Many people in the digital marketing world were impacted last month when Google introduced a Google broad core algorithm update. There has been an obvious and visible change in the rankings of search results for many websites. Google confirmed this via a tweet:
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
Here is Google’s official statement:
“Just like with every broad core update, webmasters around the world are once again going over ranking fluctuations and examining ranking factors with a fine-tooth comb. Many websites hoped their rankings would increase, and it did, while others either had a drop of rankings or no change at all.”
Google Broad Core Algorithm Update vs. Core Search Update
If you are unfamiliar with digital marketing or SEO, Google updates and changes their algorithm very often, more often than they even announce. They do two types of updates – small daily algorithm updates and major ones several times per year.
Daily algorithm updates – core algorithm updates – generally happen a couple times a day, but are not really reported and there isn’t much info revealed about them. On the other hand, the Broad Core Algorithm Updates happen only few times per year and usually make significant changes in search results for users. These updates are focused on improving the quality of search results and providing the best possible user experience to it’s users. This is really the main difference, creating more relevance, between the two types of updates.
What do I do if I’ve noticed Rankings have dropped?
Many people have noticed a drop in their key rankings for some search queries. This is due to the fact the update was focused on improving user experience by providing contextual results based on search intent. Just like the update from March, there are no website fixes for those hit by the update.
If your website, or some of your key pages had a drop in ranking after the broad core update, it is not because your website lacks quality, has issues, or is being penalized. Google explains this as a result of having other pages which were “under-rewarded” and now are ranking higher after the update. Or as Google officially stated:
“As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less than well, now. Instead, it’s the changes to our systems that are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”
One of the things you can do is identify if there are content pages that are lacking in quality and see if there is a need to overhaul your content strategy or just make some minor updates to it. The key is to remember to tailor it to the search intent of your target audience. Based on our research and findings, we noticed that the focus has shifted from keyword-centric results to topic-based results. This is Google’s way of providing searchers with insightful results answering their search queries, matching search intent more closely.
Even Google’s Danny Sullivan stressed the importance of high-quality content in a tweet soon after the official announcement of the algorithm update.
Want to do better with a broad change? Have great content. Yeah, the same boring answer. But if you want a better idea of what we consider great content, read our raters guidelines. That’s like almost 200 pages of things to consider: https://t.co/pO3AHxFVrV
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) August 1, 2018
Actionable Tips in the aftermath of the Broad Core Update
First and foremost, take some time to identify the pages that dropped in rankings, how considerable the drop was, and what websites replaced yours. Do an analysis of your previously high-ranking pages and compare them with the ones that took over in rankings. Try to discover what makes the content on those pages better, more relevant and what matchers searcher intent as compared to the content you had that was rankings previously.
Keep in mind, just like with any update, Google may roll back a few of the changes and you might have seen some rankings return, I have yet to notice this, but, keep an eye out. Monitor the SERPs carefully while you strategize your new content creation approach. When you do decide to start creating content, make sure you do extensive research! Quality over quantity generally works, but, keep an eye on what Danny mentioned above.
Think about your overall content strategy, how the new research you’ve done has made you re-think or want to re-work the content strategy. This doesn’t mean stuffing pages with more content OR drastically re-writing entire sections of your site. Rather be thorough, be thoughtful, and be mindful about the approach and take into account the research you did relating to the sites now rankings for the terms you once were.
(Of course, our team would be happy to help you identify these trends and any obstacles you may have around your search rankings. Feel free to reach out about seo consulting and our team will be happy to help you!)