What the heck is going on?
On Tuesday, 24th September, Google announced via their Search Liason Twitter that a new broad core update was going to be rolling out in the next few hours. So plenty of notice as always.
Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the September 2019 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see this blog for more about that: https://t.co/e5ZQUAlt0G— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) September 24, 2019
What is the update about?
Within the tweet they also point to the update guidelines they posted back in August. Which suggests to me this update will be covering much of the same material. You can find those guidelines here:
They specifically recommend getting up to date on E-A-T which is something we have covered extensively as well as reading the quality raters guidelines, which you can find here.
It's also worth noting that Google just last week issued guidance tightening up the usage of review schema, especially relating to sites which were abusing it using self referential reviews. However we can see that shortly after this was issued and before the update was announced the number of reviews in the results noticeably declined.
SERP volatility, which is a good indicator of how big an update is, has remained low until today. Here we can see that as of the 25th it's begun to climb. It might not get above this level, but I would expect for a core update there to be a greater level of volatility than we have seen previously this month.
Both graphs from RankRanger.com
Will I be affected and how to recover?
The best advice is to keep a close eye on your rankings and watch for any big drops or rises. The content and type of site that is affected will be the best indicator of what this update is focused on. There isn't a great deal of information at the moment, which makes sense if the rankings have only today started to really fluctuate.
If you do see changes, please do comment on this post and let us and everyone else know. If you're negatively affected, the advice Google has linked to in this update is their August update advice. It is heavily focused on creating quality content so that's a good guess at this point at what might be your issue. Here's the steps they recommend you work through:
Content and quality questions
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
- If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
- Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
- Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
Presentation and production questions
- Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
- Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Please do let us know how you get on in the comments and good luck!