Everything We Know About the August Google Search Update

Google Acknowledges Broad Core Algorithm Update

If something’s not quite right with your rankings and traffic, Google’s latest update could be responsible. Here’s what we know about it.

Google tweeted last week that it had released a “broad core algorithm update.” Nothing new there, Google makes tweaks and updates all the time, but the fact that it chose to acknowledge the fact on this occasion is an indication that this was a little more significant than usual.

Any Google search algorithm update causes a buzz of debate and speculation in the SEO community, and we are invariably left in a position where we have to “fill in the blanks” as the advice from Google is always the same. It can be summarised as follows: “There’s nothing you need to ‘fix,’ and changes to our algorithm are to improve the accuracy of search results, so all you need to do is keep making your website better and Google will notice the fact and your ranking will improve.”

What is a “broad core algorithm update?”

The advice from Google might sound unhelpful, but it does provide some relevant information when you read between the lines. Some updates are aimed at a specific parameter or metric, and if your rankings take a hit, you know exactly where you need to look. In this case, however, a “broad core algorithm update” is focussing on the way the Google bots are crawling and analysing your site and correlating what they find to a search query.

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Google provided very similar statements back in March and April. Here are the key points:

  • A major algorithm update took place
  • The update is focussed on improving the correlation between results and search queries
  • If a site lost out following the update, that’s not through any deficiency or fault on its part

The final point is key one. Google stressed that there is nothing in this update that penalises sites. Any drop in rankings is due to other sites that had previously been ranked lower benefiting from the algorithm update.

So what should you do?

It’s well and good Google seeking to give everyone a warm and fuzzy feeling that there is nothing wrong with their site. But that will provide little comfort if your ranking and traffic have gone through the floor.

The first piece of advice is not to panic. Every major Google update causes a flurry of sites moving dramatically up and down the rankings. It can be either an exhilarating or a terrifying experience, but it is usually short lived. Each such change is usually followed by a correction, or a “refresh” as Google calls it, which brings things closer to normal.

Secondly, take an objective look at what has happened. If you are suddenly ranking lower for a specific search, look at the sites that are ranking at the top. What have they got that your site hasn’t? This might give you a clue as to what has changed in the algorithm.

Finally, remember the basics. Danny Sullivan from Google (also the founding editor of Search Engine Land) calls it “the boring stuff” but it is what counts in the long run. Keep your content fresh, relevant and authoritative, check your loading speeds and give your whole site an SEO health check.

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If you have been affected by this recent change, contact Freelance SEO Essex today and ask for help with recovering from the August search update.

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