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Google’s first broad core update since September 2022 ran from 15-28 March, completing in just under two weeks.
There have been conflicting reports on the extent of the volatility but it seems to have had a fairly big impact. Search Engine Land analysed reports from RankRanger and Semrush who provide ranking data, while Sistrix examined some of the the winners and losers.
Core updates are critical for businesses and entities with a web presence, as they can have an impact on performance in the search engine results. So, it’s always worth paying attention when these happen, and checking your rankings after the dust has settled.
Site owners who have suffered a drop in rankings are understandably keen to understand why, and how they can fix it. However, there is often nothing to be fixed, it’s just a question of other sites doing better and being rewarded in the SERPs.
Google’s blog post on Search Central tries to demystify and explain the process.
“One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2021. A few years later in 2024, you refresh the list. It's going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.
The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren't bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.”
In other words, the list changes because of new entrants and improvements made by, or reassessments, of existing sites. It's not necessarily because your site has done anything wrong.
However, if your site has fallen behind it makes sense to analyse your content to see where you may be able to make improvements, or where you may have fallen behind in keeping up with and implementing new guidance.
Focusing on providing the best content you can. Check out Google’s help page on creating quality, people-first content. This has a list of questions you can ask yourself as you assess your own content.
Consider an audit of your drops. Look at which pages were most impacted and for what kinds of searches, and examine these against the list of questions above. Are there other pages doing a better job, and if so why? You can also ask a reliable third party to carry out an assessment of your site.