Google has confirmed that its most recent core update began rolling out July 1. These core updates typically take two weeks to complete, and during that time, some sites may see fluctuations in their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) rankings. What does this mean for enterprise organizations?
In this article, you’ll learn about core updates, what you can expect from the July 2021 Core Update, and how to stay on top of search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.
What is a Core Google Search Update?
Several times a year, Google makes significant, broad changes to its search algorithms and systems. As Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Google Search, says:
“Periodically, we make more substantial improvements to our overall ranking processes. We refer to these as core updates, and they can produce some noticeable changes — though typically these are more often noticed by people actively running websites or performing search engine optimization (SEO) than ordinary users.”
These changes are designed to improve Google’s ability to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. However, some sites may note drops or gains after an update.
Google announces core updates when they feel there is actionable information that site owners, content producers, or others might take. The most important action site owners can take to protect and grow rankings is to ensure good quality content in terms of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
For more info about core updates and how to judge your site’s content, read this blog post on Google Search Central.
When Was the Last Google Core Update?
The last core update took place in June 2021. But actually, this July update is technically the second part of the June update. While it’s possible that a very small segment of websites may see changes in June that reverse in July, the majority of sites won’t notice either of these updates.
However, both these core updates are happening concurrently with the page experience update. Over the next 3-4 months, it is important for site owners to watch their local marketing performance closely and focus on Core Web Vitals.
Google has provided tips for keeping sites ranking high in SERPs after these updates. These include ensuring sites are mobile-friendly, avoiding keyword stuffing in page titles, maintaining fast page load speed, using alt-tags for images, and keeping sitemaps and local listings up to date.
To learn more about the last update, read our blog post, Google’s June 2021 Core Update: What This Means for Enterprise Brands.
What Can You Expect of This Core Update?
As the July update is coming into effect, a number of site owners have noted fluctuations in SERP rankings. Here are some of their observations from a Search Engine Roundtable blog post.
- “Lost positions on a lot of keywords. But like previous times, hoping to recover them back as the initial dust settles down. Too early to comment right now.”
- “I was hit during the June core update with -20%. At 11:00 AM PST today my traffic is back to pre-June level. I hope whatever it is, my recovery sticks.”
- “I saw a recovery from a previous core update in June’s update. And I’m seeing another boost in rankings now with the July core update.”
How to Prepare for Google Algorithm Updates
Core updates reveal the importance of maintaining SEO best practices for local pages. Here are some tips to keep your sites performing well this month.
- Localize as much as possible. Write custom title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags with hyperlocal information for each local landing page. Localize on-page content with location-relevant information and photos and videos. Use descriptive, localized image alt tags.
- Make sure your code is working well for you. Double-check “rel=canonical” tags to ensure your preferred page sources are correct. Make sure you are using “hreflang” tags for multilingual pages. This is especially important for global and multi-location brands.
- Is your site mobile-friendly? Keep it optimized and easy to get around with navigational breadcrumb links that target non-branded keyword phrases.
- Keep your Google My Business (GMB) up to date. Add your local page URL to your GMB listing, fix any incorrect primary business categories, and add any relevant categories. In a similar vein, reporting duplicate or spam business listings on Google Maps will help your SEO.
Want to learn more? Read “10 Quick Fixes for Local SEO for Enterprise Brands” and “How to Use Organic SEO to Rank in Google’s Local 3-Pack.”
Have questions about Google’s July 2021 Core Update? Get in touch with your Account Director to learn how to tune up your SEO best practices so you’re ready for future Google core updates.