The effects of Google's algorithm updates

In this Ebook, we’ve highlighted five of our favourite tools that we’ve found most useful during the most recent Google algorithm updates. Continue reading to learn more about the updates, what effects they had on certain industries and how you can help your site recover if you were hit badly.

Google is always watching. They’re ever-tweaking and updating their algorithm, therefore positions of webpages change in the search engine results page (SERP). Small changes are being made constantly in any given month of any given year. Perhaps even right now.

A few times a year, though, Google rolls out a major algorithm update, the latest of which was named the June 2019 Core Update. The June update was significant in that Google gave it a name, and in a rather unprecedented move announced the update in advance.

How does an algorithm update affect me?

Algorithm updates essentially mean Google is making alterations to how they assess the rankings of websites based on a multitude of factors, therefore after an update, rankings may change and organic traffic to said sites could be affected as a result.

Think your website may have been hit by the latest update? Our advice remains not to panic and not to immediately react, but having a plan in place to diagnose if you’ve been affected is the important first step – and that’s where this guide will come in handy!

But first, some takeaways from the June update so we know what we’re dealing with.

Timeline of events: June 2019 Core Update

 

 

What were the effects of the June 2019 update?

Sistrix reported, just two days following the update, that “the field of affected domains seems to be wider in this update than in previous”. Their very early analysis saw news sites, retail sites and others classed as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life – those involving financial transactions or health/lifestyle).

A significant impact was felt by certain websites – after just 24 hours of the update being rolled out, the UK news site Daily Mail revealed they had “lost 50% of daily traffic”. Similarly, CCN.com, a bitcoin news site, reported their traffic dropped 71% on mobile, resulting in a 90% decrease in daily revenue! In the same industry, CoinDesk also reported a significant drop but to a lesser extent.

These are examples, particularly Daily Mail, of ‘high authority’ websites that traditionally performed well with Google (therefore expected to be regarded to be a quality and trustworthy source) yet clearly lost rankings due to this update.

Conclusions are still being drawn, but the principles of EAT – expertise, authority and trustworthiness – seem to be a factor again which played a large part in the Google update from August 2018, also known as “Medic”. It could be that Daily Mail was no longer deemed to have the same level of trust, or it could be that this update is broader again.

How to check if you’ve been affected by the June 2019 algorithm update

When a major algorithm update like this one has rolled out, watch and wait. It’s better to be proactive than reactive where SEO is concerned, even if Google is now pre-announcing the updates.

A recent tweet from Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison of search, sums it up for us:

 

Be prepared with your website and deliver what the user wants and (so the theory goes) the algorithm update will reward the sites in the SERPs that do just that.

What to do if you’ve been affected

Naturally, people still ask, “how do I fix my site after a Google update?”.

So are there any fixes? As ever, the concentration of a site owner should be delivering great content and at the same time considering the trustworthiness factors we’re now all thinking about since “Medic”.

John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, recently made reference to three things Google may see as NOT trustworthy (avoid these):

  • Your website looks outdated
  • Users don’t recognise who your authors are
  • Your author photos are not their real photos but stock images

They’re just quick examples, and Mueller can’t reveal too many specifics. Again, it’s being proactive with content and EAT factors, but no time like the present to implement a new strategy if you are concerned. Think about the overall ‘image’ of your site – ask for opinions (from unbiased sources) about how people view the site and if they trust it.

Danny Sullivan and John Mueller are two SEOs useful to follow on Twitter for insight around algorithm updates as they happen.

Review the questions that came about with the Panda update and the almost 200 pages (eek!) of the Quality Raters Guidelines, both good reference guides for creating quality content – yes, these are not exactly fixes if your website was affected by an update, but these guidelines will need to be reviewed and implemented sooner rather than later.

If you’re concerned about your rankings since the update, let us help.

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