What is Google Dance? SEO Strategies for Stability

Brody Hall
Mar 26, 2024
what is google dance

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Don’t let the Google dance turn your SEO efforts into the Macarena!

To catch you up to speed on this headscratcher, here’s what awaits you:

  1. A straightforward explanation of “What is Google dance?”
  2. Unravel the factors that experts believe trigger the Google dance.
  3. Practical tips on responding to and benefiting from the Google dance in your SEO strategy.

What Is Google Dance?

Imagine crafting a blog post so epically helpful, so keyword-rich that it’s practically begging Google to shower it with top rankings. “Straight to the top with you,” is what Google would say. You hit publish, wait, and then witness the strangest anomaly unfold. Your newly created web page embarks on a wild ride—soaring to the top one day, plummeting to the depths of the search engine results pages (SERPs) the next.

It makes no sense. How do we explain this phenomenon? Two words: Google dance. Allow me to explain.

In the early 2000s, when Google used to roll out algorithm updates or make major tweaks to its existing algorithms willy-nilly, it caused SERP volatility (rapid fluctuations in rankings). Consequently, the name “dance” stuck.

Today, as Google implements incremental updates that supposedly don’t cause the same volatility as seen back in the day, the dancing of the SERPs should have simmered down. However, the numbers don’t lie. SERP volatility is still very alive and well. You only have to look at last year, 2023, to see this play out.

2023 was largely defined by the Helpful Content Update and the Reviews Update. Both had (and continue to have) huge implications for many niches, but perhaps no niche was hit harder than affiliate websites. 2023 was truly a terrible year for affiliate sites. Unless, as the below X post (tweet) shows, you are Wired, Tom’s Guide, or CNET.

Insert tweet here: https://twitter.com/Ldnbox/status/1753390620930875784?t=a91G9cvUL2DvmUewn770zg&s=19

If you aren’t in the affiliate niche, you may still have noticed the Google SERPs dancing around everywhere. If you keep an eye on the Semrush Sensor, you’ll know just how much volatility has been present in the SERPs.

A Googlequake, indeed.

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Why Is Google Dance Important?

Before you tear your hair out and declare SEO a lost cause, remember: the Google dance, while chaotic, serves a purpose.

SEO Is a Marathon Not a Sprint

Kicking around in SEO circles, you may have heard this saying, “SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.” Google Dance is a reminder of this. Sure, you might experience temporary ranking spikes and lulls. Still, true success lies in building a website that consistently delivers high-quality content, earns trust, and provides genuine value to its audience.

Remember, Google’s ultimate goal is to deliver the best possible search experience, bank that sweet, sweet ad revenue, and maintain its 90 percent market share—and the dance is their way of evaluating the “helpfulness” of content and refining the SERPs to reflect that.

The Dance Offers Feedback

The dance can be a valuable learning tool. Those ranking fluctuations offer insights into how Google perceives your website. Are you attracting the right audience? Are you meeting your target audience’s needs effectively? Are your user engagements helping or hurting your rankings?

By analyzing your site’s performance during the dance and answering these questions, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your content, user experience, and overall SEO strategy for long-term stability and growth, not just short-term quick wins.

Don’t Get Caught Flat-Footed

The Google Dance echoes the importance of staying updated with Google’s algorithm changes. Each dance could be a response to a new update, be it a major overhaul like the Helpful Content Update or more minor tweaks. By paying close attention to these changes, SEO professionals, content marketers, and website owners, possibly like yourself, can pivot their strategies accordingly, willing their websites to remain compliant with Google’s guidelines and, ideally, less susceptible to negative impacts from future dances.

Factors Influencing the Google Dance and How to Adapt

Let’s unmask the potential factors behind the Google dance:

Website Maturity

Newcomers beware. Google tends to scrutinize young websites more heavily, leading to higher volatility, particularly during their initial months of publishing. It’s all part of Google’s vetting process. So be patient as Google gathers data and assesses your website’s quality and trustworthiness.

As your website ages and gains authority, the dance will (hopefully) become less frenetic, settling into a more predictable rhythm. Consistency and high-quality content are your best friends here.

Backlink Profile

The company you keep on the dance floor matters. A healthy, diverse backlink profile signals authority and relevance, which will help establish stable rankings (again, hopefully). Contrastingly, toxic links or rapid, unnatural changes in your backlink profile may lead to volatile SERP movements, as if you’ve suddenly stepped on your partner’s toes.

Content Updates and Quality

The freshness and quality of your content are not much different from your dance moves—they need to be on point. Google appreciates a site that keeps its content up-to-date, helpful, and engaging, rewarding such efforts with a steadier position in the SERPs. On the other hand, stale or low-quality content can cause your rankings to dip and dive unpredictably.

Technical SEO

Is your website built on shaky foundations? Broken links, slow loading times, and mobile-friendliness issues can cause ranking fluctuations. A website optimized for technical SEO and providing an excellent user experience will likely maintain its position or climb higher in the rankings.

Seasonality and Trends

Some industries experience natural traffic fluctuations based on seasons or trends. Google understands this and adjusts its algorithms accordingly. If your website’s niche is prone to such volatility, don’t panic. Focus on long-term strategies like creating evergreen content and providing consistent value to your audience.

Google Dance FAQ

Q1: How Often Does the Google Dance Occur?

Answer: Yes. Even established websites aren’t immune. Algorithm updates, content changes, and niche-specific fluctuations can cause temporary ranking shifts. Major fluctuations are more noticeable during significant updates, which do not have a set schedule.

Q2: Can the Google Dance Affect Established Websites?

Answer: Yes, the Google Dance can and does affect websites of all ages and authorities, including established ones, as Google’s algorithm updates aim to assess and rank sites based on current quality and relevance.

Q3: What’s the Best Way to Deal with the Google Dance?

Answer: Focus on long-term SEO fundamentals: high-quality content, strong backlink profile, and technical soundness. Stay updated on algorithm changes, analyze performance during fluctuations, and adapt your strategy as needed. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Conclusion and Next Steps

So, my friend, that’s Google dance. And, unfortunately, for many website owners, SEOs, and content marketers, as the last 12 months or so have proved, Google dance is here to stay—for the moment, anyway.

But fear not. Navigating the ebbs and flows of the SERPs doesn’t have to be a solo journey. Loganix is here to be your guide through the unpredictable world of SEO.

🚀 Visit our SEO services page and keep your website gracefully moving to the rhythm of Google’s tune. 🚀

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Brody Hall on March 26, 2024

Content Marketer and Writer at Loganix. Deeply passionate about creating and curating content that truly resonates with our audience. Always striving to deliver powerful insights that both empower and educate. Flying the Loganix flag high from Down Under on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.