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Google Core Algorithm Updates: The ‘Need to Knows’

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With Google announcing at the end of May that it will be rolling out its first broad core algorithm update in 2022, we thought it would be a timely opportunity to give our fellow marketers a heads up on exactly what core updates are and what to do if you’re impacted.

For now, it appears as though the impact of this specific update has been minimal and Google hasn’t released too much further insight in terms of what was targeted specifically.  

First things first, what exactly are broad core algorithm updates?

In short a broad core algorithm update is a change to Google’s ‘core’, or overall, search ranking algorithm and systems. 

Core updates are global, they target all types of content and affect all countries and languages. 

The important thing to note is that core updates exist to reward or promote great web pages, they do not exist to penalise. In theory, this is a positive, but it doesn’t totally rule out experiencing a dip in search ranking.

The silver lining is that we know the user experience is at the heart of Google’s decision-making, so we can assume that regardless of the priorities, the outcomes will likely be related to improving the content users are served.

The SEO impact of Core Updates

Like all Google core algorithm updates, there will be sites that benefit in ranking and those that unfortunately see a fall. During the rollout of the update, there will be ranking fluctuations and this is totally normal. As a rule of thumb, It is best to wait it out and receive confirmation that the update has finished rolling out before taking action. 

If you have seen a ranking increase for your target keywords then congrats, Google has rewarded your site. 

If your rankings have dropped, then the first place to look is at your content. 

In some cases, Google may give pointers as to what the update consisted of with some tips on what to do to improve. 

Initial advice directly from Google for the May update can be visited here.

What you should do if you’re impacted by a Core Update

If the update negatively impacted your site, we recommend taking stock of your current content and asking yourselves a few key questions:

  • What is the purpose of the content on this page? 
  • What target keyword do you want it to rank for?
  • What is the search intent behind this keyword?
  • Does the content meet this intent?
  • Is the content optimised as best as it can be?
  • What is the readability like? Is it one block of content or are you using headings and subheadings to break it up so it’s more digestible?
  • Has your content been written by a credible thought leader or author? We would advise citing sources where possible.
  • Are other websites likely to want to reference your content from their website?

Once you have audited your content and have made updates using the guidelines above we would also advise that you remember to submit the page URLs you have updated to Google Search Console for indexing. 

This should hopefully speed up the process of Google crawling these pages and allow the content to start being tested more in the search results.

If you are worried about a significant drop in traffic, it’s best to speak to an SEO expert who can give some further insights into what could have caused this drop. But remember, the first place to look is always your content!  

Feel free to drop us a message if you’d like to talk about the update in more detail, or get some advice on improving your search ranking.

 If you’d like exclusive access to our digital media tips sign up for our newsletter, where we debrief the most pressing digital developments monthly. 

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