Monitor Google Algorithm Changes with These Handy Tools



Spring and early summer have been a busy time for changes at Google. Mobilegeddon came and went without destroying online business as we know it. The impact of late May’s “Phantom” update, or Quality Update, is still being sussed out by experts.

As an SEO professional I find I warn clients less and less about algorithm changes. Major historical changes like Panda or Penguin affected many large sites on the web. More recent changes target certain sectors (like How-To sites). The Quality Update was not announced prior to launch and didn’t come with any other warnings, while the Mobile update came with a testing tool and a list of best practices.

Google algorithm changes are boogeymen in the world of SEO and take the blame whenever something goes wrong. I can’t count the number of prospective clients I’ve spoken to who say “We’ve been hit by the Panda and that’s why we have no traffic!” only to evaluate their statistics closer and find that they stopped blogging, or they made a major migration mistake.

Moz Algorithm Change Report

Rather than fear these changes, I’ve always been intrigued. Changes are happening more frequently than ever before. Moz’s Google Algorithm Change Report says Google changes things up “around 500–600 times” a year now. This a a great tool to review recent & historical changes.



Moz also updates a daily weather forecast that demonstrates volatility in Google’s algorithm and rankings. This is great for noticing heavy flux right before updates are announced. Is the temperature very hot? That’s a good signal that changes are being made.

Check your traffic and rankings, do you see Moz’s observations reflected there? Make sure to check out



Panguin is a pretty cool tool offered by Barracuda Digital that I don’t see mentioned often. It uses an OAuth token to connect your Google Analytics data with an overlay line graph of major algorithm changes. This is a great way to quickly settle the “How bad was the damage” question. You can turn types of algo changes on and off on the right rail and hover over any colored line to see relevant details about that Google update.

Here’s what Panguin looks like layered over the Analytics data from a non-profit site I work with in my spare time:


Google Trends

Lastly, our old friend Google Trends got it’s first update in over 3 years recently. Data is now much closer to real time, allowing exploration by certain dates and even hourly. It’s also a great opportunity to monitor web search volume around algo updates. Here’s a comparison of interest in algorithm-centric terms from the last seven days:


Monitoring changes in Google Search shouldn’t make you cower in fear. Seize the opportunity for change, monitor the constantly fluctuating action, and be proactive! Share your tips below.

Michael Bartholow is a Senior Search Project Manager. He has a special knack for B2B Lead Generation and e-Commerce Marketing. Michael holds an Integrative Arts degree from Penn State University and uses the same SEO & PPC skills he once employed to promote award-winning independent films to help businesses across a variety of verticals find audiences. He has Google certifications in Analytics & AdWords.

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