Google Confirms Core Updates Can Affect Local & Image Search Whether Content is Affected by Core Updates "Depends" on the Situation, Says Sullivan

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News, SEO

Interesting news for Google Image and Local Search enthusiasts – contrary to popular belief, core updates can, in fact, impact both image search and local search results. This comes directly from the source, Google Public Search Liason, Danny Sullivan.

While Sullivan had previously stated that core updates don’t impact local results, he is now changing his tune. On August 3, he confirmed on Twitter that it actually depends on the situation, as core updates can affect all different types of content across search.

“Core updates can involve image results or any type of content because they involve our core ranking systems that themselves involve all types of content. That’s why our page about them mentions ‘content” so often,’ said Sullivan, adding that generally, core updates don’t involve local search.

“It typically wouldn’t do much. But it could because…core updates involve our core ranking systems…”

READ MORE: July 2021 Core Update Completes 12-Day Launch

Sullivan’s comments were made in response to SEO consultant and Search Engine Land columnist, Glenn Gabe, who posted on Twitter how core updates can impact image search with examples and tagged Sullivan to confirm.

After his initial comments, Sullivan went on to explain how you can tell if your image or local search content has been impacted by a core update.

“Typically, if you see — as our post says — “widely notable effects,” that’s a sign a core update is playing a role with content.”

So, there you have it. Images and local search can be impacted by core updates. Are you surprised by this revelation?

READ MORE: SEOs React to July Core Update

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Is Google’s Recent Core Update Measuring Up?


Update from the future: On September 26, both the September Core Update and the Product Reviews Update have been fully rolled out. Read about it here and find out how to know if you’ve been hit and what to do about it. 

Remember last May when Google announced the first broad core update? Well now it’s being used for comparison to Google’s September 2022 broad core update.

As we know, Google never stops with the updates and just a couple of weeks ago the company put the second update for broad core into full force. The second broad core update has only been in progress for a little over a week but there is already data showing to what degree it is working.

September 2022 Broad Core Update Results, so far

Even though the update has been in the works since September 12th, results from a couple of data providers have already come back agree across the board. Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land says that “…the September 2022 core update was significant but not so much as the previous May 2022 core update.”

Read More: Google Releases September 2022 Broad Core Update

Many SEO experts have been watching this update closely since it had been projected to follow the same track that the May 2022 broad core update was on. When the May 2022 broad core update was released, Bary Schwartz reported that it was less volatile than the update before. He’s referencing the broad core update from November 2021.

So it would seem, with each broad core update, the scale of volatility appears to decline a bit each time. You can definitely notice the difference in this snapshot that Schwartz included in his recent discussion.

Read More: Are Core Update Ranking Losses A Soft Penalty?

The data is still being collected everyday as the September broad core update continues to progress. SEO expert and consultant Glenn Gabe has been closely monitoring impacts of the recent broad core update and earlier this week tweeted snapshot of organic traffic performance.

What can you do if your site is impacted?

It wouldn’t be the first time that a Google update has had users scrambling to reverse the negative impacts of an update, and it certainly won’t be the last. With the broad core update, if you see a negative ranking, don’t panic because it might not mean your page has been impacted.

Nevertheless, Google has provided users with resources and advice before. You can checkout Google’s list of questions to run through if you’re site has been affected.

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July 2021 Core Update Completes 12-Day Launch


SEOs have kept their eyes peeled all summer for information pertaining to Google’s various updates. Finally, Google has announced that its pair of summer core updates has finished rolling out.

Google launched its first core update of the year on June 2. With the launch, Google said that it would be splitting the core update into two launches – one for June and one for July.

The June update completed its rollout on June 12, and the July update began its rollout on July 1, finishing yesterday, as per an announcement from Google:

The core update is a particularly significant type of update. Upon a core update launch, Google makes broad changes to its search algorithms, in turn affecting what metrics are used to rank pages on SERPs. Following a launch, SEOs and site owners should pay close attention to their sites’ performance.


Not Done Cooling Down Yet

Even though the July core update is finished rolling out, tracking tools are still showing plenty of heat. Over the last twelve days, there have been two ‘spikes’ of activity – one on July 2 and one on July 9. It’s possible that sites are still reacting or catching up, even though Google isn’t making more explicit changes.

SEMRush as of July 13 at 10:00 a.m.

Have You Been Affected?

It’s not always clear following a core update which sites or pages will be affected. Most SEOs would agree that the update phase feels like a rollercoaster.

SEO Barry Schwartz writes that he’s ready plenty of theories about the recent updates on forums and social media. These posts speculate on what the update’s actual outcomes were, and what site owners should do to recover. However, Schwartz warns not to feed into these theories without proof.

I don’t think any of those theories have anything to do with what a core update is about or what it actually does,” he says. “Please be careful when reading these theories and associating them with the core update. I really think they are unrelated and lead you to fishing for the wrong thing.”

SEO Glenn Gabe, meanwhile, writes that he’s seen volatile results across sites from certain categories.

Specifically, sites with content pertaining to finances or the health and medical industry seemed to be hit hardest. Additionally, sites with product reviews have been hit hard, especially considering that the product reviews update was launched in the spring.

Gabe provides plenty of tips for SEOs who want their sites to recover. He points out that, unfortunately, you may have to wait for the next update to see favourable results.

“Sites that are heavily impacted by broad core updates typically cannot see recovery until another broad core updates rolls out,” he says.

Still, site owners should take an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach to fixing their rankings. This means checking every possible factor rather than assuming a drop in rankings comes from one specific thing.

A Timeline of Recent Updates

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