Google Search Update: September 2019

Site analytics snapshot.

Every month, our SEO team looks back on the previous months to determine wins, losses, and what strategies can be improved going forward for clients. One big factor that impacted our team during September was the latest Google core algorithm update. The core algorithm update before this one took place in June and shook things up for the health and wellness space.

Was This An Impactful Update?

Every Google update has some kind of impact on the search results. Search volatility is a given in this industry, but vague updates like this one leave most SEOs shaking in their boots. That being said, most sources are reporting that this update was significantly weaker than its predecessor in June.

The same industries seems to have been impacted by this update, though – with health and medical sites, as well as news sites, bearing the brunt of the algorithmic change.

Core Updates Are Clear As Mud

Google has repeatedly said that there really is nothing SEOs can do to prepare for or recover after a core algorithm update. The company holds the party line that this kind of update is to improve the effectiveness of the algorithm so that users get what they need from the SERPs. Google reps have said: “We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.”

What To Look For

However, the search engine has finally revealed some information around these so-called “non-specific” updates – mostly around content. After all, the algorithm feeds on updated, relevant and substantial content. This means site owners should make sure the information on their site is original, comprehensive and insightful around keywords and topics.

Along those same lines, the content should be UNIQUE and high quality – ie, would someone else want to cite it? It should be well thought out and informative. Some more content tips that come straight from Google are below:

  • Your content should be geared towards users – it should be shareable and interesting. The specific question to ask, according to Search Engine Land, is: “Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?” Don’t assume the Google bots are stupid – they can tell the difference between SEO optimized content and content meant for human consumption.
  • Headlines and page titles should be descriptive of the content they are about, and not be shocking or hyperbolic.
  • Content should cite the sources used, and also add additional value and insight on top of what is being cited (No regurgitation!).
  • Content should be trustworthy – expertly researched and written and providing confidence to users around the information it covers.
  • Make sure you have run spell-check and formatted your site in a user-friendly manner. Don’t be sloppy.
  • Your site content should be mobile-friendly.

Was your site impacted by the recent core algorithm update? Tell us in the comments!

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