There's a lot of advice out there on how to recover from and even prevent your site from being hurt by one of Google's core updates. Some of the advice is pretty good... some of it is a bit cliche. So let's go down the rabbit hole a bit by analyzing the data on the core updates, some site-level patterns that the updates have produced, and what you might want to consider for your site as a result.
Here's a data-packed (yet holistic) look at what you can do to prevent ranking and traffic losses at the hands of a core update.
So you've won a Featured Snippet... let the traffic flow, right? Not so fast there! What other SERP features are showing alongside your Featured Snippet? What other features are competing for a user's attention? What SERP features most commonly appear with Featured Snippets? How strong is a Featured Snippet win... really?!
You've got questions... we've got data...
Is rank more volatile in 2020 than it was before the latest string of core updates arrived? Is the continued presence of both Google's confirmed and unconfirmed updates making rank stability harder and harder to come by? As machine learning progresses are we seeing more and more rank volatility? Has August 2018's Medic update put us on a new path of increased rank fluctuations?
Let's find out!
It did not take long for Google to release its first confirmed core algorithm update of 2020. Just two weeks into the new year, Google announced the release of what it has called the January 2020 Core Update. Right from the get-go, all signs pointed to this update being on the larger and more impactful side. Here is a look at the update's overall impact on rank stability, a per niche rank volatility analysis, and a comparison in scope and size to a recent unconfirmed update.
In other words.... How big was the January 2020 Core Update and who did it impact the most?
The best part of my job is the ability to spend time pondering, analyzing, and researching anything and everything within the world of Search. It's in these moments where I feel I'm making a difference by helping advance the SEO conversation. With this sentimentality, let's have a look back on 2019 and revisit some of the insights we've uncovered here at Rank Ranger over the year.
So you've won a Featured Snippet on desktop, does that mean your URL shows within the zero-position box on mobile? How often does the URL that resides within a mobile Featured Snippet match the desktop URL? Is there even a desktop Featured Snippet? What is the likelihood that a Featured Snippet win on desktop equals a Featured Snippet win on mobile?
Here's a look at how often Google shows the same URL on desktop and on mobile.
On September 24th, Google sent forth its latest core algorithm update incarnation - the September 2019 Core Update. The third official algorithm update of 2019, like all other core updates, presented a unique set of ranking data at the niche level. More than that, a look at some of the site's impacted may shed some light on how Google looks at Your Money Your Life content.
Here's a look at what the data says about the September 2019 Core Update's size, scope, and overall impact!
How good is Google at understanding entities?
It's an important question since so much depends on exactly that, especially since Google now profiles sites (i.e., treats them as entities). While Google has some hangups when it comes to understanding entities, it's also made some giant leaps.
Have a look at how Google is reaching deeper than ever into entities and why it might be on the verge of taking things to a whole new level.
Google has gotten really good at recognizing entities and how various entities relate to each other. There's no doubt about it. That said, how well can Google truly profile an entity? What happens when an entity has more than one profile? Is Google able to pick up on entity sub-profiles? What if someone is both an actor/actress and a director? What happens when a celebrity goes into politics? How does Google view the secondary profile of these entities?
Almost out of nowhere, Google unleashed one of the most volatile days in SEO history. July 18th, 2019, saw an unprecedented amount of rank fluctuations unlike the industry had seen for years. Yet, the unconfirmed algorithm update left as quickly as it came when rank fluctuations returned to normal levels on a dime.
It all begets the question: Who was impacted and what in the world just happened?
Here's a look at the data on Google's unconfirmed July 2019 algorithm update.
It's always nice when theory meets reality. Not too long before I undertook the research for this study I wrote an article about why I thought Featured Snippets would be getting shorter. When I noticed that Google was throwing content barely a few hours old into Featured Snippets it seemed the content within them was a bit on the thin side. Thus, I took to analyzing 150 Featured Snippets to see if my anecdotal observation was correct.
Long story short, Featured Snippets are shorter... sort of.
On June 4th, 2019, Google released its second official broad core algorithm of 2019 (which was appropriately dubbed the June 2019 Core Update). At the same time, and further complicating the ranking picture, Google made a significant change to the top of the SERP by increasing domain diversity. Combined, the two "changes" created quite the substantial "ranking event."
With that, let's have a look to see how the June 2019 Core Update impacted rankings and how to look for signs of top-of-the-SERP domain diversity within your rankings!