Another month, another big Google algorithm update
According to Google, these updates don’t aim to fix something but to improve the user experience. In one of their blog updates, Google stated that some updates come with visible launches and features, while many others are regular updates to keep the search results as relevant as possible.
Good for the user on one hand, threatening for small businesses on the other hand. Every Google algorithm change can mean required updates to your website and content. This means you must keep track of every move and how you can prevent your already existing SEO strategy from backfiring.
To help you out with this,
we have created a summary below of the rolled out Google Algorithm updates in 2019 so far.
One thing to keep in mind is that Google does not publicly confirm most of their updates. The assumptions are all based on SEO experts who are exchanging their opinions and tracking search trends online.
The first week of January already showed noticeable fluctuations. Many businesses have seen an increase in longtail keywords, while generic keywords experienced a drop. This chatter about an algorithm update went on during the next two weeks of January. Google also targeted blackhat tactics with these changes. The blackhat community exchanged views about how their top-ranking pages went to page 2 or 3 in Google searches overnight.
Around the 7th of February 2019, SEO experts were again noticing changes. This was followed by the now commonly called Valentine’s Day update on the 13th of February 2019. This update is one of the unconfirmed ones and it is hard to determine what it was precisely targeting. Based on other similar algorithm changes, it can be assumed that it was about improving E-A-T and content quality. As a result, the stricter you follow Google’s recommendations on producing good content, the better you will rank after the update.
The 1st of March showed another unconfirmed update. Google started giving more preferences to websites which had in-depth content and well-researched articles.
Another big event in SEO happened on the 12th of March 2019. Google rolled out one of its broad core algorithm updates, which they also confirmed afterward. While there are hundreds of core updates over the year, broad core algorithm updates only happen three to four times throughout the year. Those are meant to improve the users' search experience. The best way to find out how your website has been affected is to monitor your search rankings and check your Google Analytics & Google Search Console data for changes.
Worth a mention is the name debate of this Google update. Since it’s easier to talk about something which has a name, the SEO community started calling it Florida 2 update. However, Danny Sullivan twittered that the official name is the March 2019 Core Update. Even though this name is not the most creative, it says exactly what the Update was about with no room for any confusion.
The month of April was full of chatter about SERP changes, but those were probably the results of the now full taken Broad Core Update in March.
Another thing that kept the SEO world awake was the problem with indexing bugs. On April 4th, site owners were starting to report that a certain amount of their site pages were missing from Google’s index. Two days later, Google confirmed its technical issues while removing older content from their index. Since this issue was already resolved in search results on the 10th of April, it still lingered in Google Search Console for a couple of days.
Similar to the month before, Google faced some issues with indexing bugs in May 2019. This time it was about indexing new content. Within one week these bugs were resolved and John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, confirmed that if you are still experiencing any indexing issues it is not related to Google bugs anymore.
The month of June was an exciting one for SEO and website owners. On the 3rd of June 2019, Google officially announced an upcoming Broad Core Update for the following day.
This was interesting in two ways
The fact that it was a broad core algorithm update, which doesn’t happen a lot throughout the year and that Google announced it beforehand. This led to a lot of speculation about its significance. However, Danny Sullivan immediately addressed this chatter and tweeted that the only reason for the pre-announcement, was to be nice.
In addition to this update, Google also rolled out the Diversity Update from the 4th until the 6th June.
For this, we created a blog detailing what you should expect from the diversity blog.
It can be concluded that the June updates were targeting trust-lacking websites the most. If you aren’t sure how to create a trustworthy site, read through this article about Googles TrustRank.
It can be assumed that there was another unconfirmed Google Search update around the 11th and 12th of July, followed by a whole week of chatter in the SEO world. Furthermore, on the 17th fluctuations across all niches were noticed. Those were targeting the bottom half of the SERP.
Another part that made this month interesting was the blog about Google Updates released by Danny Sullivan, in which he mentioned that alone in the last year, Google made 3200 changes.
SEO experts think that some unconfirmed updates which were targeting the Search Rankings happened this month. The first one rolled out on the 1st of August followed by the next noticeable fluctuations on the 17th. Otherwise, it remained quiet until the 28th with a significant spike in the SERP trackers on this date. Based on the exchanged opinions of site owners, it can be assumed that those changes were mainly about recovering traffic which was lost due to the June update. Websites which were badly affected from this update are now back on track again.
Furthermore, a debate within the SEO world about what determines the quality of a content went on. Therefore, Google then released another blog targeting their own guidelines. This blog addressed why some websites are more affected than others by algorithm updates, how to react when you get negatively impacted and why E-A-T content is so important.
Basically, the core message of this blog from Danny Sullivan was, even if your company website follows every rule, if Google thinks another website which provides the same content is more relevant to the user, you will drop in the Search Rankings.
On the 5th of September, businesses were stating fluctuations, which could have also been post-effects from the update at the end of August. Other changes in the Google Algorithm were noticeable around the 13th lasting until the 18th of this month. This time, the volatility is bigger than the one at the beginning of this month, indicating that it’s a bigger update. It seems that these changes mainly affect YMYL topics. However, it is still too early to determine its significance.
September 2019 Core Update
On the 24th of September, Google announced another Core Update which they called September 2019 Core Update. The update went live on the 25th of September and rolled out over the next couple of days.
As stated in this article before, Core Updates always come along with the fear of major drops in the traffic. Fortunately, this update affected the Search Rankings not as much as the Broad Core Update in June.
However, this update appears to specificely target blackhat linkbuilding tactis which experienced a drop in the Search Rankings. This reveals once again that offering the best E-A-T based content possible is yet the greatest strategy to prevent your SEO strategy from backfiring. That is what Google algorithm updates are targeting and that is also the advice we would give everyone who is trying to improve their SEO rankings.
That’s all we have so far!
We hope that this blog has given you some insight into the Google Algorithm Updates that have been rolled out in 2019 so far.
If you’d like more information on this or other SEO aspects, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our talented team here at Island Media Management.