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Google Strikes Again with Another Core Update to its Algorithm

As usual, Google didn’t specify what changes it incorporated into the update and offered no useful comments on how to overcome any negative fallout.

You may not have heard about it, but you’ve likely felt some of the reverberations: Google unleashed a major core update to its search algorithm at the beginning of December.

Although Google says it constantly fine-tunes its algorithm, this was the first major update since May. While an update was overdue – Google usually averages around three major updates a year – the timing of this one, right in the middle of the holiday season, was an unwelcome surprise.

Websites that track Google changes identified the December update as more dramatic than the May rollout. Results fluctuated for websites across a wide range of industries in all geographic areas on both desktop and mobile platforms. Some sites reported traffic drops of as much as 40% because of the update.


No New Details

As usual, Google didn’t specify what changes it incorporated into the update and offered no useful comments on how to overcome any negative fallout. Its standard response in the past has been that an update-related dip in search engine performance doesn’t necessarily indicate that there’s anything wrong with your web pages.

“One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015,” Google suggested. “A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before. The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.”

At the time, Google recommended reviewing several sets of questions to help position your website for improved performance after the next major update:


Content

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  • Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  • Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Expertise

  • Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
  • If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely recognized as an authority on its topic?
  • Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
  • Is the content free from easily verified factual errors?
  • Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?

Presentation & Production

  • Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
  • Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Does the content have an excessive number of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?

Comparison

  • Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

Pilot Fish has years of experience writing compelling, effective content that performs well on the search engines. Contact us today at 1-877-799-9994, ext. 2102 for the assistance you need.

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