Google regularly rolls out algorithm updates to improve search results.
In case an update is poised to cause significant ripples in the online marketing community, Google usually lets marketers and website owners know in advance. The latest broad core update that was released in September 2022 may turn out to be one of those.
So, that’s what we’re going to dig into and more important details about Google core updates that matter to website owners like you.
What You Need to Know About the Sep 2022 Core Update
Google, through its official Twitter account, announced its latest broad core update on September 12, 2022, following its Helpful Content Update last September 9. With the two updates closely in tow, people’s comments and reactions poured in.
Today we released the September 2022 core update. We’ll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete: https://t.co/sQ5COfdNcb
– Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) September 12, 2022
The September 2022 core update focuses on rewarding high-quality webpages than penalising low-performing ones. Thus, it takes into account all content types around the world for rankings and how valuable they are.
9 Things to Know About Google Core Updates and How They Affect Your SEO
Most Google algorithm updates go unnoticeable, but core updates usually leave a significant impact with some websites seeing an improvement in rankings and others dropping. That’s why Google prepared a guideline for anyone looking to fix their web pages after an update.
The previous core update was released on 25th May 2022. Prior to that, there was a broad core update in November 2021. Evidently, Google releases a core algorithm update every few months, which takes roughly two to three weeks for a complete rollout.
With that, all the core updates target one central idea: to improve search results for the users. Since search is directly interwoven with rankings, marketers and website owners must stay abreast of these core updates.
Let’s learn more about the major core updates that Google rolled out over the last few years and how you can leverage them for your SEO.
1. What are core updates all about
Google makes extensive changes to its search algorithms a lot of times in a year – and they’re called core updates.
Core updates are implemented to ensure that the search engine giant consistently provides relevant, valuable, and quality content to its users.
Google addresses one pressing concern for all marketers who feel apprehensive about a core update: it doesn’t specifically target websites.
It may still be unclear what changes you should make to address a new update. But a core update is purely to improve how Google’s search algorithms assess the content on your web pages in most languages.
2. Why website owners should know about core updates
Core updates determine how Google crawls and ranks your web pages. It may also affect Google Discover. After an update, you may either see a dip or a rise in your search rankings depending on the relevance, quality, and update cycle of your content. Core updates give better, underestimated content a chance to rank well.
It isn’t because there’s something wrong that you need to fix. It just means that the new algorithm has been designed to find more relevant sources for that specific search query.
If you have done everything according to the webmaster guidelines on Google and have good quality content to show, you can expect better rankings.
3. How Does the August Helpful Content Update Relate to This
In August 2022, Google launched the Helpful Content Update focusing on providing people-first, original content.
The system rewards content that provides visitors with a great experience. Simply put, site owners should curate content for people, not for search engines.
To nail people-first content, make sure you tick all these factors:
- Defined target audience
- Well-researched and in-depth content
- Have a clear website purpose/focus
- Write content that helps your target audience achieve their goal
- Always follow Google’s core update and product reviews guideline
- Automation is a no-no when creating content
In augmentation with the Helpful Content Update, the latest core update is designed to “understand” and assess the quality of the published content on your website.
If there are spelling errors, issues with style, sloppiness in the way the content is composed, etc., the core update may push your webpage further down in the rankings.
5. Other major core updates to take note of
As mentioned earlier, Google is relentless in updating its algorithms. Including the minor updates, the number may go up to a thousand times in a year. But let’s look at the significant updates they’ve had rolled out so far:
- May 2022 Core Update: Google never goes into details when it comes to its core updates. So, there was nothing different about the May 2022 update at all except for the general fact that it impacts search rankings. The update started on May 22, 2022, and was fully implemented on June 9, 2022.
- November 2021 Core Update: This update stirred up marketers and site owners because it was rolled out during the busiest online shopping season. The update ran from November 17 to November 30, 2021. For this, they redirected affected parties to their guideline about core updates.
6. Core Updates Compare Webpages
Comparison is an integral part of search engine rankings. With each core update, the search algorithms improve at comparing content to determine which fits the SEO bill better, in an organic way. This isn’t based on the bias for following guidelines – it is merely an attempt to display more relevant results to the users.
With this, you should also pay attention to your webpage structure. A well-structured webpage helps Google to crawl and index it easily.
With each core update, the algorithm looks at a content structure that’s easy for users to understand and derive insights from. For example, descriptive headings, insightful summaries, genuine content that isn’t spun in software, etc.
7. What About E-A-T?
Have you ever noticed Google asking you whether or not the search results were relevant for you? You may have seen this question as a notification on your mobile phone, or maybe somewhere on your browser asking you how helpful Google’s search results were.
Through feedback from users, Google assesses how well its algorithms are working. By doing this, it’s trying to improve its search algorithms to provide better satisfaction to searchers – much like a restaurant would improve service if the customer rating was bad.
E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, is Google’s compass for rating the quality of content on your website.
Google has published an official 167-page guideline on E-A-T and Search Quality Ratings to help you implement best practices in creating website content.
E-A-T assesses three things in website content:
Core updates evaluate the expertise of the creator of the main content on a website.
Google evaluates the authoritativeness of the creator of the main content, the content itself and the website as well.
Do the users trust their important life decisions to the content creator, the content, and the website? Google evaluates this as well for content quality.
8. What to Do if Your Website is Hit?
It’s possible that even after doing everything right, your website may experience a drop in rankings and traffic due to core updates. If that’s the case, you may want to look into certain aspects that frequently get overlooked:
- Perform a site audit to understand which SEO aspects aren’t working.
- Perform a content audit to assess the quality of your content with respect to E-A-T guidelines.
- Perform a page review and update all depreciated webpages as per E-A-T.
- Hire writers that have firsthand expertise in your target content topics.
- Keep an eye out for Google’s algorithm changes.
- Monitor site performance and analytics.
9. Core Updates Aren’t Bad!
Core updates mean well. Look at it from a user’s perspective instead of a marketer’s. If you were to search Google for something and didn’t find the needed information in the first page results, wouldn’t you be frustrated?
The core updates aim to solve this. It provides the searchers with relevant, helpful, high-quality content.
If, as a marketer, you focused on building your website around these principles, there is nothing you need to be apprehensive of.
Next Steps for Your Business
Core updates are unavoidable. Google rolls them out every few months, necessitating marketers to be on their toes. The best way to tackle this periodic surprise is to keep your content and web pages aligned with E-A-T since inception.
If your website has been hit with a core update and you’re experiencing lower traffic, it’s time to reassess all your content and website architecture.
Search engine ranking is a game of staying ahead of the competition – however, it isn’t your webpage, but the content on it that competes.
By ensuring that you maintain high standards for people-first content, its quality, and keyword relevance, you can be one step ahead of any core update. In the end, Google only wants its searchers to view the best content.
Moreover, if you’re keen to keep track of Google’s algorithm updates but don’t have enough time, you can tap experts for help. They’re committed to keeping their SEO knowledge up to date helping clients stay on top of their SEO game.