Algorithm updates are like buses…. you get none for a while and then two turn up at the same time. Early June 2019 saw two Google Algorithm updates within the same week: the first a core update, and the second aimed to increase diversity within the SERPs.
The last time Google released more than one update in a short space of time was 2012 when it released both a Google Penguin and Google Panda update (ouch!).
June 3rd Google Algorithm Update
June 3rd’s update was a core algorithm update; suggesting that it’ll focus on everything in the Quality Guidelines. We’re talking content, backlinks, authority; everything your standard SEO strategy will cover.
From the impacts of previous core algorithm updates, we believe this will focus on doorway pages (thin pages that are pointless to a user and have the sole purpose of trying to get SEO ranking), low quality content (duplicated, false, misleading content) and backlinks (spammy directories, article spinning, irrelevant links).
As we know these are only a small number of the ranking factors; so it’s important to take a holistic approach to your SEO, rather than zoning in on one tactic. But more importantly, assess your data before taking action!
June 6th Site Diversity Update
Site diversity in the SERPs has long been an issue; with some searches resulting in the same brand appearing organically more than twice on page one… we’ve even seen an entire page all made up of the same brand for quite a generic search! Google tried to resolve this a couple of years ago with little success.
We believe that news sites, local directories (ie Yell, Yelp), Amazon, Ebay and larger retailers will be the most likely to see a negative impact from this: however Google have stated that the highest ranking page will remain in the SERPs, it’s those pages following this which rank that will be removed.
Early reports from Sistrix have shown that The Daily Mail experienced a decline after the algorithm updates were released (they’re in the red on the below chart). This was seemingly confirmed by an employee who stated that they lost around 50% of their traffic within 24 hours following the update. That’s a serious drop.
The Winners & Losers of June’s Algorithm Updates
Sistrix have already reported on those who saw considerable increases and decreases following the updates at the beginning of June. There’s a number of news and health sites in the mix seeing both negative and positive results.. Top chart are those that saw strong increases, and the lower chart decreases:
Should You Act On An Algorithm Update?
First things first, don’t panic when a Google algorithm update happens…. knee jerk reactions won’t get you anywhere. We suggest that you add an annotation in Google Analytics of the date of the algorithm update and then monitor your data from here. Remember to take into account seasonality though – for example if comparing the first week of June to the last week of May, there was a Bank holiday and school holidays in the UK so data will already be skewed.
Tools such as SEMRush, aHrefs and SEO Monitor can help you to keep an eye on your daily ranking changes; helping you to make an informed decision. We always recommend looking at the SERP as a whole and how those ranking around you have changed too. If a brand suddenly makes a huge jump into the SERPs and remains there, it’s worth looking at their SEO strategy (optimisation, backlinks, content etc) to understand what they’re doing that you’re not.
If you are concerned that you’ve had a negative impact from an algorithm update, then take your strategy back to basics:
- Are your pages correctly optimised?
- Do you have useful content on your pages?
- Is your website technically healthy and easy for a user to navigate?
- Do you have doorway pages that are purely there for SEO and serve no purpose to a user?
- Do you have low quality and irrelevant links pointing to your website?
These elements are just the starting point in what can be quite a long road to recovery. If you are worried, then please drop us a message and we’ll happily take a look and give you some honest feedback.