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Google’s ‘core updates’ – what they are and what you need to know.


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First off – what is a ‘core update’ and how does that affect you as a business owner with a website?

As we all know, Google makes almost non-stop changes to their algorithm – every day they make at least one change to update and improve their search results. Those guys must drink much more coffee than the rest of us!

Most of the time though, they are just little tweaks that don’t really affect things, but sometimes they release an update that website developers and owners need to take action on to make sure their websites can continue performing well – or even better.

When they make a big change like that to their algorithm and systems, it’s called a ‘core update’. You might remember the ‘Speed Update’ in 2018? They actually announced that months in advance to give all us website types a chance to prepare, and provided advice so we could hit the ground running when it was implemented.

Should we be worried?

Core updates do have a bigger impact, often making sites drop or even gain, once they come into effect. But, if you hear an announcement about a core update, don’t panic – you might not always need to implement huge changes. Even if you do notice a drop, it doesn’t mean there is something intrinsically wrong with your pages.

Let us explain…

There’s nothing in a core update that ‘targets’ specific pages or sites – the whole point of the update is to improve how Google’s systems assess content in general.

Your page might meet all the guidelines, but it is not performing as well as it did before the update. This might just mean that the update has

allowed Google to assess OTHER pages better, and now realises that they were the better page all along – so they push it up the ranks.

The good news? This might sometimes work in your favour, as it could have been one of your pages that was deserving… then Google implements a

core update and voila – it finally gets the credit it deserves.

What can you do if your pages do stop performing?

The key thing Google tells us to do is to ‘focus on content’.

Their algorithms will always reward top-quality content, so if you want to improve your page’s ranking – make content your focus.

Grab a coffee and take a minute to review your content.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do your headlines give a good indication of what your content is about?
  • Do your pages contain original, insightful information?
  • Do they contain comprehensive information on the topic?
  • Would you consider it valuable or interesting enough to share with someone yourself?
  • Does your content provide authentic/expert information?
  • Is it backed up by credible authors, references, sources?
  • Is it free of typos and grammatical errors?
  • Does it read like care has been taken in preparing it?
  • Can you read/view it well on mobile?

Google wants to make sure its search results are always valuable for its searchers – so if your content ticks that box, your pages should perform well.

No core (or any) update will be perfect. But, as Google continues to learn and update, you will always have a chance to improve your page ranking – no update is final!

If you are worried about the impact of a core update on your website, or you want to improve your ranking or content, contact our team for a chat!

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