Last week, Google announced a core algorithm update. While Google will often make changes to improve their service for users, as they don’t often specify what these changes are it’s usually down to experts to decipher what exactly they entail and how this affects best practice for ranking your website.
The update was announced on the 13th March. Now, a week later, we have collated the relevant information to provide a summary.
What is the update?
The update was officially named the ‘March 2019 Core Update’ by Google.
This clears up confusion around the name, with people initially calling the update the Florida 2 update – named as a nod to the PubCon conference in Florida which occurred the week before.
Google has confirmed that this is a major broad core update, which are infrequent but tend to have a significant impact on the way Google functions. Answering questions posed by Search Engine Land, they have stated that the March 2019 Core Update was ‘far from the biggest update Google has ever done’ – keeping their cards close to the chest as usual!
What is it affecting?
While its effects are still being monitored, early reports suggest that the March 2019 Core Update has reversed the impact of the previous ‘1st August’ update for some affected sites, though not for all.
Some of those that saw traffic drop in August 2018 have seen an up tick since the 12th March update, and in other cases traffic has dropped.
A study from Sistrix looking at the impacts of the update for UK websites found that 75% of the websites that came out as ‘winners’ from the March 2019 Core Update were previous losers from the August 2018 update. This suggests that Google is balancing their algorithm in a process that is in constant shift in order to provide the most relevant results for the user.
What should be done?
Early indications in the week after the March 2019 Core Update is that, while Google have labelled this as a major ‘core update’, the focus hasn’t moved away from what has been considered best practice for website optimisation.
Important ranking factors for the website include:
- Providing high-quality content that answers questions and queries that users are searching for
- Links from authoritative websites directing to your website
- Correctly implemented website structure.
While the effects of the update continue to develop with new reports coming to light, the key focus continues to be the search intent of your visitors – it is essential to answer the needs of searchers that land on your page.