You may not realize it, but Google updates its algorithm frequently. Usually these changes are relatively small, and most websites don’t notice any major shifts in their search rankings. The biggest updates – and the ones most likely to have you tracking any changes in your search engine rankings – are the core updates. These typically occur in December and June, but this year was a little different. Google released its most recent core update in June and July of this year. Here’s how your website may have been affected.

The Update Launched in Two Parts—It Wasn’t Ready

The first part of the core update occurred at the beginning of June and took 10 days to complete. Some websites may have seen positive impacts while others saw negative ones, all with the knowledge that the shift in rankings may not be permanent since the second half of the update was still to come.

Part two was released on July 1st and took two weeks to complete. If you were affected by the first part of the update, you may have seen a return to normal. However, some changes may not have reversed, leaving you wondering what to do if your page rankings aren’t where you’d like them to be. Once you determine if this effect was temporary or a permanent change, you may need to consider changes to your content.

Some industries experienced more change than others, with the more impacted industries including health, pets, auto, travel, and science. If you work in any of these industries, it’s more likely that any shifts you noticed in your rankings are the result of this update.

You May Not Have Bad Pages

The purpose behind any core update is typically to recognize high quality content by changing the algorithm Google uses that ranks previously indexed web pages. As more websites and web pages are added, Google has to take these pages into account when they do their core updates. Someone else may have published something more relevant, or a website that is considered a high authority page published content that is considered more relevant than yours. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) may publish content about taking precautions for the pandemic, and your doctor’s website may publish something similar. It makes sense that the WHO website would rank higher than your doctor, but it doesn’t mean the content on your doctor’s website was incorrect. In cases like this, your content isn’t bad and it’s not being penalized. It just means you’ve been outranked.

Time is always a big factor with search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, because it takes time to research the key words and phrases that you want to rank for, as well as craft high-quality content. Somewhat frustratingly, Google doesn’t provide clear cut answers about what you can do to shift your website higher on the Search Engine Results Page, or SERP. The best things you can do are try to keep up with the changes by analyzing your SEO data and create relevant content that will give your users the best experience possible.

How to Recover

SEO typically requires a long-term strategy, but here are three quick tips we can offer you if you’re looking for ways to produce better content:

  1. Run spell check. It may seem obvious that you want to publish content that is free from errors, but all too often articles or other pages have misspellings and obvious grammatical mistakes. At best, this looks careless, but it can also look like spam. Read through your content one more time before publishing!
  2. Avoid Click Bait. Sure, we’ve all clicked on a story that pops up on our newsfeed because the title was eye-catching, but usually these articles don’t have anything special to offer the reader and are a disappointment. Don’t sensationalize your titles if you want to rank well.
  3. How well does your webpage display on mobile? Do you have a mobile first site with a responsive design? If your website is hard to read from a cell phone, that’s a relatively easy problem to fix, and one that will reward you with better website rankings.

We would be happy to help you study the keywords or phrases you want to rank for and assist you in crafting high-quality content that will help users find you. Keep in mind, this requires a long-term strategy, not a short-term fix. Contact us today so we can help you reach your SEO goals!