Our business in the New Media sphere is a unique one. The symbiotic relationship between businesses, search engines, and consumers is constantly in flux. If the behavior of one group shift, the rest need to alter their strategy. When consumers migrated online to do the majority of their purchasing, businesses needed to elevate their digital presence. Search engines had to get smarter to appropriately match consumers with the products and services they were searching for. That constant balancing act continues this month as Google published a ‘broad core algorithm update.’
Today on the Helix House blog we place a focus on SEO and dive into the June Core Algorithm Update.
Every day, Google publishes micro changes to the algorithm that runs its search engine. These daily changes are minor, streamlining the process and getting better results. Several times per year, Google publishes large updates which can cause tectonic shifts in the geography of search engine results pages (SERPs). This June, for the first time, Google put out an advance notice that ‘Things are gonna be different around here!’ And the industry stopped… and waited…
When Google has put out these broad core algorithm updates, big changes followed. However, Google is rarely forward with the details regarding these changes. Instead, it’s left to us in the SEO industry to sleuth out what changed, and more importantly, why it changed. To do this, we monitor analytics and traffic. We look at the numbers, the dips and changes to websites, and then to piece together what exactly changed, looking at commonalities between sites affected to determine what may have been the target. It’s a little like solving a crime when you only know that a crime occurred, no victim, no assailant, only residual evidence scattered about.
For example, in August of 2018, Google released what is now referred to as the ‘Medic’ Core Update. It rolled out over the course of a week, affecting sites specifically in the health and wellness space as well as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites, though other sites did see changes as well.
Why those sites were affected was unclear. Google simply confirmed that a broad core algorithm update did occur, and businesses and SEO professionals who handle sites in those verticals saw their rankings fluctuate.
To recuperate from the changes needed best practices to be implemented and going back to the core foundation and building their sites back up. Since Google doesn’t specify what their updates target, or what effects they will have it can take time to make things right.
As of right now… It’s not completely clear. Some major publishers in the UK (dailymail.co.uk) have reported experiencing a negative impact. eCommerce sites are reporting hits as well as health and wellness sites such as Dr. Mercola a naturopath. He claims the update ‘buries’ his site, and other sites in the space are reporting similar hits, though not in all cases.
Here are a few examples. These are using a third-party software, Ahrefs, to pull from so these are just estimates.
Dr. Mercola’s impressions don’t show as drastic a dip as you might expect, but his post suggests a massive impact.
Another business in the health and wellness space illustrates both the ‘Medic’ update and this recent June update even clearer.
You can see after July 2018, there is a noticeable dip (to the tune of 20% of their keywords and traffic) when the ‘Medic’ update rolled out. But they recovered until the June update sent them plummeting.
The recovery and second dip suggests that sites that recovered from ‘Medic’ but perhaps weren’t adhering to Google’s E-A-T focus were hit again by the update, whereas those that were working at their expertise, building their authority and trustworthiness saw the boost for doing things the ‘right’ (Google’s) way.
Now let’s take a look at a site that truly improved. One of our clients who were hit by the ‘Medic’ update in August wasn’t harmed by this new update but in fact, leapt up in impressions. This is pulled from analytics, so we have much more concrete numbers to show.
Right there on June 3rd, you can see the number of impressions they received skyrocketed! This is because we adhered to the best practices for SEO, the things Google looks for in a site. We focused on building the things that told Google the site was trustworthy, that it had authority in its field, and that the information displayed there was filled with expertise. As a result, they have seen a major jump in search traffic and revenue. Want to hear the kicker? This site isn’t just a health and wellness site, it’s eCommerce to boot! That’s the power of doing things the right way!
Moving forward, Google has decided that they will ‘probably’ pre-announce their algorithm core updates letting business and SEO folks know something is coming and it’s best to be prepared! They will keep pushing out their minor and major updates daily to try and deliver users the best content and experiences. All we can do is keep working at providing the exact thing customers are searching for and we’ll be rewarded.
Were you hit by the algorithm update? Need a crack squad of elite SEO commandos on your side? Give us a call and see how Helix House can make it work for you!