Google is an organization who through user experience and ingenuity makes necessary updates to how they can best serve their users and SEO professionals. As science and technology evolve, so must every forward-thinking firm evolve. Google is not lagging behind here and it explains why they stay up to date. We have seen updates like Panda, Penguin, and Medic which focused on quality content and unethical link building and Google isn’t stopping there and we are not tired of ourselves as marketing agencies with clients result in focus.
There have been peculiar updates since the 2000s but for the scope of this blog, we will be looking at updates from January 2019 to date. This updates, in ascending order are;
1. January 2019 Update
This update seems to target blogs and news sites. When the Google algorithm update is implemented, Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) volatility becomes high. This update is necessary as Google is set to take a note of sites with quality content. The category of sites and blog sites impacted are Art and Entertainment, Health, Autos and Vehicles, Beauty and Fitness, Jobs and Education, Homes and Gardens, News, Online Communities and many others.
The January 2019 update is similar to the 2018 Google Medic update where health and commerce sites had a significant change to their rankings. This ultimately pushes websites to ensure their Search Engine Optimization game is top-notch for even better user experience and search ranking. Google’s latest algorithm update is a path on SEO Google’s side to ensure the best of the best content is ranked. There are too many negative and unreliable sources that could lead a user astray. It is the work and joy of the Google team to see that only quality content gets served.
2. February 2019 Update
Again, there is an increase in SERPs volatility which only means there is another update from Google. Categories of websites like Automotive, Law, and Government, Health were again affected. This might be due to the E-A-T (Experience/Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) of the site. The reason why Google brought up this update might be due to User Intent, Author’s E-A-T, and quality content – how robust your reply is to a search.
This update is looking at websites that talk about expertise such as Health, Law, Automotive and this is why Google is doing all in its power to ensure quality content, trust and experience are refined.
3. March 2019 Update
Google again released a broad core algorithm update to its search algorithm so as to improve search experiences. Though small, it remains noticeable. The March update was made available so as to increase trust and authority. It was also released to check user experience. Websites that weren’t bounced were rated high, by “weren’t bounced’ here, we mean users which stayed on a site for approximately 3 minutes more often than none, and found what they were looking for. Google through this update points on user experience or perception.
The update is to make authors focus more on their brand, carve a niche and consistently build it. This is what Google is trying to fix with the update and if any website does not meet up to this standard, they result in lower rankings.
Focus more on a quality website, good user experience, and resourcefulness and your web properties will get ranked even better.
4. June 2019 Update
On the 2nd of June, Google announced the broad core algorithm update for June and it went live on the 3rd. This was actually the first time in the year Google announced there was going to be an update. Danny Sullivan of Google came out to say it was not in any way a big update. Google, alongside the June update, released another update called the Diversity Update. This was a tweet from Google as regards the update;
“Have you ever done a search and gotten many listings all from the same site in the top results? We’ve heard your feedback about this and want more variety. A new change now launching in Google Search is designed to provide more site diversity in our results…
This site diversity change means that you usually won’t see more than two listings from the same site in our top results. However, we may still show more than two in cases where our systems determine it’s especially relevant to do so for a particular search….
Site diversity will generally treat subdomains as part of a root domain. IE: listings from sub domains and the root domain will all be considered from the same single site. However, sub-domains are treated as separate sites for diversity purposes when deemed relevant to do so….
Finally, the site diversity launch is separate from the June 2019 Core Update that began this week. These are two different, unconnected releases.”
This update feels more like a little reversal of the update released in March because many of the losers in March like WebMD had this update work perfectly for them. The update also ensured Your Money Your Life (YMYL) niche like health, finance had major shakeups. Google said if you experience low traffic on your site, this may not be your fault and there is no fix either. If your website is a sales page say a product, focus more on information about the product before the actual sale is aired. Google ranks websites that do this way above those who concentrate only on sales. Again, if you were affected by the broad core algorithm update, it could be due to Google search intent.
If affected, get your website fixed by knowing words or pages that went up likewise those that went down. You should also put up creative content like adding videos to your content or Q&A session to avoid very thin content.
5. July 2019 Update
July brought an unconfirmed maverick algorithm update. It’s unsure if this is a proper update due to the fact that Google said nothing about it. It nevertheless remains a thing to look into due to rankings and major shifts that occurred between the 11th and 18th of July. Compared to other updates, this didn’t affect any niche or websites and it makes one think it could be one of the about 3000 algorithms Google writes yearly although some make more impact than the others.
There were no winners or losers from the update, but people who noticed they lost traffic and ranking shouldn’t panic because it might be due to any other numerous factors. Your traffic rating could be down to your website’s creativity or your derail from quality content. As a bonus, check to see you what you are not doing right.
6. August 2019 Update
In August came some major update, Google identified they had indexing issues, released algorithm update, and also released some new features. On indexing issues, Google confirmed they had problem indexing and a bug was affecting some sites. Google didn’t deem this to be a serious problem but it was. Big publishers were affected since they couldn’t pull their news to Google news. Alongside this, Google had a problem with its URL inspection tool within the search console. This posed threat since Authors or webmasters couldn’t submit their sites for indexing. People who fed on publishing fresh articles were left to their own. Google later came out a few days later to announce they had fixed every impending issue.
The latest, though not a new feature to be released by Google was to help users have the best experience. When a user makes a search online, Google ensures the most relevant reply shows on top of users. This saves users from going through tons of websites to find exactly what they want. Although this feature already exists on mobile through AMP cache, Google is now testing it on Chrome and other browsers. This works when a user clicks on a featured snippet.
On the Algorithm update, Google has the intention of making search better by keeping featured snippets and making them relevant. This was made known by Pandu Nayak, Google’s Vice President of search. The updates work by improving Google’s system understanding to know what you want, what is useful to you and what becomes obsolete over time. This system is most useful for featured snippets. Google is working on queries where fresh snippets are important and how to make them stay relevant.
7. September 2019 Update
Google rolled out a September update on the 23rd of the month. It was a core algorithm update and the available data from Semrush, cognitive SEO and a host of others showed the update caused a spike but milder compared to July’s core update. The Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) and the travel categories had concrete volatility. In order to correct what happened during Medic Update, health websites also chunked up rankings. In summary, niches most impacted were; travel, money, and health but none can be single-handedly picked to be most impacted.
Google’s advice to authors and webmasters including marketing agencies who had their rankings dropped was to do more as regards their content as it could be the major reason why they are not hitting an all-time high. In the guideline released by Google is the EAT concept. Yes, we have talked about this before but let’s get it one more time. The EAT concept is;
E for Expertise – A high level of expertise is needed in the YMYL category. You can’t be, say a Physicist and give sound medical advice. Google targets misleading medical claims and fraud.
A for Authority – Creating content that is safe, sound and informed is an authority. Are you credible?
T for Trust – This from Google means, is your website and contents reliable? Can they be trusted? To build trust, always add statistics to your claims and any other helpful resource.