Googles Latest Organic SEO Algorithm Update
Google confirmed a “broad core algorithm update,” with wide reports of massive impact. It rolled out over the period of about a week but peaked on August 1-2. This update seemed to disproportionately affect sites in the health and wellness vertical, although the large-scale impact was seen in all verticals.
- Google’s August 1st Core Update: Week 1 (Moz)
- Google Medic Update: Google’s Core Search Update Had Big Impact On Health/Medical Sites (SER)
- The August 1, 2018 Google Update strongly affected YMYL sites (MarieHaynes.com)
Google’s John Mueller said in a hangout with webmasters at the 47:47 minute mark that if a site sees a big drop in a day or so in their Google rankings and others are complaining about a Google update then that is probably related to a change on Google’s end to their search ranking algorithm. John added that when you make site changes or technical changed, that generally those changes take weeks to months to impact the site and even so, it impacts the site over time slower than an algorithm update on Google’s end.
So if you make a change to how your URLs work and Google has to pick up all those 301s, that process happens slowly and your rankings won’t drop overnight It fluctuates and has a more long term impact over a longer period of time. You might see your traffic continue to drop over time if you did something wrong.
But if Google’s algorithm update on a specific day determines your site is not as good as it once was, then you will likely see that impact pretty quickly – over a day or so.
Now, this is a generalization, not all site technical changes take a long period of time – if you block your whole site from Google, that can be pretty quick. Also, not all algorithms impact a site overnight, we know some algorithms take time to roll out and only pick up signals on new crawl and processing.
Are you what you E-A-T?
There’s been some speculation that this update is connected to Google’s recent changes to their Quality Rater Guidelines. While it’s very unlikely that manual ratings based on the new guidelines would drive major ranking shifts (especially so quickly), it’s entirely plausible that the guideline updates and this algorithm update share a common philosophical view of quality and Google’s latest thinking on the subject.
Marie Haynes’ post theorizing the YMYL connection also raises the idea that Google may be looking more closely at E-A-T signals (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust). While certainly an interesting theory, I can’t adequately address that question with this data set. Declines in sites like Fortune, IGN and Android Central pose some interesting questions about authoritativeness and trust outside of the health and wellness vertical, but I hesitate to speculate based only on a handful of outliers.
If your site has been impacted in a material way (including significant traffic gains or drops), I’d love to hear more details in the comments section. If you’ve taken losses, try to isolate whether those losses are tied to specific keywords, keyword groups, or pages/content. For now, I’d advise that this update could still be rolling out or being tweaked, and we all need to keep our eyes open.
SSL updates to the algorithm.
Google has been pushing webmasters to make the change to non-secure web sites a for years now – including hinting at small rankings boost to further incentivize the shift. The campaign has proved successful. According to their blog post:
- Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
- Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
- 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default
Depending upon the size of a site and scope of the project, a migration from HTTP to HTTPS can be quite an undertaking. Check out the resources below for in depth guides to making this change on your or your client’s sites, along with resources for validation and dealing with mixed content issues.