Google makes a lot of changes to their search algorithm in a years time. Last year there were 3200 0f them. These are usually minor changes we are never really told much about.
Now core algorithm changes are a bit of a different matter those are major changes that google makes to the core of how their search engine ranks websites. The last major core update in 2019 happened in June and now we have a new one that just rolled out at the end of September right around Google’s 21st b-day. Google can finally drink!
Impact of Google Core Updates
Core update usually shake up search results quite a bit since these are major changes at how google looks at your site and decides your order of importance in their search results. So when you are impacted by one it can take a bit of doing to change the impact from negative to positive. Just remember small changes in your rankings can occur and it can take up to a week for some of these to fully roll out where you can see the actual impact to your site. This latest September 2019 update seems to have had a lesser impact then the previous one according to all the third party sensors that measure search ranking volatility. So that’s good news for anyone that was doing well after the June update.
This update seems to have affected Your Money Or Your Life search terms more then the rest of the results which is not a big surprise. These are terms that are tied to finance and medical queries as well as any search that can have a negative impact on your life if the advice or service can be detrimental to your financial as well as your physical well being. Pages on these subjects are held to a much higher standard then others so its no surprise that they would be affected by a core update.
Things to Consider If you were Hit By Gogles Core Update
If your site rankings and traffic increased then you are one of the winners of a core update but what happens if you are loosing traffic and rankings? What can you do to fix the issue?
Google Core Update Site Recovery:
Google’s advice on fixing your site when it has been hit by a core update is pretty bleak up until now. The answer for the most part has been that there is nothing to fix! Well what does that mean and how can you then recover? That has been the stance up until recently however now google has given some clues as to what you should consider if you were hit. Its not a here is an A-Z of what you need to do but some guidelines as to what you might look at to improve your site. These are really not so different from what we already know about google and what they want to see in a site to give it prominence in serp’s.
Here is some of that from the horses mouth! https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2019/08/core-updates.html
For most of us as you go thru the advice you will see it is already things we know like quality content and authority that make up what to do.
Google has a definite focus on quality useful and factual content. Here is an excerpt directly from what they say to look at when your site had been hit by a core update and youre looking at how to recover from it.
Google Says “Focus On Content”
” As explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.
A starting point is to revisit the advice we’ve offered in the past on how to self-assess if you believe you’re offering quality content. We’ve updated that advice with a fresh set of questions to ask yourself about your content:
Content and quality questions
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
- If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
- Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
- Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
Presentation and production questions
- Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
- Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?”
EAT – Expertise, Authority & Trust
The Quality Raters Guidelines are a big clue as to what you can do to recover from a google core update. https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/guidelines.raterhub.com/en//searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf
It’s a long read but one that you will need to invest in. These guildelines are set forth for Google’s quality raters which are humans that check google search results by evaluating sites that appear and manually reviewing them based on the guidelines above. Why does Google do this? This helps to server as an internal check to see that the algorithm is inline with what Google thinks the search results should be. Meaning that the sites that appear are sites of a quality that they want to see delivered in their search results. This manual review helps to adjust the algorithm if it is detected that sites are appearing that are not up to the standard set by Google.
What does that mean to you as a site owner or SEO? Well it means these guidelines are the road map to ranking and staying ranking no matter how many core updates come and go. These do get updated and amended from time to time to reflect new factors in what the search engine wants to see.
So if you got hit by a core update following the quality raters guidelines and reevaluating the quality of your content are the way to recovery!