By Paul Schmidt
SEO is a fast-changing art and science. The strategy and tactics you use will be different based on your type of business. A brick and mortar business should understand the levers that help them appear in a 3-pack and drive more people to their storefront. On the other hand, a b2b healthcare technology brand may be more focused on increasing organic traffic to their blog and website to drive in form submissions.
Regardless of your type of business, here are the 7 tools to help you stay up to date with SEO changes.
Every week, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller spends an hour answering questions from marketers, developers and SEO enthusiasts around the world. Mueller is peppered with SEO questions and scenarios ranging from beginner to extremely technical. This YouTube channel has all of the Google Hangouts from previous sessions to help you stay up to date with many Google changes. Further, this channel also hosts international Google Hangouts for those in non-English speaking countries.
This is the definitive record of all of the major Google changes over the course of the last 15 years. If you ever experience a sudden spike/drop in traffic, this of one of first places you can go to see if that change occurred during the time of a major algorithm update. Keep in mind Google tweaks its search algorithms daily and many of these changes are not publically announced. This resource will show you the changes that are verified by Google. This is a must-bookmark.
Mike Blumenthal’s Local SEO blog is one of the best places to keep up to date with local SEO changes. After every major local search change, Mike provides insight on how these changes affect how businesses show up in local listings. He also also provides helpful walkthroughs on setting up specific local search functionality. ***PRO TIP*** Mike also has a local SEO category tool that will help you decide which categories you should report on within your Google+ Business page.
What does Google have up its sleeve for next year or 5 years down the road? Bill Slawski’s blog reports on SEO patents that are filed by major search engines. Google doesn’t implement the technology within each one of its patents, so it’s hard to know which ones will be rolled out worldwide. Slawski provides theories and analysis on how these patents would affect user’s search experience.
As I mentioned in #2, keeping a close eye on your organic traffic and leads analytics is fundamental to staying up to date with SEO changes. As search engines make shifts to their algorithms, how is this affecting your ability to drive business through your website. I recommend Google Analytics for understanding these changes on a page by page basis.
If you haven’t installed Google Search Console on your website, STOP...and do it now. It’s free. Google Search Console keeps you up to date with changes by giving you data on your existing presence within Google and they will communicate most major issues that would prevent you from getting indexed. You will also receive notifications from Google if you’ve received a manual action against your website.
Moz’s feature graph reports on the frequency of specific features that show up with the SERPs. Different features that Google rolls out can significantly impact how your business is displayed in the search results. This tool will keep you up to date with SEO changes and help you see if there are certain features your organization can take advantage of to increase your organic visibility.
What are your favorite tools or resources to stay up to date with SEO changes?