Every time we hear that Google has something new up their sleeves, the whole marketing world gets simultaneously anxious with excitement and terror all at once. We wonder if it will help us or hurt us, what we’ll have to change in order to stay competitive, and we wonder what it all means for both sites and users at the end of the day.
Earlier this month, we got that all-too-familiar stomach-turning feeling that can only come with the announcement of a new algorithm update.
The update– which is a broad core algorithm update– has since rolled out in the first week of June, and in this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about it, including how it could potentially impact you.
What “Broad Core Algorithm Update” Means
Google has different several different algorithms that work together to improve the user experience and ultimately deliver them with the very best results possible. Examples include Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, which each contribute to how the search engine functions.
A broad core update isn’t the same as a brand new add-on rolling out, because each of the above serve pretty specific purposes; the Penguin update, for example, was all about cutting back on link spam. A core update impacts the main search algorithm itself.
While Google doesn’t always tell us exactly what the broad core algorithm updates are changing (they’ve recently taken up becoming more vague about specifics like this), we do know that it’s often a tweak to the direct main search algorithm.
In many past cases, these changes haven’t necessarily affected how Google is interpreting the information it’s getting from the updates like Panda or Penguin, but it does impact how it compiles all of the information to generate and prioritize results.
Certain signals may be valued more than others in core algorithm updates, which can subtly throw things a little off kilter from what we’ve been used to. There’s nothing to “fix,” so to speak, because unlike different algorithm updates, nothing is being “resolved,” just balanced more to improve the user search experience.
June’s Broad Core Algorithm Update: The Basics
On June 2nd, Google announced that it would be rolling out a broad core algorithm update the next day. The core update officially finished rolling out on the 8th.
Google doesn’t typically pre-announce updates, but they specified that they were doing so now because they’re trying to be more proactive so people are prepared and ready instead of scratching their heads wondering why their rankings suddenly shifted.
Google’s official guidance has publicly stated that there’s nothing to fix here. It’s all about improving relevance instead of addressing problems like link spam or low-quality content. We also know that broad core updates don’t target specific niches, so this won’t impact only some industries.
The Impact from the June Core Update
The update is still pretty new, but there have already been some big impacts being reported, particularly with some sites claiming that their traffic has taken a nosedive since it rolled out.
This included the Daily Mail, who claimed that their site had seen traffic drop by more than 50%. Cryptocurrency site CCN actually saw such a big traffic drop that they’ve claimed they’re having to shut their site down.
Plenty of sites in the top 50 saw a decrease in raking on some of their positions by 1-3 spots; some saw bigger decreases. Right now, it seems like sites in the news, finance, and healthcare were possibly hit pretty hard, even though news sites historically had a lot or priority in the algorithms.
Here’s the thing though: with Google playing their cards close to their chest, we don’t have a lot of information about what’s causing certain sites to fall or rise in the algorithms.
This is particularly alarming because of some of the big fluctuations certain sites have experienced, examples of which you can see here. With no information about what’s causing everything to go out of whack, marketers and site owners really don’t have a ton of information of how they can set things right.
So What Can I Do Now?
The algorithm is still new, so we’ll hopefully gain more information in the following months that will give us at least a few clues about what the new update values when evaluating quality so that we can re-optimize our sites accordingly.
In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to focus on creating high-quality, unique, original content that aligns with users’ search intent.
Take a look at your current Google Analytics and look for your highest ranking pages and posts, and try to see what they have in common, especially if they increased in position very recently. You may notice that more long-form content is being prioritized on your site, or that case studies are outperforming tutorials.
If your site has fallen below a competitor’s, check out their content and see if you can detect any reason why Google may have prioritized theirs. Is it longer, optimized differently, or containing different kinds of information? Look for clues, which is what we’re all doing right now.
Monitor your positioning with extra care right now. Tools like SEMrush or Moz can help with this, even alerting you when pages change their ranking in the SERPs so you can stay on top of everything that’s happening.
It’s frustrating that we don’t yet have more information on why Google’s new core algorithm update has changed things up for us and only being able to see the slightly-chaotic aftermath. It’s most frustrating, of course, for the brands negatively impacted with no knowledge of how to adapt and recover their rankings moving forward.
Right now, we’re going to keep a close watch on the algorithm and keep our eyes peeled on any definitive news about what’s changed and how we can better optimize our content accordingly. Keep an eye on our blog, and we’ll let you know more when we know.
Interested in learning more about how you can optimize your site to do well in the search engines– broad core algorithm and all? Get in touch here to see how we can help.
What do you think? How do you feel about the June algorithm update? Has it affected you? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!