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What Happened To Your Rankings? Google! Largest Local Algorithm Update In 5 Years Now Fully Rolled Out

author image Written by: Rabije Gashi Corluka           Categories - In The News, SEO

Google’s biggest update in the last five years is creating a big commotion among the SEO community. Businesses with keyword-rich names are seeing big drops in their SERPs, making the whole situation kind of confusing. Google began with the update on November 30th and it is now fully rolled out.

“It involved a rebalancing of various factors we consider in generating local search results.” – Google said on Twitter. Judging by the tweets, Google didn’t expect the update to have such a big impact on businesses, which is why we weren’t notified before its launching.

What is going on?

The update, now called Vicinity – might have something to do with proximity and also be in tune with Google moving the local pack results higher and the map to the right. According to Mike Blumenthal, the new shape of the map (now it’s a square) could be making Google’s viewpoint different. In other words, Google might be focusing on new things now because of the shape and size of the map. Along with this change, the update also came with “inflation” in the world of keywords – it looks like the more is not the merrier anymore, judging by the fact that ranking numbers of keyword-rich businesses are plunging.

Sterlingsky.ca showed us the update’s impact in numbers. In some cases, the update fixed a few illogicalities among businesses. For example, a law company focusing on dog bites losing all one-boxes for dog bite terms seems rational since it is most likely not the only law company handling dog bites. But, a law company with a keyword-rich name losing 75% of its rankings while another one with no keywords going from 1 to 132 is a bit strange.

The takeaway? It looks like it doesn’t matter if the name of your business has a bunch of keywords, or if your website content is specific to your industry – you might still be facing a decrease in rankings.

Rabije Gashi Corluka

Rabije always enjoyed finding different angles to a story, so it’s not surprising her curiosity influenced a move to a new continent, widening her perspective. She enjoys hearing people's stories and learning about different cultures and places - but most of all, she loves putting her thoughts on a piece of paper. Her love for writing led to her studying Journalism and PR, but she actually became a storyteller during her radio-hosting era. Now, she uses her skills, experience, and love for writing to help your brand stand out.

Google Helpful Content Update Still Rolling Out

08/30/2022

Update from the future: Two weeks after it started rolling out, the Helpful Content Update is still not showing big ranking changes. Danny Sullivan said the update might get stronger with the next core update. Read more about that here.

More than a week ago, Google announced its biggest drop of the decade – an algorithm update so important no one was ready for. Glenn Gabe shared about this on Twitter, and Barry Schwartz reported on this on Search Engine Land.

Google Helpful Content update is now rolling out and should almost be over.

But, you never know with Google. Just because the update should be rolled out and done in cca two weeks,  the impacts of it and fluctuations can be seen weeks after.

It’s always a good idea to monitor your Google visibility, traffic and ranking and act accordingly. But, sometimes, especially while the updates are in the process of rolling out, it’s better to wait.

What Is Google Helpful Content update?

A sitewide signal that targets websites with high amounts of low-quality content. When I say low quality, I mean not helpful content. What Google means by the same term is: content written for search engines instead of humans.

So, if your content was not directed to humans first and is not helpful to them, but you hit all the right points for Google to rank it well, this update will probably make your website plummet.

The rollout of this update started on August 25th and Google will let us know when it’s finished rolling out.

What If your Website Is affected by this update?

There is a list of questions you can ask yourself about the content on your website. Google shared that a while ago. Some of them are:

  • Do you have an audience that will find your content useful?
  • Does your content show first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • Will a person leave your website feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic you wrote about?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

Think about these questions. If you answered “yes” to them, chances are – you’re good. If not – you will likely be hit and it will take some time to recover. But, you still have to make changes to your content.

So Far, the Rollout Is Pretty Slow

Given that the update is pretty big and important, everyone thought the hit will be fast and brutal. But at the moment, everything seems kind of calm. For now, most of the chatter in the SEO community doesn’t seem concerning. Is this just the calm before the storm?

Update from the future: The Google Helpful Content Updatefinsihed rolling out on September 9th! Even though not a lot of people reported seeing major fluctuations, the update is still valuable and very important. Read more about it here and find out what to do if you were hit!

 

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Google Releases A New Product Reviews Update

07/29/2022

The fourth version of the product review update is currently in the process of rolling out. Google released a new search ranking algorithm update named – you guessed it – the July 2022 Product Reviews update, and announced the new version on Twitter:

As mentioned, this is not Google’s first rodeo when it comes to product review updates: the first one launched in April 2021, the second one in December 2021, and the last one launched in March 2022.

Read More: Another Search Ranking Update In The Making?

The Update

As usual, the main focus of the update is on reward content that is unique, creative, and factual instead of being a boring template. The better the product review – the higher the ranking. This of course doesn’t mean the “template” content will be sanctioned or punished whatsoever – think of it as a point-based rewards system. Google is just rewarding content that is better than the rest, as harsh as that might sound.

Read More: Customers Want To See Bad Reviews, Too!

What’s new about the update is that nothing is actually new. It seems like Google is now just making minor adjustments, unlike what they did in March when they were full-on inspecting every little thing.

It will take around two or three weeks for the update to fully roll out.  Since these updates can be big, don’t be surprised if you notice some volatility in ranking.

How To Not Be Negatively Impacted By This Google Update?

Follow Google’s list of best practices. Here are some of them:

  • Flex the expertise – offer expert knowledge about products
  • Show what’s the product like, how to use it, say something interesting about it, valuable information people can use
  • Let your readers know why this product is better than the competition’s one
  • Go in-depth and do research – what are your main selling points? What piece of information would convince your readers to buy the product?
Read More: Google Updates Its Rich Results Content Guidelines

Be original and creative, don’t just put in the specs – no one cares about those – at least not so bad to make the buy. You must offer value and a good reason your product deserves to be in their hands. Do your best, follow Google’s best practices and get a reward with each product review update. The devil really is in the details!

 

Update from the future: High volatility was noticed on August 6th, leading the SEO community to think about how the tremors have something to do with this update. Read more about it here

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