Google rankings dropped?
Google Core 2019 Update
Google will make hundreds of small changes to their algorithm throughout each year, but major updates aren’t as common. These so-called major updated are known as ‘Core Updates’ and they relate to changes to the heart of their ranking algorithm. Normally, Google will not inform the public when a core update is likely to take place but for the update in June, they announced on one of their Twitter accounts ‘Google Search Liaison’ the day before, that they would be rolling out their latest broad core algorithm update on the 3rd of June. These updates cause panic and speculation across the online world and it is serious stuff, especially when webpage rankings can be so drastically harmed.
The theory behind Google updates is that they like to reward honest and organic websites and they keep their algorithm up to date and varied to stop websites abusing the system and to keep their content informative and natural, all in aid to improve user experience. There was a time where you were able to litter your webpage with keyword terms to the extent where it was barely readable and eventually find yourself ranked in Google for them. Now, with Google always updating, your website has to offer value to your consumer and not just try and outsmart the algorithm.
Who Has Been Affected?
The general feedback from the update has been as diverse as possible. Some websites have reported a huge increase in search traffic and others a decline. The Daily Mail, one of the U.K’s largest online publishers reported losing half of its organic traffic and it has also lost 43% of visibility in search. This is a big deal, especially when you think about their Ad revenue. The Daily Mail is widely known as a pioneer of the clickbait culture, a web page covered in advertisement with auto-play videos that can slow the loading speed of the site. Basically, not offering much value and poor user experience instead. So you can see, in theory, why the latest update may have harmed them. However, when you compare their website to a similar U.K based online publisher, Metro.co.uk, they actually reported an increase in their online traffic.
So, this latest update has had us guessing as to who? and why? websites have been targeted and it seems to be focusing on broader aspects that cover website usability instead of just one factor, for example, bad backlinks. Last year, the Google core update in March was infamously called the ‘Medic Update’ because of the specific impact that many health and wellness sites initially reported, making it easier for us to pinpoint the problems and most importantly, how to recover. Research has been able to determine some themes throughout the update though and it would seem that the hardest-hit communities were those from the Health, Finance, Entertainment News and Technical ‘How-To’ Sites. The sectors that have reported the most average traffic growth have been the informational Sites, Sports News Publishers, and Educational Resources.
Follow Google Search Liaison on Twiiter and keep up to date with any further updates and changes.
Why Have Websites Been Affected?
Universally, it is very hard to pick apart factors that we could say with strong confidence definitely impacted, or didn’t impact particular websites. Although, we have been able to observe websites that have gained traffic as opposed to sites that have lost traffic since the 9th of June. We noticed that sites that did not regularly produce new content were affected more negatively than sites that published new content frequently, sites that saw large increases in traffic rarely included affiliate links on every page, mobile traffic was affected more than desktop traffic and non-English language sites were affected more negatively than English language sites.
The effects that we are seeing from this update to websites are similar to those that have been penalised by Google but when checking Google Search Console, a lot of these websites have not been penalised at all, yet their rankings and traffic have plummeted.
One thing Google is achieving through their updates is ensuring that there are no shortcuts when it comes to ranking your websites. No more stuffing your page with keywords and no more paying for backlinks, you will be penalised eventually. They are rewarding and ranking, high quality, interactive, attractive and informative websites that offer value to the customer. If you were negatively impacted by this update, my advice would be to focus on the general infrastructure of your site and the freshness of your content.
At Chrisp Design, our SEO team knows how hard it is to keep up to date with all of the changes in the online worlds. We’re aware that techniques used before, may not be relevant or successful now. It is our job to keep your website ahead of the curve and optimised to its full potential, leaving you the time to do what you do best!