Two weeks ago Google rolled out what they’ve called the September 2019 Core Update. Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our search results. Although most of these changes aren’t noticeable, they are designed to help reward websites that are following their guidelines. However, several times throughout the year, the search engine giant decides to make significant changes to its algorithm. These are called core updates, the last to happen in June of this year. Similar to this change, Google had preannounced the update in order to help webmasters prepare for what was to come.
September 2019 Core Update: What Even Is It?
As this has been a core update, it means that there’s a chance you could have seen significant changes in rankings over the past few weeks. The aim of these updates is to improve how crawlers and agents assess your website, rewarding those that are producing high-quality content while having their technical elements on point too.
If you’re doing everything – and we mean everything – correctly, you may not notice much difference. However, even if you do see a slight drop, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing a bad job. What’s important to remember is that the update simply reassesses pages in comparison to others.
Google says: “There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall.”
What We’ve Seen Since the Change
From our analysis, we’ve seen that the September 2019 update has not been as strong as the one carried out earlier in the year. However, for those that have been affected, it appears that this is largely associated with links – with relevancy playing a huge part in any changes. For example, if you have links on an external page that also features links of websites that have little relevance to you, it’s likely that the value of these links has decreased.
As well as this, we’ve seen that overall domain authorities have taken a hit because of this too. What’s interesting though is that page authority has seen an uplift. What we mean here is that although the domain itself may have a relatively light backlink profile, the website has a handful of really high-quality links pointing to certain pages and it’s these pages that are now starting to rank.
How to Know If Your Website Has Been Affected
One way to see whether or not your website has been affected by the September 2019 Core Update is to check your rankings. You should have some sort of tracking system in place and you should not – and we can’t stress this enough – be searching for your own estate agency in Google. Though you may want to quickly see what page you’re sitting on, have you considered the negative implications this could have on your search results?
Say that you Google your own website and then don’t click on the link, or you turn to a competitor or you do click the link but bounce right off again. What you’re basically doing is telling Google that your own page isn’t relevant to the search you just carried out, moving it lower down in the rankings. You’re essentially telling the search engine that your website is not providing suitable information based on the keyword or phrase entered into the search bar, ultimately suggesting that you should not be appearing among the results.
Anyway, let’s back to how you can track your keywords without potentially harming your website. There are several platforms out there that allow you to input the main terms you want to target, such as SEMrush, Ahrefs Tracking Tool, Moz Rank Checker and Accuranker.
If you’re not using anything like this at present, Google Search Console can also provide insights into the overall performance of your website.
What to Do If You’ve Seen a Drop in Rankings
As we said previously, the core update doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. One way we say you should think about it is with music. The number 1 album for this week isn’t the same as the number 1 album 6 months ago. Each day, new music is being produced and released, so the charts are naturally going to change over time. New and popular music which never existed 6 months ago is now dominating the charts – and the same rule applies to new content published on websites.
What Google may also do with these updates is reward websites that may have not got the recognition they deserved in the past. Rankings constantly change and new content is submitted and old pages and articles are reassessed.
If you have noticed your website drop down in SERP’s, we recommend carrying out an audit of your entire website – taking into consideration content and technical elements. If there are improvements to be made, make them as soon as possible. This could be changes to the keywords you’re targetting or revamping old content.
Self-assessing your website can be difficult, but there are a few things you should be looking out for.
- Is the content on your website well written, up to date and original?
- Is your website a good source of information?
- If you were a user, would you trust what is on your website?
- Are there any errors on the page?
- Is your website reliable?
Keeping on top of your content and ensuring that you maintain a high standard is one way to make sure that Google rewards you for your efforts.