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  • Marc Primo Warren

Reviewing the Impact of Google’s Latest SEO Core Update

This is an article “Reviewing the Impact of Google’s Latest SEO Core Update” by Marc Primo Warren

The second part of Google’s July 2021 core update has finally been rolled out consisting of more improvements that complement the first half’s release. However, some site managers might have been affected by the update considering that the full rollout can be quite confusing in terms of content changes. Previous updates have already caused slight drops in rankings among some users and though it has been more than a month, new search engine optimization (SEO) adjustments are yet to fully manifest any concrete improvements for everyone.

At any rate, the recent core update seems to produce excellent optimization for those who apply their best SEO practices. There have been reports of improved rankings for sites that align their on-page and off-page SEO with little to no reliance on low-quality links. Due to this, well-performing sites enjoy steady rankings on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).

What is the core update about?

Google’s “broad core update” last July affects global websites with the objective of allowing Google to better assess content and decide which pages best satisfy every specific user query. Another goal that the update intends to achieve is rewarding previously under-ranked pages by boosting them. Of course, when that happens, a couple of pages will rise while a few others might drop.

What’s new about the first part of the core update based on algorithm trackers are some fluctuations and drastic drops in the SERPs for site owners who previously enjoyed better visibility and traffic. Google continues to prioritize those who practice good SEO in its Display Network. Sites that are established as industry authorities or are well-organized and easily accessible gain the algorithm’s favor and rank higher. The problem is that some are having problems or are rejected even though they strictly follow Google’s guidelines.

After learning so much from Google updates such as Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird in previous years, new updates like the one in July make it more difficult for SEO marketers to work around their low-quality content, spam, and readability. Many are wondering if they did something wrong when in fact, the main reason for a sudden drop in organic ranking is that another site is actually better based on Google’s algorithms. Some sites may focus on their offers and transactional experiences with little information on user queries. That means when the algorithm shifts to pages that more effectively answer the users’ queries, then fluctuations in rankings will inevitably follow.

The effects of the Google core update

The scheduled rollout for the global update was slated on July 1st to the 12th and was not specific to any website region, language, or category. Based on SEO trackers, the algorithm changes were initially felt as early as July 2 with significant website ranking fluctuations that were also observed on the 9th and 12th.

One thing that’s evident since the updates have been rolled out is the increase in spam on SERPs, while low-quality sites have improved their rankings making some SEO experts question the updates’ results. There are also instances of lesser country code top-level domain (ccTLD) crowding in search results. Some sites that were fairly visible in SERPs suddenly took a dive as similar domains were ranking repeatedly in the search results.

Right now, many are assuming that there are more confusing effects from the algorithm changes than favorable ones. Before you make a site update based on these changes, you might want to standby for follow up core updates from Google, particularly the Page Experience which might make everything else clearer.

For those who felt a huge impact from the updates, Google recommends reviewing their FAQs as SEO marketers wait for an upcoming recovery period after the rollout. If your site was negatively affected, all you have to do is wait for the algorithms’ data and signals to eventually stabilize instead of the traditional full recovery brought about by newer updates. Continue working on your SEO as how you’ve been performing them and as they say, let the algorithms’ do all the work. Over time, both your search engine rankings and site performance will significantly improve if you continue performing best SEO practices.

Is there a quick fix for the update?

Like what Google prescribed, affected websites should just wait around until the latest core update has been established and its algorithms have learned how to rank sites more efficiently. Sudden changes in your site’s rank may just be a result of how other websites are experiencing major organic ranking positions in SERPs due to the new algorithm. When this happens to your site, there’s no need to panic just yet.

Core updates usually stabilize after two weeks of the rollout. Expect Google’s engineers to perform tweaks and reversals as they continue to observe the updates’ performance. Applying major and abrupt changes to your SEO might just cause more harm than good. What you can do is constantly monitor how the updates affect your site’s rankings and organic traffic until the update settles across Google’s data centers. While you’re at it, observe competing websites and their rankings as well and make comparative reviews. Are there certain patterns or changes that affect either increase or decrease in SERP positions?

Another disruptor worth taking a look at is how the pandemic has affected search queries and user behavior. Since the May 2020 update, Google has been reviewing what people expect to see on their search results, eventually leading them to release two more updates in December and June before the big one in July. As it turns out, content relevancy mattered more during global lockdowns and shelter-in-place periods which shuffled search rankings in a big way. For the most recent update, it’s quite expected that websites that anchor on travel, tourism, and entertainment, or those that are about industries adversely affected by COVID-19, became volatile and lagged farther behind.

However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to solely concentrate on content relevancy. Google will still review specific site tactics such as speed, design, and mobile adoption among others. Considering the broad core update of July, you might want to refresh your overall SEO strategy without making any major changes. As long as you think you can offer relevant and industry-oriented content on your website, search engines will continue to reward your efforts and make you more visible to the right people.

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