Google Core Algorithm Update: It is that time of the year again! After seven months, Google has confirmed the rolling out of a new broad core algorithm update. This is the third core update of the year, with the first one in January 2020 and the second in May 2020 As is typical with these algorithm updates, it will take about one to two weeks to fully roll out.

It is often difficult to determine how a website will be affected by these updates. Whether these are positive or negative changes, the impacts are noticeable.  Google Broad core updates are designed to produce noticeable effects across all search results in all countries and languages. Websites will inevitably notice drops or gains in search rankings when this Google core algorithm update rolls out.

Changes in search rankings are indicative of the relevancy of your site’s content. If your content has become more relevant since the last update then it’s likely to be moved higher up in rankings. These are elements to focus on when optimising your site.

Whenever Google announces a change to their ranking algorithm, it often strikes panic for many website owners, especially those that don’t understand how the search engines work and what’s necessary for successful SEO. Historically, many often assume the worst when it comes to core updates however, these updates are also opportunities for sites to be rewarded for their optimization efforts over the past several months. Brushing up on the basics of these core updates may help quell some of the concerns many of us have.

Google Core Algorithm Update

What Is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

With Google’s recent announcement of the December core update, many were left confused about the purpose of such updates. The question then remains, what is a Google Core algorithm update

It is important to note that Google releases hundreds of updates every year. Many of these have names and are widely known about (penguin, panda, pigeon etc) and are released to address specific issues in Google’s algorithm. Each of these named updates have a specific purpose and are announced so that websites may remedy these issues and improve their rankings. 

Core updates, however, are different. In a nutshell, a core update is an improvement and change in the importance, order, weights, or values of the signals that help rank a website.

A Google core algorithm update is a change to the main search algorithm itself. In addition to these changes, a core update may also be done to incorporate new features that determine how websites are ranked. It is an improvement (or various improvements) to the overall algorithm that’s used to understand users’ search queries and websites better. These aim to improve the accuracy in matching search queries to ensure a better user experience.

However, there are many varying factors that affect a website’s ranking. As a result, Google can’t tell us what is changing and what we need to do to improve, without revealing the most important aspects of their algorithm.


Google Core Algorithm update analytics and data

How to Recover From a Google Core Algorithm Update

From Penguin to Panda, being affected by a core update is a normal occurrence for many websites, especially if there is room for improvement. Unlike major updates that target specific issues, a google core algorithm update tweaks the values of various aspects in their algorithm.

All websites are measured against each other.  The reason your site has dropped in ranking could be entirely different to the reason somebody else’s website sees an increase or decrease in rankings. According to Google, there is no one way to “recover” from a core update, as the answer will vary from website to website. It’s likely that this algorithm update didn’t penalize your website but rather rewarded another site more for something else.

For Success During a Google Core Algorithm Update, Keep Focusing on:

Google Core Algorithm Update: Diagnosing Changes

There is a large range of tools to understand the drops in rankings after a core update. These can help identify keywords and landing pages which have been affected. Using Google’s own tools is one of the best ways to provide some insight into website changes and understand how to progress and improve.

Google Search Console and Analytics: 

Google Search console has become a valuable resource and tool to help analyse the performance of your website. It is a free service that lets you learn and analyse a range of information about your website and the people who visit it.

Search Console is a great tool to help tell you how many people are visiting your site and how they are finding it, what device they are accessing your site from, and which pages are the most popular. It can also help you find and fix errors, submit a sitemap, as well as create and check a robots.txt file.

Thus, when it comes to diagnosing changes for a google core algorithm update, google search console is invaluable. By using this data we are able to see where our clicks have dropped off, and analyse what specific landing pages have been affected.

Google search console offers the ability to analyse and compare historical data, making it easier to see what major changes have occurred. Using historical data will give you a good idea of what has dropped off by landing page, keyword, and device. This will help answer various questions and provide a guide on where to improve in the future.

In addition to analysing changes by date, there are a number of other ways to use the Search Console to assess the effect of core updates.

These include:

  • Filtering by country to see if a particular target market has been affected
  • Looking at device types to see if there are any differences between devices
  • Using the ‘Search Appearance’ filter to see which results are showing up most

Much like Search Console, Google Analytics is another web analytics tool that lets you analyse website data and statistics. It has various filters that let you gather real-time information about current users and source it is coming from. It also allows you to compare historical data, making diagnosing changes easy. Combining Analytics with Search Console data will give you further insight into the changes that have occurred.

google core algorithm update paper and hands

Google Core Algorithm Update: E-A-T

Once we have some understanding of the impact an algorithm update has on your website, you can then begin on a plan to improve and better your rankings.

Standing for expertise, authority and trust, E-A-T is a concept that analyses the overall quality of your website. E-A-T is what makes up your website, from your backlinks to the quality and relevance of your content. However, a common misconception that people have is that E-A-T is measurable by metrics and scores. In truth, E-A-T is a concept and cannot be measured outside of the perceived quality of your website.

As with any digital marketing campaign, content is key to a successful website. When improving E-A-T, ensuring your content is informative and relevant to your users is crucial. Some questions to ask when analysing the content of your website are:

  • Is the content detailed and relevant?
  • Are there internal and external links to relevant sources?
  • Is the author a valid and trustworthy source?

By answering these questions you can determine and identify areas of weakness and help create a plan for improvement.

Some additional elements to consider when improving E-A-T:

  • Give time to personal branding (This can be done by updating the About Us and Testimonials Pages)
  • Be active on various social media platforms
  • Provide quality backlinks rather than the quantity
  • Remove poor content from your website

Google Core Algorithm Update

There is No Handbook for Recovery

Whenever Google updates its search ranking algorithms, there will be a noticeable change in its search ranking performance. This often creates panic for many SEOs and website owners. However, knowing that these updates occur us makes it easier to understand if the changes were a result of changes on your web site or changes in Google’s ranking algorithm. 

There is no defined handbook or guideline on how to recover from an algorithm update. Consistency is key when recovering from a Google core algorithm update. Oftentimes, we blame poor-quality content for lower-rankings, while technical issues are another major factor that can affect the ranking of a website. Focusing on the website as a whole proves to be more beneficial, as opposed to thinking that there is a single factor affecting the ranking of your site.

Google Core Algorithm Update

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There is no harm in getting outside help. Often a fresh pair of eyes is all you need in improving your website. If you need help with your improving your site’s SEO, our amazing SEO and digital marketing experts are here to help. Get in touch with us today and we will be happy to assist!

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