Reason For Rankings Drops After Core Updates
It is no surprise that some Google SEO websites experience a drop in search rankings and visibility after a core update. In an SEO Office-Hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked about recovering from a rankings drop after a core algorithm update. The person who asked the question thought that they could improve their Google SEO if they eliminated technical issues or random spammy backlinks, as these might be the possible causes for the drop in their site’s search visibility after the core update.
In response, Mueller discussed Google’s core algorithm and what site owners should focus on if their websites are affected.
The individual asking the question stated that they have three online pharmacies in Switzerland. One website was hit with many random spammy backlinks, but the site owner was not responsible for them. Mueller had stated in a previous conversation with the SEO that Google can handle those links.
Nonetheless, following the July 2021 Core Update, the site’s search rankings and traffic decreased, while the visibility and traffic of the other two sites almost doubled.
They tried to fix the problem by submitting a disavow file and addressing technological difficulties, yet the website never recovered and now has less search visibility. The SEO claimed that they lost rankings after the core algorithm update due to those spammy backlinks.
Mueller responded that since he can’t have a look at the website, he can’t talk specifics about anything; therefore, he gave a general answer. He explained what a Google core update is about and factors irrelevant to a drop in rankings during a core update.
If there are changes in the Google SEO website during core updates, it’s usually because Google is trying to understand the site’s relevance overall rather than looking at its spammy links. So, at this time, one should not expect any reaction from a core update due to random spammy links.
Mueller also addressed the site’s overall quality. He previously stated in a Google Office-hours hangout that overall site quality goes beyond just text and includes several factors, like layouts. One should first know about Mueller’s definition of “overall site quality” to fully understand what he is talking about.
The quality of the content is more than just how articles are written. It’s about the website’s overall quality. And it includes everything – from the layout to the design. It also refers to how site owners arrange elements on their pages, how they use photos, their site speed, and many other factors. Therefore, one can conclude that Google looks at the overall website, not just the context of the content.
Knowing how Google defines the quality of the content is crucial because the search engine company has long emphasised the significance of images and even created developer pages about optimising images for SEO. Many SEOs also thought that page speed is unimportant, but Mueller said that it contributes to a site’s content quality. He also noted that SEOs could make changes to improve their websites over time in terms of overall quality.
Next, Mueller addressed those websites whose rankings took a negative turn. He said that site owners might have to wait for a while because it takes a long time to recover, especially if it was a strong adjustment with a core update.
He also emphasises that submitting a disavow file does not solve the problems caused by a core update. In the SEO’s case, their situation was not related to the spammy backlinks, so using a disavow tool does not solve anything. Mueller’s advice is to first learn about the site’s relevance, which would, in turn, rely on the overall website’s quality.
Next, Mueller told the Google SEO community to focus on overall relevance. It’s a bit more challenging if one has several shops that are fairly similar. In that case, it’s probably not going to be a case where one of them is terrible while the other is exceptionally good. However, it may still be possible to look at user studies to identify the differences and determine the changes that need to be made to ensure that the website is particularly relevant.
YMYL Websites Have A More Critical Algorithm
Mueller said that sites publishing sensitive topics, also known as Your Money Your Life (YMYL) content, will be subjected to a more “critical” algorithm. Some of these sites are pharmacies and others in the health sector. The reason for a more critical algorithm is that there is so much more involved. YMYL websites are different from the others; they’re not random websites with simple stories or funny pictures. They have a bigger impact on people’s money and health.
Technical Issues Do Not Produce Core Update Problems
The SEO next said that they were attempting to resolve 404 and other technical issues, and Mueller immediately reassured them that these problems are not associated with core updates. He reiterated that resolving issues from core updates should be about understanding one’s overall site quality and relevance instead of focusing on spam and other technical issues.
What To Do When Affected By A Google Core Update?
Mueller shared a lot of helpful information for determining where to focus one’s efforts after a core update and tasks that one should not worry about.
Below are some important takeaways from Mueller’s response:
- It’s useless to upload a disavow file to fix a core update-related rankings collapse.
- Addressing technical difficulties don’t solve problems caused by a core update.
- One must consider the overall quality and relevance of the website.
- If the core update hugely impacts a website, SEOs may need to wait for the next major update to see improvements.
Google has stated that there is nothing to fix after a core update. Mueller also comments that the core update typically focuses on relevance and overall quality.
Improve Rankings After A Core Update
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