Did your business website suffer recent SEO rankings setback? If so, you may have been swept up in the latest Google algorithm update that occurred around June 25.
This was an unusual event, even for the experts. There’s no confirmation from Google, but a whole host of SEO tracking tools and the industry experts who monitor them recorded significant activity.
Here’s what we know so far about this Google update, plus our tips for moving forward if your site was one of those affected.
SEO Marketers Notice a Google Algorithm Update Brewing
Sometime around Saturday, June 25, two interesting things happened: automated tracking tools started recording higher activity, indicating a higher level of changes in the search rankings, and SEO industry experts began asking around to their colleagues, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”
Search Engine Land and SEO Roundtable expert Barry Schwartz blogged about the possibility of an update the following Monday. Schwartz noted more than a half-dozen SEO tools were registering activity, from Mozcast to SEMRush.
And Matt Southern at Search Engine Journal reported his client sites were all showing the same SEMRush message alert indicating a daily activity score of 9.5. (By comparison, previous known updates scored in the 5 to 7 range.)
Experts around the world also chimed in on Twitter and in message boards:
“Seeing the same site flying up in one country and down in the other,” said Dawn in the UK.
“Experiencing a huge fluctuation in the rankings. Some keywords received a boost and some went from page 1 to 3,” said Deepak in India.
“My SERPs are jumping around like Kangaroos,” noted an anonymous Australian.
Meanwhile, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, responded with what has become a common non-confirmation of these kinds of updates from the search giant’s PR team: “Yup. We make updates all the time,” he tweeted.
Experts Dig into Data to Find Patterns
A few days later, experts began looking through the data for patterns (and solutions for affected sites). This has turned out to be a big update, and you can tell that from Barry Schwartz’s exasperation:
There is no pattern of the industry any of these sites are in. Many of these sites have no ads at all, some have normal ads, and some have insane penalty worthy ads. Some sites have average content and some have horrible content. Some have very mobile friendly and fast web sites and some do not. Some have very few normal links and some have lots of normal links – some have horrible links.
SEO tool RankRanger dug into the data as well in its site blog. There, Mordy Oberstein quantified just how significant this update was:
Just when you thought June would be a quiet month on the SERP, Google went ahead and rolled out a monster of an update. In all honesty, and this goes back to 2015, the Rank Risk Index has not tracked an update that lasted as long as this end of June algorithm behemoth. With modest beginnings on June 23rd, the Rank Risk Index showed high fluctuations all the way through the end of June (and beyond).
RankRanger did make three important observations:
- The June 25 update heavily targeted SERP positions 6 through 10.
- Known industries affected: food & drink, gambling, travel, retail, health & fitness.
- The algorithm update has simultaneously rolled out with new SERPs features including jobs listings and rich hotel listings updates.
Four Tips for Moving Forward
The first thing to remember about this Google algorithm update is that if your site was affected, you’re not alone. Many sites across many industries were affected — when everything from gambling to fitness was affected, you know it was big.
Second, this thing is to some extent still rolling out. RankRanger’s latest post about the update is dated July 10, more than two weeks after the first signs of an update. And data is still coming in.
Thus, thirdly, if your site went down on June 25 it could regain some or all of its former ranking over time as this algorithm — like many before it — is tweaked and attenuated over time.
Lastly, it’s worth taking a look at Beau Pedraza’s post on Search Engine Journal on what to do now. Pedraza makes the important observation that there have always been algorithm updates and there will continue to be algorithm updates. Thus a reactive response may be less helpful than a proactive plan to achieve and maintain long-term SERPs success.
I agree with Oberstein that this is an interesting time for SEO and we may be on the cusp of a paradigm shift in the industry. But for today, the best plan is to have a plan — and to remain flexible as future algorithm updates invariably roll out.