On May 4, Google began rolling out a major update to its algorithm. They call it a "core" update because it's a major change in their algorithm, which means it affects many websites.
Just look at the picture above to get an idea of how big the update is. It comes from SEMrush Sensor, which monitors the movement of the results at Google.
Google displays the diagram daily. If it shows green or blue for the day, it means that there is not much movement. But when things turn red, it means that the leaderboards are volatile.
The real question now is, what happened to your traffic?
If you haven't done so already, you should review your leaderboard to see if it has risen or fallen. If you don't track your rankings, you can set up a project on Ubersuggest for free and track up to 25 keywords.
You should also log into your Google Analytics account and check what happens to your traffic.
Hopefully your traffic has increased. If not, don't panic. I have some information that will help you.
First, let's look at the sectors most affected.
Which industries were affected?
Here are the industries that have been affected.
As you can see, travel, real estate, health, pets and animals, and people and society saw the largest fluctuations in rankings.
Other industries were also affected … those at the bottom of the list were least affected, e.g. B. "News".
There was also a shift in local SEO results, but it started before the core update.
One big misunderstanding I hear from SEO newbies is that if you have a high level of domain authority or domain score, you will continue to get more traffic (if you are not sure what yours is, go here and type Your URL) and will not be affected by updates. That is wrong.
To give you an idea, here are some well-known websites whose rankings have dropped according to our index at Ubersuggest:
More importantly, we saw some trends on websites that were affected compared to websites that were not.
Update your content regularly
I publish 4 articles per month on this blog. I publish a new post pretty early every Tuesday like clockwork.
But do you know how often I update my old content?
Technically, I don't update my own content, but I have 3 employees who work for me. They just go through old blog posts and update them.
My team updates at least 90 articles every month. And when I say update, I'm not just talking about adjusting a sentence or adding an image. I'm talking about adding a handful of new paragraphs, deleting irrelevant information, and sometimes even rewriting entire articles.
They do everything to keep articles up to date and valuable to readers. Just like Wikipedia constantly updates its content.
Here is an interesting statistic for you: We know for sure that 641 websites that we track update old content every day.
Can you imagine how many of them saw search traffic drop by 10% or more?
Only 38! That is 5.92%, which is extremely low.
What is crazy, however, is that 187 websites saw their search traffic increase by 10% or more.
When calculating organic search traffic estimates, we take into account the average monthly volume of a keyword and clickthrough rates based on the ranking. Holidays like May 1st, which is Labor Day for most of the world, have not distorted the results.
To make things clearer, I'm not talking about producing new content daily or even weekly. These websites do what I do on NeilPatel.com … they keep updating their old content.
Again, there is no "rubric" to update your old content, as it varies depending on the article. However, the key is to do everything possible to keep them relevant to your readers and to ensure that they are better than the competition.
If you still need instructions on how to update old content, I will tell my team the following:
- If the content is no longer relevant to a reader, delete the page and redirect it to the most relevant URL on the website or refresh it to make it relevant.
- Are there ways to make the content more actionable and useful? Would adding infographics, step-by-step instructions, or videos to the article make it more useful? If so, add them.
- Check for dead links and fix them. Dead links lead to a bad user experience.
- If the article is a translated article (I have a large global audience), make sure that the images and videos make sense for anyone reading the content in that language.
- Look at the 5 main terms that each article represents, and then google these terms. What are the top 10 sites doing really well that we don't?
- Can you make the article easier? Remove fluff and avoid complex words that very few people can understand.
- Does the article discuss a specific year or time frame? If possible, make the item evergreen by avoiding the use of dates or specific time ranges.
- If the article covers a specific problem, make sure you check out Quora before updating the article. Check out the popular Quora answers as you get an idea of what people are ideally looking for.
- Is this article a duplicate? Not from the wording perspective, but treat pretty much the same concept as another article on your website. In this case, you should merge them and redirect one URL to another.
Correct your thin content
Here's another interesting statistic for you. On average, Ubersuggest crawls 71 websites per minute. And when I mean crawling, users enter URLs to search for SEO errors.
One bug our system considers is thin content (pages with few words).
On average, 46% of the websites we analyzed have at least one page with little content. Can you imagine how many of these websites were affected by the latest algorithm update?
We do not have enough data on all URLs because most of these websites have very little to no search traffic, because they are either new websites or not much SEO.
However, when we look at the last 400 sites in our system that were flagged with thin content warnings for pages other than their contact page, through a page or homepage, and had at least 1,000 visitors per month from Google, they saw a massive shift in rankings.
127 of the websites saw a decrease in search traffic of at least 10%, while 41 saw a rise in search traffic of at least 10%.
Thin-content websites were about three times more likely to be adversely affected than positive ones. Of course, little or nothing has changed on most thin-content websites, but it has dropped by a whopping 31.75%.
If you don't know if you have thin content, enter your URL here.
You'll see a report that looks something like this:
I want you to click the "Critical Errors" field.
You will now see a report that looks like this:
Check for low word errors. If this is the case, click on the number and you will be taken to a page that shows all pages with a small number of words.
You can't fix all the problems because some pages like your contact page or category pages may not take thousands of words.
In other cases, you can get a website visitor to the point in a few hundred words or even through pictures. An example would be if you have an article on how to tie a tie you may not have too many words as it is easier to show people how to do it using a video or series of images.
But for the pages that should be more detailed, you should correct them. Here are the three main questions to consider when correcting pages with thin content:
- Do you really need to add more words? – If you can convey the message in a few hundred words or through pictures or videos, this may be enough. Do not add words if this is not needed. Instead, think about the user experience. People would rather have the answer to their question in a few seconds than wait for minutes.
- How is your site compared to the competition? – Look at similar pages that rank on page 1. Do they have more content than you or less? This gives you an idea of whether you need to expand your page, especially if everyone on page 1 has at least a few thousand words on their page.
- Does it make any sense to keep the page? – If it offers little or no value to a reader and you cannot improve it by updating it, you should delete it and redirect the URL to another similar page on your website.
Fix your SEO mistakes
Another interesting finding we found when searching our Ubersuggest data is that websites with more SEO errors were badly affected.
This does not mean that you cannot rank in the case of a large number of SEO errors or that you will be hit by an algorithm update.
More than that, it was a kind of bug that hurt websites more than others. They were websites with duplicate title tags and meta descriptions.
It should be noted that many websites have duplicate meta tags. However, if a large portion of your pages contain duplicate meta tags, problems usually arise.
That's why we unearthed websites with duplicate meta and title tags for 20% or more of their pages.
Most of these websites generally didn't have a lot of traffic, but for the 363 that we were able to unearth that generated at least 1,000 visits per month from Google, 151 saw a decrease in traffic of at least 10%.
89 of them also saw a 10% or more increase in traffic, but 41.59% of websites with double meta tags saw a huge decrease. If you have duplicate meta tags, you should get this update.
To check this, re-enter your URL here. This report is reloaded:
Then click the critical errors again. You'll see a report that looks like this:
Look for errors that indicate a duplicate meta description or a title tag. When you see it, click on the number and you will be taken to a page where the duplicates are broken down.
Again, your website doesn't have to be perfect, and in some cases you'll find that you have duplicates that don't need to be fixed, e.g. B. Category pages with pagination.
In most cases, however, you should correct and avoid duplicate meta descriptions and title tags.
Even if you do everything I discussed above, there is no guarantee that you will be affected by an algorithm update. Each one is different and Google's goal is to create the best experience for searchers.
If you look at the issues above, you will find that fixing these issues should result in a better user experience and that this should always be your goal.
It's not about winning on Google. SEO is about providing a better experience than your competition. If this is your main focus, in the long run you will find that algorithm updates do better than your competition.
How was your traffic during the last update? Did it go up or down or did it just stay flat?