Google Core Update: which can help with ranking losses
Some case studies suggest what webmasters can do to restore sunken rankings after a Google Core update.
The Google core update of March has led some websites ranking losses. Other sites, however, have benefited, including some that lost to the Augst last year’s Google core update.
Meanwhile, there are some findings about possible factors that could have played a role in the Google core updates. In summary, there seems to be a correlation with the Google Quality Guidelines, and in particular with EAT, where EAT stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.”
Google uses quality Guidelines as the basis for evaluating web pages as part of manual testing. The results of these tests do not directly affect the rankings but are used to optimize the algorithms. The quality guidelines give examples of good and bad quality.
EAT plays an important role in this: it is about expertise and knowledge, that is about being a relevant source of information as well as trustworthiness. Especially with so-called YMYL pages (“Your Money, Your Life”), i.e. websites on sensitive topics such as medicine, finance or law, EAT is particularly important for Google.
Google core update How some websites reversed the trend
Recent case studies show that there is indeed a correlation between EAT and ranking wins as well as ranking losses due to the current Google core update. A report on Search Engine Land exemplified the development of three different websites. In each case the measures were described, which had been implemented in the run-up to the last Google core update of 12 March. There is no causal relationship between these measures and the ranking process. However, considering the changes made against the background of the Google quality guidelines, a connection seems at least plausible.
The most important findings are summarized below:
No or bad reviews available: If there are no or overwhelmingly negative reviews on the web for a web site, it could negatively impact Google’s assessment of the web site. Efforts to revise the ratings and respond appropriately have paid off on the pages under review.
No reference links: Especially with scientific topics no theories should be published without a slip. This is especially true for websites with a medical background. Here should always be taken to substantiate allegations with reputable reference links.
Too little information about the authors: Even a highly competent author does not stand out on a website if there is too small information about him. A few sentences to the experience or even better a complete page with the previous publications can contribute to the fact that Google recognizes and appreciates the value of an author. Also, Google may use information about author publications posted on other sites, as well as pricing obtained from the review.
Minor changes, such as improving page speed, fixing mixed content issues, and downgrading some dubious links can also help improve rankings.
On e-commerce sites, it can be helpful to improve product pages: avoid simply taking over the lyrics of product manufacturers. It is better to formulate your texts and enrich them with additional information such as videos, FAQs and instructions.
Thin content should be reduced as much as possible. Only content that adds real value to users should be posted on a website.
And finally: Relevant links are important! Google rates the relevance of a website not only by the number of backlinks but also by their quality. And, if the links from websites that Google considers relevant to a topic, then the backlinks that come from those sites will make Google consider the linked sites more relevant.
A case study shows the importance of quality content
How much it depends on content quality, shows the look at a website that has been optimized by the author of this post and is still optimized. In the initial situation, the website consisted of many pieces of information written by a text agency. There were about a dozen texts, all of which were without any substantial information added value. One had the feeling that the texts had only been written to fill the page with content.
An example: For the product, which represents the subject of the website, there was a contribution to the topic “buy online.” But those who expected the option to buy the product online were seriously disappointed. There were only general descriptions for online shopping and not even links to matching shops.
Also, there were hundreds of city pages with automatically generated content on the website, so a lot of thin content. No wonder then that Google punished the website with the Google core update from August.
To improve the situation, a double strategy was chosen: The city pages were set to “noindex”, the information pages are gradually filled with well-researched content, which provides the site visitors with real added value.
It paid off what you can see in the volume of impressions and clicks from Google Search Console. Since the 12th of March things are going uphill again:
The described examples show that Google is placing more and more emphasis on the quality of content and EAT. This applies in particular to websites in the sensitive YMYL area.
Webmasters of sites that have lost in one of the Google core updates should read the Google Quality Guidelines closely. It contains valuable information on what Google understands by quality.
In particular, the expertise of the authors of a website should be underlined. Also, references to reputable sources should be used to substantiate allegations and theories.
All this makes work. Unfortunately, with small adjustments here and there you will not be able to achieve lasting success.