content.'' 

If your website has scaled content, remove or add value to it. In the future, only publish helpful content that provides actual value and isn't merely clickbait for the audience. 

Remove Irrelevant Third-Party Content 

Google's 2024 core update also penalizes websites that post their content on an unrelated reputable website to leverage the host site's strong trust and reputation. For example, a travel blog might publish its itinerary templates on a reputable news site to gain more visibility. 

Google will now consider third-party content produced without the host website owner's oversight as spam. Remove such content from your website before it impacts your ranking. 

The policy was enforced on May 5, 2024.

Avoid Using Expired Domains

The long-used practice of buying expired domains and repurposing them for SEO purposes is also being targeted by Google's update. For example, if you buy an expired travel domain but use it to host your personal finance-related content to manipulate search rankings, your website will be penalized. 

If you're using an expired domain, the content should be relevant and related to the domain's former purpose. Otherwise, it's better to avoid using expired domains altogether. 

Write for People 

According to Google's recent update, your web pages should not ''feel like they were created for search engines instead of people.'' 

Google wants website owners to take a people-first approach. Follow this principle when creating content for your site. 

How Long Will It Take to Recover From an Algorithm Update? 

Google makes broad algorithm updates regularly. If you've made the recommended improvements, your website will recover after the next update. 

However, the process doesn't always take too long. Google updates its algorithm consistently, but many changes are too small to be widely noticeable. Still, they can affect your website's ranking. 

Note: Making recommended improvements isn't a guarantee that your website will recover. If there's better content out there, Google will continue to rank it higher. 


As evident, recovering from a Google algorithm update is a combination of E-E-A-T practices, helpful content creation, technical SEO, and patience. The bottom line is that your content should be helpful for Google's users. So, every step you take should be for the user's benefit. 

About the Author
Nadica Naceva is a storyteller, reviewer and strategist with an instinct for blending the worlds of online advertising and content creation. She's been in the game for nearly a decade, navigating the currents of SEO optimization, content marketing, and the digital strategies. Her path has taken her through the dynamic terrains of digital marketing, including stints at SEO and web design agencies and finally settling down as Head of Content at Influencer Marketing Hub. Nadica's approach to content? It's all about depth and precision, favoring insightful, well-researched material over the superficial or overly automated. It's this mix of in-depth knowledge and down-to-earth style that really makes her stand out as a reviewer and a voice worth listening to in the digital marketing world.