Google recently announced its latest algorithm update – and it’s a big one.
Categorized as broad core, the search giant has coined this the June 2019 Core Update.
Here’s what we know so far, and what you can do to prepare.
What You’ll Learn:
- What we know about the Google June 2019 Core Update so far
- What to expect from a broad core update
- What to do if your rankings are affected
Google June 2019 Core Update: What We Know So Far
Anyone who’s spent time in the world of SEO is familiar with the infamous Google algorithm updates.
Usually, they come without warning. This time, Google did things a little differently, giving prior warning to the SEO community that a broad core update was coming.
On June 2, Google released a notice on its Twitter account warning of the upcoming update. The statement read:
“Tomorrow, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the June 2019 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before.”
These type of updates certainly aren’t new. In fact, the last one occurred just last March, and Google tends to release several broad core updates per year.
What is different is that Google chose to announce this one in advance.
According to Search Engine Land and Google’s Danny Sullivan, that doesn’t mean there’s anything noticeably more significant or special about this one; they simply wanted to be proactive and give people advanced notice to eliminate any ensuing confusion.
But many have speculated that this one came with prior warning because it was going to be big.
In his initial tweet, Google’s Danny Sullivan (and the guy behind the Google SearchLiaison Twitter handle) admitted that this update would be “definitely noticeable.”
And since beginning its official rollout, that certainly seems to be the case.
The update went live with official confirmation from Google on June 3 around 10 AM.
As of now, the update’s made some major waves.
As reported by Search Engine Land, early data from Sistrix, RankRanger, SearchMetrics and Moz suggests there have been some noticeable fluctuations in the rankings.
Sistrex reports changes from 05.06. on 06.06 in the Google UK Index.
They also note that the range of websites affected seems to be wider than previous updates. While the most recent updates were thought to have the most effect on YMYL sites, this ones appears to have widened the net to news sites, retail sites, etc.
On the US search results side, RankRanger provided the following numbers, noting that gambling, health and finances industries seemed to be hit the hardest.
Interestingly, Marcus Tober from SearchMetrics theorized that Google seemed to have reversed some parts of the core update that rolled out in March. Both he and Dr. Pete Myers from Moz reported that a few major medical sites that lost significant rankings in the previous update seemed to have regained their visibility.
It also seems that sites previously hit by Google’s Medic update in August 2018 have been impacted again this time around. Some have seen their rankings drop even further, while others report significant recoveries in their rankings.
The SEO community is certainly feeling the latest from Google, with Tweets and comments rolling in about both lost rankings and recoveries.
As of now, rankings remain in flux.
SERoundtable put together a list of comments left around the SEO community, representing the effects the update has had thus far. Here’s a sample:
Thing is, this update’s just getting started. It hasn’t yet finished rolling out, meaning we’ll likely continue to see some fluctuations throughout the week.
Google Will Also Start Showing More Diverse Search Results
In conjunction with Google’s June 2019 Core Update, the search giant also announced that it would be updating its search results to show more diverse offerings (though the two are unrelated).
In this case, more diverse means from more domains.
The announcement also came through Twitter, with the update officially launching on June 6, 2019.
This update means that Google will show no more than two results from the same domain in the top results for a search.
Why the change? Because many have noticed that certain domains tend to monopolize the search results for certain searches. This update will attempt to even the playing field and vary the choices searchers have on the first page.
Google does state that it when appropriate, it reserves the right to show more than two results from a domain if it happens to best fit the query.
Note that this update will not effect SERP features like the Knowledge Graph or Image Carousel, only the main search results.
While this will affect how some pages rank, Google claims that it should not have a large effect on the overall search rankings.
What to Expect From a Broad Core Update?
Google’s June 2019 Core Update is being classified as broad core.
As mentioned, these broad core updates happen several times a year. It’s important to distinguish these between more targeted updates like the Panda or Penguin updates, which target specific behavior and tend to have major effects on the search rankings.
A broad core update, on the other hand, is a bit more of a mystery. The Panda update, for example, specifically targeted sites with low quality content. Similarly, the Penguin update went after sites engaging in black hat link building.
These targeted updates are aimed at finding – and punishing – sites engaging in bad behavior.
A Broad core update, like the Google June 2019 Core Update, is more of a general clean up.
While that generally means a bit less fluctuation in the rankings, it also means we don’t know exactly what factors are affecting the sites and causing any dips in rankings.
In the past, Google’s had this to say about broad core updates:
Search Engine Land explains these updates as “a tweak or change to the main search engine itself.”
As we know, Google’s algorithm is a closely kept secret. We don’t know what exactly goes into it, but we do know it included a few hundred factors aimed at deciphering and ranking the quality of site. Those factors include things like page speed, backlinks, keywords in title tags, etc.
A broad core update slightly tweaks how Google values each factor. It could mean that page speed now factors in more heavily than keywords, or vice versa.
The thing is, Google doesn’t reveal which factors, specifically, are being affected.
Instead, they’ve simply stated that some sites will see drops or gains, and there’s no way to “fix” a site that may have dropped.
They do note that it doesn’t mean the affected pages have done anything wrong.
Google has simply decided to redistribute the weight it places on various factors, to the detriment of some websites.
Google June 2019 Core Update: What to Do If Your Site’s Affected
As stated, there’s no real way to fix a site that drops due to a broad core update.
According to Google, they don’t release any more information or actionable advice because they don’t want site owners to attempt to change things that aren’t issues.
This, understandably, can be very frustrating to site owners who see dips in their rankings, and are given no guidance on how to reverse the issue.
While Google remains largely unhelpful regarding updates like its June 3 2019 Core Update, it Tweeted out this piece of advice: focus on “offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”
Follow the Quality Rater Guidelines
So, what makes content great in Google’s eyes?
For the most accurate information, it’s recommended that all site owners and marketers refer to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines.
Quality Raters are contracted by Google to review and rate websites based on a set of guidelines (about 200 pages of them). Currently, Google contracts with 10,000+ Quality Raters.
It’s important to note that Raters have no effect on how a page ranks, and their data is not factored into the overall Google algorithm. Instead, a Rater performs a search and evaluates the quality of the top pages the search returns.
Then, Google uses that feedback to improve its algorithm going forward.
While the guidelines are extensive, there are a few key areas that marketers can focus on to improve their site’s performance.
Your money or your life, or YMYL for short, has been a big focus of Google’s lately.
Though not officially confirmed, YMYL pages were thought to play a big rule in Google’s recent Google Medic update.
While we don’t for sure what factor it will play in the most recent Google June 2019 Core Update, we do know that Google has been emphasizing the importance of these pages and the content they contain.
According to Google, any page including content that can affect someone’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability is a YMYL page.
If you’ve got a website that offers tips on personal finance or how to navigate the stock market, the pages that include those tips are YMYL pages.
If you run a fitness blog that gives advice on nutrition, it’s filled with YMYL pages.
If you’ve got a website that offers medical advice or diagnoses, that’s a YMYL page.
Google reserves very high quality rating standards for YMYL pages because bad info could hurt people financially, physically, or emotionally.
That means when a quality rater comes across a YMYL page, they’ll evaluate it against stricter standards than your average webpage.
YMYL Pages and E.A.T.
YMYL pages put heavy emphasis on E.A.T:
- E – Expertise
- A – Authority
- T – Trustworthiness
E.A.T applies heavily to YMYL pages, though it should be noted that all pages — regardless if they’re considered YMYL or not — are expected to meet the E.A.T acronym.
If Google finds that your page doesn’t meet the E.A.T standards, it will likely result in a slow drop in rankings.
In fact, it’s the first thing mentioned in the Quality Rater Guidelines regarding how to determine the highest quality sites:
- Very high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
- A very satisfying amount of high or highest quality MC.
- Very positive website reputation for a website that is responsible for the MC on the page. Very positive reputation of the creator of the MC, if different from that of the website.
So, how do you prove your E.A.T?
First, focus on expertise and building up your reputation as an expert in your field.
Much of that will come with time, but you can start by producing consistent, quality content, sharing any certifications or qualifications on your homepage, and having a detailed bio page for every author on your site.
You’ll also want to work on examples of social proof and apply for industry-specific awards, and gathering a solid set of positive reviews.
It’s also important regarding YMYL pages that you include any backup information or resources to support any claims you make, and make sure that every post or article your write is attributed to an actual author (not a page admin).
A few things to look out for include:
- Negative reviews – If you’re collecting a significant amount of bad reviews, it may be time to evaluate your business practices and reach out to unsatisfied customers
- Lack of expertise – remember, always attribute articles to a qualified author and include a detailed bio page for every writer listed on your site
- Outdated information – all information, especially any that concerns YMYL, should be kept up to date. Make sure you’re performing regular content refreshes and replacing any outdated information.
- Unsupported information – If you’re making a claim, make sure you have the references to back it up. If you don’t, either remove it or find credible sources to include.
June 3 2019 Core Update: Follow Content Best Practices
When it comes down to it, the best way to ensure your rankings are ironclad (or as close as possible, given Google’s frequent updates) is to follow the rules as closely as possible.
Where content is concerned, that means following E.A.T., providing high-quality, longform content, and providing it on a consistent basis.
It also means making sure that your content matches the intent of the searcher.
The best way to interpret the intent of a search is to do in-depth keyword research, using tools like SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool to help you find related and longtail keywords.
Is the searcher looking for information on a product? Or are they looking for somewhere to buy? You want to provide the right information for each kind of search, which means you need to provide varied content that caters to different searches and is optimized for different keywords.
Information seekers are likely typing in keywords like “what is..”, “top 10..,” and “examples,” while those with purchase intent are using words like “affordable,”where to buy,” or “most affordable.”
Other things to keep in mind when creating Google-proof content:
- Always establish the purpose of the page – this one goes back to the intent of the page. It’s best to dedicate each page to one topic, and make it very clear what that topic is.
- Link to other well-established sites – providing trusted resources will increase the trustworthiness of your own content and prove that you’ve done your research, which will up your overall authority.
- Create a high quality site – look, you could have a site filled with quality content, but if that site is filled with redirects, broken links or images, or offers a poor user experience, your readers won’t stick around, and it won’t do you any favors in Google’s eyes.
- Offer value and actionable advice – long gone are the days where advice was bought and paid for. Now, the only way to become a thought leader and trusted authority is to provide real solutions and insights.
Wrapping Up the June 2019 Core Update
We can’t say yet what the lasting effect of Google’s June 2019 Core Update will be on the search rankings.
We do know that it’s producing noticeable changes, and will likely continue to do so throughout the week.
For now, it’s a waiting game.
What we do know is that ultimately, a site’s ranking relies heavily on its content, and the best way to protect yourself from algorithm updates is to carefully read and follow the Quality Rater Guidelines – your rankings depend on it.
As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.