As all SEO practitioners know, Google search keeps on changing frequently. It is estimated that in the space of just one year, Google has made more than 3,200 modifications to improve its search result delivery. While some introduced new features, others, refined the way the search was conducted, while more than a few were the correction of previous mistakes made by Google. While most of Google’s updates go virtually unnoticed by the average user, every once in a while there is a major update that affects site rankings and traffic generation. Because these high-impact updates generally shake up the ranking of the first page results, there is a tendency by SEO practitioners to view them as troublesome events and go into a state of panic. Since beating the update is not a viable option or even an objective of any merit, the best thing we can do is to understand what the update does and change the website execution to what is rewarded by Google. It also helps to put together a plan so that you are better poised for the next significant shift in the search algorithm. A quick preview of some of the updates that have changed the face of Google search:
June 2019 Core Update & Site Diversity Update
The June 2019 Core Update is apparently focused on the manner, the links were evaluated by the algorithm. The method puts more emphasis on the authority of the domain and the trust factor of the inbound links of the site. According to experts, the update gave more importance to the “trustworthiness” component represented by Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness or E-A-T factor. It also seems to have gone beyond the traditional boundaries of SEO to include a solution for detecting sentiment. Websites that are messing around with the user and link sentiment and content quality should be prepared to lose out in the SERP rankings.
Google simultaneously released a separate update that deals with site diversity. The objective of this update is to make the search results more diverse and users will no longer find more than two listings of the same domain in the top-10 SERP list. The enhanced diversity of results makes it so much more difficult for a single site to dominate the topic organically. The result of this update is that websites with a low percentage of backlinks from sites possessing trust and authority will drop down the rankings. Also, some sites that used to rank multiple times for a single query will also lose out due to the diversity promoted by the update. According to Google, the June 2019 Core Update benefits web pages that were earlier not rewarded well.
March 2019 Core Update
According to a leading SEO Dental Agencies, the March 2019 Core Update is an attempt by Google to tweak the broad changes in its algorithm in earlier updates, such as the “Medic” update launched in August 2013. Google announced the name of the update the same day it was released to prevent people from getting confused. According to studies, it has been established that sites experiencing higher traffic volumes experienced a site-wide boost in the rankings even without any increase in the number of ranked keywords. Conversely, the update penalized websites that provided a suboptimal user experience due to factors like poor navigation, too many pop-ups, excessive optimization, etc. The trustworthiness factor continued to be a major consideration for high rankings and sites with YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) subjects were driven down the rankings if they were discovered to taking part in untrusted activities.
Google’s March 2019 Core Update seems to be an evolution of its earlier algorithms and negatively impacts the websites that had excessive optimization performed on them. The websites that benefitted from the update were typically those that had a high degree of authority and reputation and dealt with sensitive subjects like money and health.
Launched in March 2017, it was yet another of the many Google quality updates that it had started rolling out from 2015. The impact of Fred, a name that given humorously by a Google web trends analyst, Gary Illyes, was far-reaching with its focus on quality changing from a single process to multiple factors. According to https://www.forbes.com, the update seems to have also specifically targeted sites attempting to monetize themselves very aggressively leading to very poor user experience. Another focus area of Fred was the quality of links, which meant that sites would find themselves downgraded in the rankings if they had links with a site lacking the trust factor. In a nutshell, sites with thin content or content that was ad-centered and affiliate-heavy were pushed down while websites featuring high-quality, value-added content with minimal advertising were given a ranking boost.
Possum is a widely documented yet unconfirmed update that Google released in 2016. While the lack of confirmation of the update means that the details are also not very clear, it seems that the target is the local pack. SEO experts believe that the update seeks to usher in increased variety into local search engine rankings and will assist to boost the visibility of local businesses. Another level of filtering supplicate results in listings has been introduced by this update. Earlier, listings were considered as duplicate if they had common websites or phone numbers, now the commonality has been increased to included addresses also. This change has brought about very stiff competition among businesses sharing the same location. While businesses that face intense competition in the same location could get pushed out of the rankings, it also means that businesses located outside the city limits now have a chance to rank in the local listings.
As far as SEO is concerned, your sole objective is to be better than your competition so that you get the top rankings across the targeted keywords. You do not need to react to every Google update unless it impacts you negatively. Instead of making knee-jerk reactions to new updates or getting panicky about them, you should ideally stay calm and understand their long-term impact so that you can strategic decisions that help you to maintain your leadership position.