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Technical Issues Usually Not a Trigger for Core Update Problems

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Technical Issues Usually Not a Trigger for Core Update Problems

Google’s John Mueller affirmed that technical issues don’t generally cause a ranking loss after a core update. Mueller said that core update ranking problems are more associated with quality issues and offered examples of the kinds of perceived quality issues that a core update isn’t sensitive too.

Overhauled Website Just Prior to Core Update

The person asking the question wrote that they had performed a major update to a site just prior to a Google core algorithm update. After the update the website rankings crashed and stayed crashed for up to six months and still not recovered.

John Mueller Discussing Core Algorithm Updates

John Mueller discussing Google core algorithm updatesScreenshot of John Mueller

This is the question that was asked:

“Our website was ranking well before we performed a design overhaul. Our timing was terrible, as a core update was released just after the launch, which had some issues with internal links.

We suspect Google reassessed the site quality at this time, but we could resolve the issues.

Our ranking and traffic dropped a lot and lost all rich snippets in the process and is in limbo for the last five, six months.

Do we wait for another core update for Google to assess our site quality again or does this happen when the website is re-crawled?”

It’s Useful to Learn What a Core Update Is

In his answer, John made a recommendation and then offered two insights into what usually does not trigger a core update-related ranking drop.

Mueller started with the suggestion to research on what a core algorithm update is in order to be better able to diagnose why a site lost search visibility following a core update.

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He recommended:

“So I think there are a few things here that come together.

But first of all, I would recommend checking out our blog post that we did about core updates. I think it’s called “What Site Owners Should Know About Core Updates,” something along those lines.

And it has a lot of information about core updates, especially about …the kinds of issues that we look into there and how things are resolved over time.

So that’s kind of the first thing I would do in a case like this.”

Insight 1: Core Updates Use Data Collected Over Long Term

Mueller next offered the insight that the kind of issues that can cause a negative core update-related outcome are problems that are ongoing over the long term and not technical issues that result in a sudden and dramatic change.

The sound in the video cut out in the beginning part of Mueller’s answer.

“…the information that we use for core updates to understand the site, is something that’s collected more over the long term.

It’s not something where if, right when the core update launched you had a technical issue, then suddenly your site would fall into this problem.

It’s really something that is collected more over a longer period of time.

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So that means if you are seeing any effects from a core update, that’s usually due to a longer period of time, where we’ve kind of run into issues that we’re looking at with regards to the core updates.”

Insight 2: Technical Issues Not Same as Quality Issues

The second insight is that technical issues aren’t generally what cause a core update related problem. Mueller pointed to more quality-related issues.

Mueller also pointed out that small technical issues like broken links aren’t generally the cause of core update ranking problems.

Mueller continued his answer:

“Also, with regards to technical issues, usually that’s not a trigger for core updates or kind of for core updates to, kind of, to not really know what to do with the website, because technical issues tend not to be the same as quality issues.

Obviously there can be some technical issues that, when a user looks at the website, kind of makes it impossible to actually use the website.

But if it’s just something small, then that’s usually not a big issue.

So if you have things like 404s on a page or some broken links, that wouldn’t be a reason for our quality algorithms to kind of jump in.

But there are lots of other things that our quality algorithms do look for, and they’re all in the blog post.

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So I would recommend taking a look at that.

With regards to the resolution after improving your website, that’s also mentioned in the blog post.

Some of these things will improve steadily over time as we reprocess your website.

And some of them do require that our quality algorithms take another run through the site and that might take a while for that to happen.”

Core Update Insights

John Mueller offered several helpful recommendations and insights about core algorithm update and loss of rankings.

  • First, it’s useful to become acquainted with Google’s Core Algorithm Update explainer.
  • Next he said that core updates use information about a website that is collected over the long term. This is something worth thinking about.
  • Lastly, Mueller noted that technical issues aren’t really in the same category as the typical quality issues that a core algorithm update tends to be about.

Citations

Read Google’s Core Algorithm Update Explainer

What site owners should know about Google’s core updates

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 10:53 minute mark:

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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers

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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers

The number of online surveys has risen dramatically in the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.

From short social media polls to lengthy feedback forms, it’s never been easier to survey your target audience and find out what exactly they’re thinking.

When it comes to free survey makers, you have plenty of options to choose from.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is you have to wade through your options to figure out the best survey tool for you.

In this article, I’ve done that dirty work for you.

Below I outline the top six free survey makers, with a simple bulleted list of their pros and cons, so you can quickly select the best one for your needs.

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But first up, the caveats.

What You’re Missing With Free Survey Makers

When something’s free, there’s usually a catch. The same goes for free survey makers.

Free survey tools, or the free plan offered by a paid survey tool, often come with the following limitations:

  • Limited export options. You may not be able to export your survey data for review in Excel or Google Sheets. There may be a PDF-only export option or no export ability at all.
  • Limited analytics. Free survey tools often skimp on the analytics. You may be left to your own pivot tables and Excel expertise if you want to create anything fancy from your survey data.
  • Limited survey functionality. This runs the gamut, from a limit on how many respondents or questions you can have per survey, to only allowing so many question types (e.g., multiple-choice, long-form, etc.).
  • Limited extra perks. By perks, I mean those other features that make software from good to great. With survey makers, that might mean easy-to-access support, the ability to embed surveys in email or webpages, multiple user accounts, or integration with other email marketing or CRM software.
  • No branding. Free survey makers give you their tools for free. In return, you provide them with free brand awareness. Don’t expect to be able to swap out their logo for your own. You’ll probably be stuck with their branding, along with a prominent link to their site throughout the survey or on the thank you page (or both).

If any of the above is a dealbreaker for you, you should plan to drop a little dough on a paid survey tool. That’s why I’ve also included the starting price for all six of the tools featured below.

In case you end up having to upgrade later, it’s easier to do so from a tool you’re already familiar with.

Top 6 Free Survey Tools

Without further ado, I present the best free survey makers you’ll find today. These are listed in no particular order.

1. Google Forms

Screenshot by author, June 2022

Do you live and die by your Google Drive?

Great news: Google also offers free survey software via Google Forms.

Alright, I know I just said these were presented in no particular order, but I’ll openly admit Google Forms is my personal favorite. Just look at all of the features they include in their free plan!

All you need is a free Google account to get started.

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Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Export to Google Sheets.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Ability to embed images and YouTube videos.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website and share to social media.
  • Survey analytics, updated in real-time.
  • Integration with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
  • Unlimited collaborators.
  • Customizable survey templates.
  • Free branding.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Enhanced security and collaboration options.
  • Integration with your existing Google Workplace account.

Price: Completely free. Google Workplace pricing starts at $6 per user per month.

Best for: Anyone and everyone, for business or casual use.

2. SurveyMonkey

surveymonkeyScreenshot by author, June 2022

SurveyMonkey is the online survey tool. Established in 1999, it’s still the most well-known online survey software.

Despite the limitations of its free plans, SurveyMonkey continues to be popular thanks to its intuitive interface and brand recognition. Notable clients include Allbirds, Tweezerman, and Adobe.

One nice perk is that you can test out any of the paid features with your free plan. (You just won’t be able to actually use it in your live survey until you pay up.)

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions.
  • 15 question types.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Over 250 customizable survey templates.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Mobile app.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions, question types, and responses.
  • Data exports – this is a biggie!
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Advanced security (single sign-on, HIPAA compliance).
  • A/B testing.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $16 per month for individuals, $25 for teams.

Best for: Those who want a tried-and-true survey maker with all the features you could ask for.

3. Typeform

typeformScreenshot by author, June 2022

Many online survey tools are designed for the general public.

Readers of Search Engine Journal will be happy to hear that there’s a survey tool created just for us. Typeform was built specifically with marketers, UX researchers, and business owners like us in mind.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

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  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 10 responses per month.
  • Basic question types.
  • Basic reporting and analytics
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Integrations with MailChimp, HubSpot, Trello, Google Sheets, Zapier, and more.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Custom thank you screen.
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Ability to accept payment.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Integration with Facebook pixel and Google Tag Manager.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users, UX researchers, and marketers hoping to track customer behavior.

4. Zoho Survey

zoho surveyScreenshot by author, June 2022

Zoho Survey is part of the same Zoho suite of apps that caters to sales, HR, IT, finance, and virtually any kind of business user you can think of.

Given their tenure creating SaaS software for business, their survey tool is just as robust as you might expect. Customers include big names like Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Change.org.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website, or share to social media.
  • Export to PDF.
  • 250 survey templates.
  • Password protection and HTTPS encryption.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Ability to export to XLS or CSV.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Team collaboration.
  • Real-time responses.
  • Multilingual surveys.
  • Integration with Google Sheets, Tableau, Shopify, Zendesk, Eventbrite, and others.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $25 per month.

Best for: Zoho users, or anyone who needs an extra level of security for their surveys.

5. Alchemer

alchemer survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

Alchemer is an advanced survey maker developed for the enterprise client.

Paid features include custom coding so you can customize every single element of your survey, from the survey URL to the form logic.

They stand out among free survey makers for being one of the few (besides Google Forms) to offer unlimited questions and Excel exports in their free plan. Clients include Disney, Salesforce, Verizon, and The Home Depot.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Three surveys at a time.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • 100 responses.
  • 10 question types.
  • Export to Excel.
  • Customizable templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Unlimited question types.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Ability to embed surveys in websites.
  • Export to PDF, PowerPoint, or Word.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Survey analytics and reporting.
  • Ability to accept payment.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $49 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users needing to create long surveys with advanced logic and question types.

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6. Jotform

jotform survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

With over 10,000 templates, Jotform takes the cake as the survey maker with the most form templates on our list.

Jotform also stands out for letting you accept payments with the free plan (although you’re limited to 10).

This popular survey maker includes clients as wide-ranging as AMC and Nickelodeon to Redfin and the American Medical Association.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Five surveys.
  • 100 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website.
  • Export to PDF or Excel.
  • 10,000 survey templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • HIPAA compliance.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Users who want a template for every kind of survey possible.

Which Survey Tool Will You Use?

There truly is a survey maker for everybody.

The above options are all solid choices. Which one works for you may depend on your organization’s needs and your personal preferences.

Take advantage of the free trials and see which one you like best.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock



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