Google launches August broad core algorithm update

Over the past week, Google search rankings have experienced some fluctuations. The Google Search Liaison Twitter account was quick to announce that, since the start of the month, Google had been rolling out a “broad core algorithm update” for their search rankings, similar to the updates earlier this year in March and April.

Google’s algorithm updates – a refresher:

While Google releases minor algorithm updates almost every day, broad core updates are larger in scope and can significantly affect Google rankings. These normally occur on a limited basis – at most a few times a year – and can be very disruptive to those who work with Google rankings since a site could completely drop off the first page of search results, for example.

What do we know about the August algorithm update?

First and foremost, as of Monday, Aug. 6 the update is still rolling out, meaning that rankings are still somewhat volatile. According to Google’s Search Liaison on Twitter, Danny Sullivan, this process is expected to continue until Wednesday Aug. 8, when the rankings will settle down to their new placements.

Sullivan also confirmed on Twitter that the update is global. Based on the longer timeframe and scope of this update, Google seems to be making an attempt to significantly improve the quality of search results they are providing, aiming to promote sites unvalued by the previous algorithm. Given that none of the previous updates this year lasted longer than a week, it’s likely that the end result of this update will be much harder to predict than before. In terms of changes to rankings, we may see sites skyrocketing up the rankings that were previously unheard of in page-one search result circles.

What can be done to mitigate the effects of the algorithm update?

Whenever these updates take place, many people will take to social media sharing their worries about their site dropping in the rankings and asking how they can mitigate this result. In short, Google’s message to webmasters has been that there’s nothing specifically they can or should do in response to the algorithm update.

In terms of advice, all Google has said is that website owners should continue to improve their overall website and provide higher-quality content and experiences for users, in the hope of rising in ranking over time. Simple advice, yet deceptively important – should your site significantly fall in placement over time, it’s likely a warning that you have many pages containing low-quality content and need to conduct a site audit.

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6 August 2018

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