Google's Latest Core Algorithm Update: What We Know
On August 1, Google confirmed it had released another "broad core algorithm update". If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the same phrase used to describe the update back in March and the following update in April.
Here’s the announcement from Google:
This week we released a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains the same as in March, as we covered here: https://t.co/uPlEdSLHoX— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) August 1, 2018
According to Danny Sullivan (who also runs the Search Liason Twitter account), the update rollout should be just about done today:
A few days. Say by middle of next week, should be fully rolled out.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) August 3, 2018
Search Engine Roundtable is also reporting that SEOs and website owners are seeing things stabilize as well.
What’s a "Broad Core Update"?
To trot out the old line, Google releases updates every day. Some address specific issues with Google’s algorithms, or target specific factors. The famous "named" updates (Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, etc.), as well as the recent Speed Update, fall into this category.
In this case, Google is changing the core algorithm it uses to rank sites in search results. That same algorithm that relies on hundreds and hundreds of factors. What a "core update" means is that Google is somehow tweaking or updating the importance, weighting or value of these signals.
Google’s making changes to its secret recipe.
This helps explain why their guidance regarding these updates is so vague: they can’t give specific, actionable advice without giving away their core ranking algorithm.
What’s Been the Impact?
The impact of this update has been varied. Some website owners reported huge surges in traffic, some claimed their sites fell off the face of the Earth, others haven’t seen much impact at all, and some website have reported huge fluctuations in rankings.
Some selected comments from the discussion on WebMasterWorld:
One site reported big losses after benefiting from the other recent updates:
All last 4 or 5 updates benefited my site, this one killed it, non spam niche, never bought a sidebar link or other non sense, my competitors are all buying links on sidebars and have 200k-400k links each…
All my articles are detailed while competitors are doing lets say top 10 PC tables and write 3 sentences about each… I am really confused and frustrated, spent at least 4-5 hours daily on site writing a single article.
Another reported little to no activity:
Not sure if I see much happening in my niche this morning beyond the normal small churn of rankings.
Some experienced large fluctuations:
UPDATE! After being thrown from page 3 to page 9 in desktop search I am now on top of page 5. A real roller coaster and its not over yet. I hope I will get into page 2 by the end of the day (its ok to dream sometimes).
Others saw impressive gains:
I’m quite happy with this update. My affiliate sites in the law and government vertical have either gone up 35-45% or remained stable. I think it has been a testament to studying the search quality guidelines religiously. I have read the document like the bible and made changes based off of it since my sites tanked from fred, macabees and may 24.
And some are having a really bad day:
I just want to die
Local SEO expert Joy Hawkins reported big changes to local search results as well:
Seeing a ton of organic AND local ranking changes as a result of this big algorithm update. I'm still looking through cases but I'm seeing a large amount of movement and will try and update this thread with findings: https://t.co/pEXZTnHxxe— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) August 3, 2018
For what it’s worth, at WooRank the number of users in Google Analytics has increased 6.2% since the update, while Google Search Console is reporting
- 75% increase in impressions
- 10% increase to clicks
- 9% increase to average position
Even better, our blog traffic has increased 39% since the update.
We’re also seeing significant jumps for certain keywords in Keyword Tool:
How Should You Respond?
The best advice in the case of a broad core update is to simply focus on answering users’ questions/meeting search intent, improving expertise, authority and trustworthiness (EAT), internal linking and overall site quality.
In the case of core updates, it’s possible (maybe even likely) that a site could do absolutely nothing wrong but still lose position to a competitor who was doing a could of small things slightly better.
As the dust settles we’ll check back in for a deeper analysis of this update. Barry Schwartz’s survey on the impact of the update is still available on Search Engine Roundtable.
Have you experienced big changes due to Google's latest core algorithm update? Tell us below!