Google announced in a post on the Search Central Blog on 25th May that it had released a core algorithm update which would take 1-2 weeks to roll out. The last core update was released in November 2021, so there had been speculation in the SEO community that another update was due.
Data from RankRanger clearly shows the fluctuation in rankings with a big spike on the 26th:
Image source: RankRanger
Google releases core updates regularly to improve Search overall and keep up with the changing nature of the web. There aren’t any specific actions to take if your site has taken a hit, and in fact it may not signal anything is wrong with your site.
Here’s what Google said in the blog post:
“We confirm broad core updates because they typically produce some widely notable effects. Some sites may note drops or gains during them. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don't try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.
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. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.”
If your site is negatively impacted by a core update, it’s natural to want to get things back on track as quickly as possible. Google has issued guidance in the form of questions to consider if your site is hit following a core update.
Google also says you don’t have to wait for the next update for recovery. If you start to address issues immediately and continue working on things you could see “at least some incremental improvements” over time.
See also Google’s blog post on what site owners should know about Google’s core updates, and the Wordtracker beginner’s guide to Google penalties.