As many of you may have noticed, Google rolled out another broad core algorithm update last week on October 18th. As a website owner and SEO specialist myself, I wanted to break down what this update means and how you can make sure your site is prepared.
What Are Broad Core Updates?
Broad core updates are major algorithm updates that Google rolls out every few months to improve their overall search results. Unlike other updates that target specific issues, broad core updates are focused on improving Google’s core ranking signals and metrics. This means the whole search algorithm is getting refreshed to surface higher-quality sites.
The goal for Google is always to provide the most relevant and useful search results, so they need to constantly tweak their systems. Broad core updates allow them to take a step back and overhaul multiple parts of the algorithm at once.
Why Do These Updates Matter?
When an update this large rolls out, there’s always a chance it could shake up the rankings, for better or for worse. Google estimates that only a small percentage of queries and websites will see any significant change. But if your site is affected, you’ll likely see noticeable drops or gains in your organic traffic and visibility.
I distinctly remember the May 2020 core update, where one of my sites lost over 30% of its Google traffic overnight! It can be jarring, but core updates are just something we have to adapt to as website owners. The best defense is making sure you’re always sticking to the best practices when it comes to content, technical SEO, page speed, etc.
Monitoring Your Site
So how can you know if this latest October update has impacted your site? Here are a few tips:
- You have to keep an eye on your Google Analytics traffic. While doing so, look for any drops or surges around October 18th specifically.
- You can use the site tracking tool like Semrush or Ahrefs. This will help you to see if your rankings and visibility for key terms have changed.
- Check your Search Console data like any messages from Google about an algorithm impact?
- Ask others in your industry if they’ve noticed any changes as well.
- It can take a couple weeks for a core update to fully roll out, so you’ll want to monitor things closely through early November.
Optimizing Your Site For Future Updates
Whether or not your site was affected, core updates are always a good reminder to audit your SEO and make sure you’re optimizing according to Google’s guidelines.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind to optimize your website:
- Provide lots of useful, relevant, and engaging content. Think from the searcher’s perspective!
- Make site speed a priority – improve page load times and cut down on bulky assets.
- Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and EASY to use on all devices. Google is all about that user experience.
- Check that your website’s/ blog page titles and meta descriptions are clear, unique, and enticing.
- Use keywords naturally throughout your content to help search engines understand your focus. But don’t overstuff!
- Fix any technical errors like broken links or image alt text.
- Build high-quality backlinks from reputable sites. But stay away from shady tactics!
- Last but not least, be patient and persistent because SEO is a long term process that cannot be done shortly.
Should You Hire an SEO to Help?
My answer may be biased here as an independent SEO – but in many cases, hiring a search specialist can help navigate turbulent times. SEO experts track core updates closely and can offer insights tailored to your site. If you’re struggling, at least get an SEO’s opinion.