Google Core Updates are not new, but what’s different about the latest June 2019 update is that unlike the previous ones, Google pre-announced its rollout this time.
Those affected are still trying to figure out why Google pre-announced this update.
Was it something big? Did Google want to warn people beforehand of some significant changes that were expected to happen? How different is this June Core Update from the usual ones that Google rolls out? These were some of the questions that summed up the responses and apprehensions people had about the update.
Google downplayed all such speculations and said in one of its tweets that it “just wanted to be more proactive” so that people do not begin “scratching their heads” when they witness noticeable changes post the rollout.
What’s the Impact?
Though Google says its core updates have “little noticeable” impact and they gradually help in improving user experience by providing better results, the current impact of the June 2019 update fails to justify this claim.
Looking at the news and tweets pouring in from across the globe, one realizes that it is far from being “little noticeable” change.
Even as the complete rollout took five full days and ended on June 8, site owners began to fret from the time they began witnessing significant changes in their web traffic.
Daily Mail noticed a drop of a whopping 50% traffic. Some even experienced as high as a 70% drop. If the figures seem alarming, brace for another shock. CNN has come out openly to say that their revenue has gone down by 90% following the recent Google update.
However, it’s not a gloom-and-doom story all the way. Many websites experienced a significant increase in their traffic as well.
What Makes Core Updates Different from Google’s Panda/Penguin Updates?
In simple terms, Google Panda looks at the quality and content of the website, whereas Penguin checks out the reliability of the backlinks associated with the website.
Google comes up with its Panda/Penguin updates from time to time, but the good part of these updates is that they clearly tell you the ways to fix issues with your website. However, a Google Core Update keeps you guessing about what made your ranking go down or up. Of course, if your website has experienced an increase in traffic and search ranking, there is nothing to worry about, but for those whose websites’ searchability and traffic have gone down without them knowing what caused it, it surely leads to restlessness and disquiet.
Analyzing the June 2019 Core Update
As there are no guidelines from Google for fixes about the recent update, only a detailed analysis will reveal some of the actionable tips in order to reverse the effect.
Data compiled by RankRanger indicates that the worst-hit niches from the update in question are health and finance.
While health, finance, and gambling verticals got hit the most, the retail and travel sectors have also shown a relatively greater impact. Unlike the March 2019 update which hit mainly the YMYL (Your Money & Your Life) pages (relating to health, finance, and law), this update has been somewhat indiscriminate in affecting niches.
As the trustworthiness of a piece of information is directly linked to better user experience and improved search results, it seems that Google is giving extra attention to the reliability and acceptability of the source.
The Core Update is Not the Only Concern
Interestingly, at exactly the same time, Google brought another, equally concerning Diversity Update which limits the results with similar domain names to two.
It is worth noting that subdomains are treated as part of the root domain, which means if you manage different websites with a common domain name like blog.xyz.com, www.xyz.com, videos.xyz.com, etc., they will all be treated as one part of the one root domain and hence the search results will only show a maximum of two searches from all the different domains.
Naturally, this means low traffic for the site owners and more diversity for the users. Its simultaneous roll out with the Core Update added further confusion and angst among the site owners, who are literally scratching their heads over their failure to understand the reason for their low search results. In other words, is it the Core Update that has brought the change to their searchability or the Diversity Update? If it is both, then to what extent?
Is There Really No Fix At All?
When asked, Google’s John Mueller clearly said there is “nothing explicit that you can do” to change the impact. At the same time, he subtly pointed out that the only thing site owners could do was to improve the quality of their website. He even mentioned a 2011 blog post that gives a detailed guideline that may help the site owners develop and publish valuable and authoritative content.
Here is the full video of John Mueller for those who are interested in the details:
Actionable Steps to Counter the Effect of the Google Update
Produce high-quality content. Story over!
Remember the E. A. T. metric that Google came up with a few years back? Sticking to it makes perfect sense if your site is experiencing a dip in search results.
E – Expertise: With the internet being an open source, anyone can write anything. It is good in one way that everyone gets an opportunity to put forward their perspective. However, the negative side of this is that even those with little or no knowledge can populate the pages with irrelevant and often unreliable information.
Hence, when you are producing content for your website, especially if it is related to YMYL pages, make sure that it is written by an expert. The content should provide value to the readers and it should be seen and taken as something that is reliable. In other words, it should have original information, research, and analysis, and must be free from any spelling and factual errors.
A – Authoritativeness: Authoritativeness simply means beyond the obvious. Make sure that the content you have on your website is not something that is a simple paraphrase from another website. Also, it should have information which is far more than the obvious. This can only be done if you are publishing content that is well-researched and deep.
Not having too many ads that distract the user from the main content also raises the authoritativeness of the piece.
T – Trustworthiness: Will the information you are providing and the way you are presenting it evoke trust in a user? In other words, for any piece of information you are producing, you should take extra care to win the trust of the users. Substantiate it with hyperlinks and refer back to the original sources to help people realize what you are saying is not something that is made up, but based on pure facts, for which the writer has put in great effort.
Improving the content quality of a website is not a one-day job;rather, it’s a continuing process. However, with Google seemingly making it a top criteria, it is better to take the quality matter seriously, sooner rather than later.
Can One Take Advantage of the June 2019 Core Update?
It’s a tough question, but perhaps the answer is in the affirmative.
Speculation is that Google’s ad sales have gone down and it is trying tirelessly to push it up. While we don’t know if it is true, the recent update has made ads appear similar in shape, form, and color to the organic results.
This means that the ads which we had become blind to, which made us automatically scroll down to look at the real search results, will now be better camouflaged and blend in with the results which naturally means more clicks, at least for the first few months, until users get to know better.
So, this is going to result in more click-through rates of the ads, which earlier was not the case.
Catchy ads will stand a better chance of getting clicks.
To conclude, Google’s June 2019 Core Update is something that has made many people uncomfortable. The press and journalists seem to be most offended as, as per them, Google should not pass judgment on their trustworthiness and expertise via secret updates, which in themselves are non-transparent.
This update has taken many by surprise and as per John Mueller, Google might provide some official guidance for those who are struggling to come to terms with it. If that happens, it will signal a major shift in Google’s core update policy.