Even though small changes happen all the time, core changes can really impact SEO results – and the performance of web pages. Unfortunately, that means that all of the energy and resources you’ve put into your website until now could be for nothing if you don’t understand and tailor to the latest algorithm updates.
Core updates can change the ranking signals that Google uses in their search algorithm. For example, an update could eliminate the otherwise positive impact of a ranking signal targeted by your website. Occasionally core updates even penalize websites. For example, the Panda update imposed an automatic and algorithmic penalty on websites with thin content. Some updates even totally restructure the SERP’s layout, since they can add, remove and modify alternative listings in Google’s SERPs.
If you notice a change in your web page’s search engine ranking, placement, or traffic, it could be that a recent google algorithm update is to blame. That’s why it’s important to keep your eyes open for news of any updates, and take the time to read about and understand them so that you can take additional measures.
Google is always evolving its algorithm to ensure it is surfacing the most accurate, relevant, and secure pages for its users. And each year, it seems to introduce more and more updates per year.
Knowing what sort of updates have taken place will help you to stay in line with SEO best practices, improve your rankings, and also understand any reasons behind performance shifts.
1. Passage ranking update (February 2021)
With the passage ranking update, Google can now use artificial intelligence to index not only web pages, but individual passages (paragraphs, sentences) from those pages. This means that specific passages can show up as the featured snippet. The aim is to quickly answer very specific queries, instead of making the user comb through the relevant web page to find it.
Using the example below, Google explains that it can now understand that the passage from the page (B) better answers the query than the result on the (A). “In this case, our systems were able to highlight a featured snippet, but this improvement applies to how we rank web pages overall.”
The takeaway here is not to optimize your posts for passage ranking, but rather to:
November Core Update, November 17th 2021: Google has just announced a broad core algorithm update has started to roll out. It will take around two weeks to be completed. Their advice for recovery is in Google’s blog post on core updates.
Spam Update, November 3-8th 2021: Google started rolling out an update to their spam fighting systems on November 3rd which finished rolling out 8 days later. In their announcement Google directed users to their basic webmaster guidelines. Currently we have not seen any major impacts of this update on the SERPs that MHC monitors.
Google July 2021 core update
Over June and July 2021, Google launched two core updates back-to-back. Before this, the last core update was in December of 2020.
As is typical of the core updates, the July 2021 core update was a comprehensive update that changed the whole algorithm slightly, but not any single function specifically.
The July 2021 core update rolled out over twelve days, from July 1st to the 12th. Websites that saw their rankings change during that time may attribute this change to the new core update.
If your rankings were negatively impacted, you could always review our SEO best practices.
Google June 2021 core update
The June 2021 core update was the first of two back-to-back monthly updates that Google rolled out midway through 2021. Google decided to release two separate updates because some of the core updates they planned to roll out weren’t ready in June 2021.
Like other Google core updates, the June 2021 update was comprehensive and wide-reaching. It’s likely many sites felt the impact of this update in the form of an impacted SEO ranking.
If your site was impacted by this update, we recommend reviewing Google’s best practices advice to improve your ranking.
Google Page Experience Update (May 2021)
The Google Page Experience Update is revolutionary in the history of Google updates as Google gave us the information about the update LONG in advance. After May of 2021, Google began to officially count user experience as a metric by which they rank websites.
How does Google determine user experience on your site? Several factors are included under the umbrella of “Core Web Vitals.” Factors that the Google algorithm will consider when judging how user-friendly a web page include…