Google’s Broad Core Update in Two Stages
In an unprecedented move in recent years, Google announced in late May that the next broad core algorithm update would be released in two distinct stages over the course of the summer. This is unique in that most of these major algorithm updates, which impact organic search results, have been happening on a quarterly interval since about 2018, and they happen all at once (with approximately two-week deployment windows).
So, the details are well established at this point. Official announcements from the search engine’s reps have confirmed a June 2nd rollout of the first stage, with an early July stage to follow.
The June Core Update
Google officially announced the first of the summer ’21 core algorithm updates on June 2nd, and that it was rolling out over a 10 day period. The results have been less tumultuous than the previous two updates of this kind. However, it does share in common the characteristics of all such algorithm updates: it was global, not specific to regions, languages, or categories of websites. It follows a trend we have seen over the past two years in the organic search space in which the search engine giant has been less pointed with these updates, making it a bit harder to analyze the full impact of the update. Gone are the days of algorithm updates tied to specific SEO areas like content, backlinks, or other rankings factors around which to triage an impacted website.
The outcomes have largely been quiet throughout the industry. This is certainly true compared to the three updates from 2020. In particular, May and December’s broad core updates rocked the e-commerce world, with many smaller retail websites losing a lot of rankings and traffic to major authoritative players. Therefore, the drive to deliver on the E-A-T formula of content marketing has grown in importance and will carry smart SEO strategies forward into 2022.
Google’s Page Experience Update – June 15th
Amidst the clamor of such a unique happening in the SEO world, another major update from Google was confirmed – the much anticipated “Page Experience Update”. This includes the highly publicized Core Web Vitals ranking factor, a thorny issue for many search marketers for over a year. Some marketers have been in dread of this update as it sets a very high standard around a host of factors impacting the speed and user-friendliness of websites.
When Google introduced the Page Speed Insights tool, followed up by the inclusion of Core Web Vitals and Page Experience features directly inside Search Console, the industry paid close attention. This is the right response for savvy web marketers to such indications of UX performance factors from the largest provider in the world. The team at NetElixir has developed an in-depth look at the page experience update to help make sense of it all in the retail environment.
The July Core Update
At the same time as the announcement of the June Core Update, Google also announced the July Core Update. This update began rollout on July 1st and continued rollout for the next two weeks. Like the June Update, its impact was global and not specific to any aspect of websites or SEO traits.
With this push from Google for general SEO health over concerted tactics in focal areas, we also see a concerted drive in the need for two major areas: providing superior site experience and informative content that targets user needs over ranking goals. SEOs can’t forget their focal tactics for specific areas, but their overall strategy needs to continue to expand in terms of holistic site and SEO health approach if e-commerce sites, or any site, wish to see benefits in visibility from these core updates.
As Google tweeted with their announcement of the Core Update, “…Google Search is updated thousands of times per year with changes meant to improve the experience and the quality of results.”
However, as with any of these broad core updates, expect Google to do some testing upon seeing the results of June, and therefore, “correcting” as they roll out the update in July.
The short of it is that there will be some fluctuation as the major Google algorithm updates roll out back-to-back. The impact of the latter update may have in its design the impact of correcting or reversing some of the impacts of the former. At its core, Google’s continued goal is to create better SERP experiences and encourage sites, even those with established history and authority, to look for ways to do the same with their pages and content.
To learn about and benefit from these impacts, look to your own analytics data and keep an eye out for patterns and performance. Understand the focal tactics that may apply to impacted pages (good or bad), but understand the need to apply them to your site holistically in the long term.
If you need help navigating the summer Google algorithm updates, reach out to the experts at NetElixir. Our SEO Team ensures your website stays current with the latest algorithm updates and helps you understand SEO best practices.
Read More on SEO
- Why is Image Optimization a Must-Do in 2021?
- SEO Advantages to Your CMS Platform
- What Are Core Web Vitals and How Do They Impact Your Organic Rankings?
Written by Andy Newhall, Sr. Client Services Manager, and Silas Gossman, SEO Manager