Google announced a new Core Algorithm Update on the 12th September 2022.
As always, the announcement came through the Google Search Liaison Twitter Account stating:
The announcement comes less than a month since the ‘Helpful Content Update’ which was (by many) deemed to be much lower impact than many were touting it to be.
What Does a Core Algorithm Update Mean?
Google announces core algorithm updates whenever they are making changes to their search algorithm that are deemed to be large enough that they will have a notable impact on search results for publishers and digital marketers.
Core algorithm updates impact rankings across all industries. As opposed to updates which are designed to target a handful of niches or industries, Google’s core algorithm updates are a fundamental shift in ranking signals which can have widespread impacts on rankings and organic search traffic.
As a rule of thumb, Google will roll out somewhere between 2-4 core algorithm updates in a 12-month span – but these are rarely predictable. The most recent update was back in May 2022, which came after more than 189-days since the previous Core update.
Things to Know About Core Algorithm Updates
- Core algorithm updates are designed to improve the quality of search results that users see in Google. These updates are designed to ‘weed out’ low quality search results and ensure that users are seeing the most relevant, valuable content for their search query.
- Changes to rankings or traffic does not indicate that you have been impacted by a manual penalty. Changes to ranking signals and weighting of different factors may simply change the way that Google perceives your website – for the better or for the worse.
- Keep an eye on your competitors who perform well throughout a core update – investigate what they are doing that may have helped them to improve.
- Core algorithm updates can take up to two weeks to completely roll out. Generally speaking, the biggest changes occur in the first 48-hours, however, you should prepare for heightened SERP volatility throughout this period.
My Rankings Dropped, What Can I Do?
Core Algorithm Updates are designed to improve the quality of search results across the board. If your rankings or traffic have dropped off notable in the days following a Core Algorithm Update, then it might be time to reassess your organic search strategy. Google provides the following advice to publishers and marketers:
- Create relevant, valuable content on a topic that you are an expert in
- Do not create thin content that provides no value to users
- Use correct spelling, grammar, and ensure overall readability is good
- Ensure that content meets user expectations
- Get to the point – don’t drag out content for the sake of it
- Do not overoptimize your content to ‘trick’ Google
- Create a white-hat link-building strategy to acquire high-quality links
All of these points are (more or less) common sense. To rank well in Google, write about a topic that you are an expert on. Remember that Google is in the business of delivering high-quality search results so that they can continue to sell ads. If you help Google with their mission by providing high-quality user experiences, then they will reward you with increased search visibility – it’s that simple.
What Should I Do Now?
Do not make any major changes to your website over the coming days. The first few days of the update are (usually) the most volatile, which means that you should wait to see where things land for your website. We recommend observing the search results, trying to spot patterns with the winners and losers from the update, and seeing how you can apply these to your own strategy going forward.
If SEO isn’t really your thing, it may be worth getting in touch with an SEO specialist who can guide you through the process.