Google’s next core search update is called “Comet” or “Google Fred”. It launched on July 24th, 2021 and will impact 15% of all search queries. In this article, I’ll be explaining what the update is likely to be about, how it will affect your rankings and why you should start taking action now.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Later today, we are releasing a broad core update, as we do several times per year. It is called the June 2021 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates is here:<a href="https://t.co/e5ZQUA3RC6">https://t.co/e5ZQUA3RC6</a><br><br>This will be followed by the July 2021 Core update. Here’s more information about that…</p>— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) <a href="https://twitter.com/searchliaison/status/1400135428909371398?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 2, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
1. What is the July 2021 Core Update?
The July 2021 Core Update is a change to the Google algorithm that was announced on November 24, 2018. Google said this update is designed to improve the user experience by decreasing the number of low-quality pages in search results. The update will target sites that violate Google’s content policies and will be rolled out over a period of months.
Up until now, I believed this was a test, but it is now official.
May it please the Mozzers-
First off, we probably all consider ourselves “cognoscenti”. Being cognoscenti means that we have a general grasp of a given subject. We may have a fairly good understanding of Google’s history, but finding a way to decipher Google’s intentions when they share information about changing their algorithm is something else entirely. The way we analyze change, and the goals we have for our organizations are always going to be different from traditional marketing. Nonetheless, if you have never considered yourself cognoscenti in the search space, it’s probably best to take a step back from traditional SEO practice and ease into the mindset of Google’s core algorithm.
Content relevance is a loose concept that does not necessarily have a singular definition. To most marketers, one way of defining content relevance is by the formula P(A, B, C). All content is relevant if it answers an A, B, or C.
What’s in the Update?
As has been widely reported, Google will be updating their algorithm to target fewer low-quality, spammy web pages. It will be a standard update with a large impact, and an update that many SEOs have been predicting for some time. We know that content quality remains a major problem in today’s search results, so it makes sense that Google would want to make this a priority update.
In detail, Google will be continuing to add new Spam Score thresholds to their algorithms so as to determine whether a web page is potentially spammy or not.
2. How will it affect SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and refers to the process of optimising your website to rank well organically in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. SEO is hugely important for any business. Not only does it help you to reach a wider audience, but it’s also an important part of online marketing.
As a consequence of all this good stuff, Google, in their infinite wisdom, decided to push SEO down the priority list at the last possible second. “Pardon me”, they said, “but we don’t have time for L-A-Z, and it’s only going to be right for you if you start now… So, go have fun with your elective L-A-Z… while we figure out how to respond to an algorithm update.”
Unfortunately, for many (not all) businesses SEO is a really hard business to keep up with. If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to SEO in such an out-of-the-way time, I would strongly recommend you get started.
Good news, if time is on your side, and you still want to increase traffic to your website or web-based business. Here’s a list of things you can do to raise your visibility on search engines:
- Develop on-site content (including technical articles!) to use your on-page optimisation techniques.
- Host guest posts on relevant websites.
- Upgrade your on-site and off-site SEO.
- Sell products.
- Post Podcast/watch videos.
- Build local links to your website.
By doing any of these things, you are filling a gap with your on-site content that Google continues to close.
3. Will rankings be affected?
A lot of the time, your rankings will stay the same or improve. If you don’t have any external links pointing to your site, your rankings will improve because you’re not relying on other sites to rank well. If you have a lot of links pointing to your site, then you may see a small drop in rankings. Google is a search engine. So it uses the same signals to determine what websites will rank highly. But the signals it uses are based on your content, the reputation of your site, and where your customers are coming from. Google’s algorithms treat each website separately.
“As we rank more pages with respect to the relevancy hierarchy and derive a ranking, we will continue to group similar and relevant pages together in different combinations as needed and adjust the rankings based on the combination of pages. Page rank is a unique number assigned to each page that reflects the strength of content on it’s pages and how the context of pages influences the popular rank.” (Albert Solomons, Senior Director, Web Indexing & Solutions at Google)
Google changes what website it ranks your website for based on a number of factors: Duration of time a page has been live, links it may have to other pages on the internet, versions of the site it may have and many more. The length of time these factors are taking to the surface will affect your rankings.
“Even with short duration pages, the time it takes for pages to be indexed can affect a website’s position in the search results — indexing speed has a significant impact on rankings and is especially critical for sites with a large number of external links pointing to them.” (Albert Solomons, Senior Director, Web Indexing & Solutions at Google)
This means a page might have high authority for a brief period of time, but eventually, it’ll be ranked fairly low because it might have poor links out. Invest in improving your links to improve your rankings and improve staying power for your website.
4. What steps should I take to prepare for the update?
The first step is to be fully aware of what the update is going to entail and how it’s going to affect your business. Both you and your staff should be fully aware of the changes and how these changes are going to impact your business. In some cases, you may already be operating under ‘fallen V’ which means that your website has been influenced negatively by Google’s algorithms and you need to fix this and earn back your position.
Let’s outline what’s likely to happen to your business:
Before we get into the details of what this update means for businesses, let’s consider how we identify and respond to bad content online.
Bad content online has made it into the mainstream in major search results via celebrities and politician pages. Search engines like Google are actively driven to show us as much of this as possible so that we spend more time on the platform.
To wrap this up: bad content online is impacting your SEO and may even put your website at risk.
What exactly constitutes as bad or spammy content and how do you identify and report it?
Below is a piece of advice: if it’s on the internet, tell Google. If you’re unsure of how to report spammy content, think about it from the perspective of a manager or employee of a company. Does this website appear legitimate to you? (Specifically what can Google possibly find about their business there?). Do they have a history of valid content? If not, don’t get them on your website.
There’s plenty more of us than you. 32% of all searches in the UK are performed via mobile and if you’re not investing in mobile optimisation to optimise your online presence then you are at risk of being pushed toward lower quality search results and losing out big time.
Spam can only be defeated by human intervention.