After an unusually long wait, Google’s highly-anticipated summer algorithm update is well underway. The two-part algorithm revamping began at the beginning of June, while the second round of updates is set for early July. This update is not to be confused with Google’s coinciding Page Experience Update.
The results of the first round of updates have been incredibly varied, with some domains seeing plunges in visibility and others seeing unexpected spikes. Either way, it may be too early to start counting gains and losses, as more updates are on the way.
Find out how the change might affect your website and its SEO content below.
What’s Changing in the Google Algorithm Update This Summer?
This round of updates signifies a core update. Core updates differ from general updates, as they do not target a specific language or region, nor do they target specific websites or types of content. Rather, a core update targets Google’s overall ranking algorithm and how the engine generates search results, meaning some websites are seeing fluctuations in their SEO content’s visibility.
The summer core update comes nearly six months after Google’s last core update in December 2020, an unusually long period for Google. The two-part format is also new for the search engine giant. Google explained that they went with a two-part release as some components were still being developed when the first round of updates went into effect.
While drops and gains in content visibility are typical of any core update, according to Google, most websites are unlikely to notice the change, as nothing in the update is site-specific. However, certain domains have reported changes in their content’s volatility.
How Could the Two-Part Change Affect My Website’s Ranking?
According to Semrush, the update was felt most heavily on June 4th and 5th. Semrush also reported that the top five content categories that saw the most significant change were health, automotive, animals, science, and travel. Other data suggests that websites with thin content and what Google calls YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content, which offers advice on topics such as finance and education, took a hit in this round of updates.
Some users also noticed that the update has impacted fewer domains than previous core updates. This may be because half of the update is yet to come. However, some webmasters have suggested that Google may be using different technology or new methodologies in their new algorithm.
According to data from Sistrix, the top 10 domains that lost significant visibility include stocktwits.com, smartertravel.com, mentalToss.com, vanityfair.com, ducksters.com, nationsonline.org, lifehacker.com, moneyunder30.com, collider.com, and huffpost.com.
Some of the winners include imdb.com, cambridge.org, amazon.com, wikipedia.org, collinsdictionary.com, amazon.co.uk, dictionary.com, merriamwebster.com, spotify.com, and twitter.com.
In addition, the change seems to be boosting older content. Analysis suggests Google has removed or diminished components from past core updates, including significant changes to the November 2019 core update.
It’s possible that the new update has put greater focus on traditional SEO factors, as well as domain and backlinks. This is the likeliest explanation as to why older pages seem to have received a boost. These changes are so unprecedented that some website operators are puzzled by the boost in their site’s visibility.
What Happens if My Website is Negatively Impacted?
While a negative impact due to the update may be unwelcome, it does not necessarily signal a problem with your website. However, Google has offered up tips to help negatively impacted websites recover. While there are no single actions that can be taken to reverse the effects of a core update, Google has offered a list of questions you might need to ask yourself in order to bounce back.
What Comes Next?
The general consensus is that the effects of the June update are unlikely to be fully permanent. Google itself has stated that some of the June updates may be reversed as part of the July rollout. Websites that saw improvements may yet see adverse effects during the second part of the rollout.
It’s still too soon to tell exactly how the July update will play out, as the full effects of a core change typically aren’t felt until at least two weeks later. Hold off on reveling in any gains your website made during the initial update, as they may not last long. Conversely, if you experienced a loss in visibility during the core update, remember that the next update may bring some welcome changes.
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