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Google Continues Rolling Out Out Ranking Updates Amid a Global Pandemic

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

Google Algorithm Update Causes Noticeable Ranking Fluctuations

We may be in the midst of a global pandemic, but that hasn’t slowed Google from continuing to roll out algorithm updates that cause search rankings to flutter. Based on reported ranking fluctuations along with some industry chatter, a Google algorithm update may have rolled out within the past week or so, according to Search Engine Round Table. It’s hard to tell what the full impact of this update has been, as chatter within the SEO community was overshadowed by a Google Analytics issue that occurred around the same time. Plus, as always, Google has remained tight-lipped, neither confirming nor denying that such an update has even taken place. However, it’s fair to say an update did, in fact, occur based on the following charts from various tracking tools. ranking fluctuations from google update April 2020 Source: SEMRush ranking fluctuations from google update April 2020 Source: Algoroo ranking fluctuations from google update April 2020 Source: Cognitive SEO To give you an even better idea of how this supposed update is affecting those within the industry, here’s a look at a few snippets taken from the forum over at WebmasterWorld: “Woke up today to a total google reshuffle in my niche…extreme ranking loss and lots of low quality (spam link) sites ranking high.” “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a quick re-shuffle and shuffle back to ordinary. I was nowhere in top 100 for any of my highest keywords and now strongest ones are back in top 10 as before.” “Yup seen a few obvious spam sites rising. One link I saw rise out of no where redirects to a #*$! site and if you look at the google cache of the page it is some stolen page with the content words just jumbled (it doesn’t make sense anymore). Not sure how Google cannot still detect these types of sites.” “Google tanked the rankings for nearly all search terms. Feels like the whole domain has been punished for some random reason. Unfortunately, it has not recovered rankings yet like StoneSolid’s did. Depressing.” As you can see, it doesn’t appear this update has been too volatile compared previous updates, but it definitely has had a noticeable effect. In the absence of actual advice from the big guy upstairs, AKA Google, there isn’t anything actionable you can do to offset the impact of this update, except continue to produce quality content and track any ranking fluctuations. So, in the meantime, sit tight and keep an eye on your rankings until things bounce back.

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.

July 2021 Core Update Completes 12-Day Launch

07/13/2021

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.

READ MORE OF OUR JULY 2021 CORE UPDATE COVERAGE

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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Google Uses MUM to Identify Vaccine Variations in Over 50 Languages In Seconds

07/08/2021

Nearly two months after announcing the Multitask Unified Model (MUM), Google began testing out its first application of the technology and is reporting some pretty impressive results. According to a blog post published on July 6, Google was able to identify more than 800 variations of vaccine names in over 50 languages in just seconds during its first-ever application of MUM. The blog post stated that without MUM, this would have taken the search engine weeks to complete.

After validating MUM’s findings, Google applied them to Search so that people could “find timely, high-quality information about COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.”

“Our ability to correctly identify all these names is critical to bringing people the latest trustworthy information about the vaccine,”said Google. “But identifying the different ways people refer to the vaccines all over the world is hugely time-intensive, taking hundreds of human hours.”

READ MORE: Google Announces New MUM Technology 1,000 Times More Powerful Than BERT  

What is MUM and How Does It Work?

Announced back in May at Google I/O, MUM is a technology developed by Google that is built on a transformer architecture. It has been compared to the BERT algorithm that rolled out in 2019,  however, Google is reporting that MUM is 1,000 times more powerful and has incredible multitasking capabilities.

READ MORE: BERT Explained – Everything You Need to Know About Google’s Biggest Update in 5 Years

Google explained that MUM can learn from and transfer knowledge across 75+ languages.

Here is a great example provided by Google that demonstrates what this looks like:

“Imagine reading a book; if you’re multilingual, you’d be able to share the major takeaways of the book in the other languages you speak — depending on your fluency — because you have an understanding of the book that isn’t language- or translation-dependent. MUM transfers knowledge across languages much like this. Similarly, with its knowledge transfer abilities, MUM doesn’t have to learn a new capability or skill in every new language — it can transfer learnings across them, helping us quickly scale improvements even when there isn’t much training data to work with.”

This means that MUM requires far fewer data inputs than previous models to accomplish the same task.

While its first application focused on identifying vaccines, going forward, Google will be looking at ways to use MUM to dramatically improve Search as a whole.

“Our early testing indicates that not only will MUM be able to improve many aspects of our existing systems, but will also help us create completely new ways to search and explore information,” said Google.

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