As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to freeze travel and economic activities, battering governments and concerned global institutions, SEO communities are sending a message to Google: pause algorithms.
Barry Schwartz, a prominent figure in the digital marketing community and founder of SEroundtable, recently conducted a poll to draw out sentiments. He asked his Twitter followers whether "Google should stop pushing out algorithms" while COVID-19 paralyses the world. The majority, approximately 58 per cent, answered YES. Around 42 per cent, on one hand, said NO.
There were 1,100 individuals who joined the poll.
The call to pause algorithms is pretty reasonable. Search engines crawl pages automatically and record data. But people are panic-stricken and the last thing they want to see is bad stats.
Many SEOs, for one, worry that dropping stats will lead to more client losses. Clients are likewise in a state of confusion and fear. Pausing the algorithms, at least until the outbreak is contained, can be beneficial for everyone's peace of mind.
Schwartz personally believes everything should be kept as normal as possible.
Responses on the Twitter thread mostly expressed their fear of major algorithm changes while COVID-19 is still present. There was a heated discussion on Webmasterworld. Someone said Google would be "heartless" if it pulls another major update while everyone else is already "on edge" with the virus. Definitely a point to be taken seriously. This may all boil down to perceptions of corporate social responsibility.
How much traffic decline? It varies per industry. Some websites are doing well than others. Several more are losing both traffic and sales.
For the optimistic ones, it's not a big deal. However, pausing algorithms may temporarily alleviate fears and motivate SEOs to bounce back once the outbreak is over.