On June 2nd, Google began a slow rollout of its scheduled June 2021 global core update. In simple terms, a core update means broad changes to Google’s search algorithms and systems – the technical elements that affect if and how your website appears on their search engine results page (SERP).
Google does core updates on an ongoing basis with some being more significant than others, and signs show that the current update will be just that. The June 2021 core update is aligned with Google’s broader page experience update and core web vitals metrics updates coming via a gradual rollout in mid-June.
Why is Google doing this?
Like any business, Google is always evolving to make the user experience better with the intention that search results should help people find what they’re looking for. The main purpose for core updates is to improve the user experience by improving search results so users find answers and the information they’re seeking, faster.
(VIDEO: How Google Search Has Changed Since 1998)
Google doesn’t always communicate these updates to webmasters, which is why we continuously watch for trends on our clients’ sites to flag any algorithm update that might impact our clients’ website performance, ranking and traffic. In this case, however, the core update is significant enough that Google informed webmasters, making it possible for us to monitor and efficiently manage SEO and other technical factors that impact page rank.
Will this affect where your company’s website ranks on the search engine results page?
Possibly. It’s too early to tell the long-term impact this core update will have on a website’s ranking on the SERP; and the impact will also vary from website to website. To give site owners peace of mind, Google has noted pages will still rank if it detects nuances on a current website that differ from the new algorithm changes.
Since the June 2 rollout, we’ve noticed fluctuations in rankings that we haven’t seen since the last core update. We anticipate this will continue to fluctuate then will settle, and we are prepared for it for our clients. The core update is being rolled out slowly and it will take a couple of weeks to have a good understanding if the changes impact a website’s rankings.
Note: Google has also announced that this core update will be split into two phases: a June and July rollout, and that fluctuations in June may not be permanent.
Keep in mind that it’s seldom in Google’s interest to tell website owners what attributes the search engine will put more or less emphasis on. If site owners all learned that internal linking now mattered a lot more, for example, then you can be sure that they’d start spending a lot more time on internal linking. (An exception is something that’s undeniably better for users — such as stronger security or better user experience — in which case Google clearly broadcasts its intentions.)
What’s our take & what should the next steps be?
The good news is at Hennessey Digital, we always focus on the same things Google does: content and user experience. So we’re on the same page. Google’s goal is to rank pages with the best overall content that meets user intent. The results displayed on the SERP are based on historical user experience and how consumers are using the pages they click on. And strategically, their focus remains the same: quality of content and freshness, with increasing importance in the coming months to include user experience as well.
Jessica Rowe, Hennessey Digital’s Director of Client Services, notes: Our SEO team regularly monitors algorithm changes and client data for patterns. There has been a lot of movement since June 2nd and we expect more to come. We’re keeping a very close eye on rankings and conversions over the coming weeks as Google continually tweaks its algorithm. Once Google informs us the rollout is complete, we will have a more thorough understanding of what factors are driving those fluctuations and how we’ll address them to ensure continued SEO success for our clients.
Also important to note
- Should your website’s ranking on the SERP be affected, it doesn’t mean your previous content was not okay. It simply means Google is using different algorithms and historical user intent to determine what pages to deliver for a search query. We strive to ensure our clients’ sites are not only Google compliant, but that they’re so undeniably appealing to Google that it ranks our clients ahead of their competitors’ sites.
- If your website gains traffic as a result of the core update, work may still need to be done to ensure a good user experience on your site. While relevance of content on your site remains critically important, a poor user experience will cause your page rank to drop.
- Remember, Google can always reverse their changes. If the data shows the consumer experience isn’t what was expected, they’ll make adjustments. This is why a key part of our account management is monitoring these patterns and continuously optimizing our client’s search engine optimization strategy so their pages continue to rank and convert.
With another core update coming in July, Google’s updates are a work in progress. We predict the updates will impact rankings and SEO strategies, and as always will continue to keep a close eye on the data.
From Marian Mursa, Hennessey Digital Vice President of SEO:
“Google’s core update isn’t something for companies to panic over in the near or long term. The most important aspect to remember is that search results should help people. Hennessey Digital’s focus is and will continue to be on making sure our strategies ensure an optimal experience for the user once they get on the website. We focus on best practices and keep the user experience in mind: fast loading pages, content that meets user intent, authority on subject matters. Making sure the website is running smoothly, has compelling and clear messages, and meets user intent is always ingrained in our mindset. As such, there is no need for companies working with us to stop and realign. Going forward, we will continue to improve our strategy for clients based on data-driven information as we do today.”
Contributors: Marian Mursa, VP, SEO; Jessica Rowe, Director of Client Services; Scott Shrum, President / COO