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Did Your Website Get Hit by Google’s August Core Algo Update?

For website owners and niche site builders, tracking the latest Google algorithm updates has become a bit of a necessary pastime. Sometimes, the updates take aim at specific targets with the goal of isolating bad actors and knocking them down. Other times, it’s a core update that aims to improve the results for searchers based on Google’s assessment of what type of results would be best to see. In this case, this update falls into the latter category.

Broad Core Algorithm Update

What Google terms a “broad core algorithm update” essentially means that they’ve changed how their algorithm decides what pages are to be shown for different search terms. This means that what the search engine decidesisnow more important and will determine the order of things, quite literally.

The update began to take effect on July 27th. The different results began to be noticed in early August. The search giant has since confirmed that further modifications will continue through the first few days of this month.

What Google does is apply the changes, see how things pan out as the dust settles, and then usually adjust the severity of the changes to subtly tweak the outcomes when they’re looking too severe. Therefore, how the SERPs look when changed on July 27th won’t necessarily be how they turn out once the final changes have been finalized.

Biggest Types of Sites Impacted?

The most significant movement has been observed within the money and life areas, dubbed “YMYL.” These include health, wellness, happiness, finance, investing, and personal safety. Websites that deal in these topics have been put under strain to see whether they provide quality information and realistic advice.

As recently as two weeks ago, Google revised its own ‘Quality Rater Guidelines’ document for people who review websites for quality control purposes and mark them up or down accordingly.

The net result of the YMYL changes has seen sites like Healthline.com get a significant boost in rankings and traffic, whilst perhaps less authoritative sites such as DrugAbuse.com took a significant fall-off-a-cliff nose dive once the update rolled through.

Never Going to Forget to E-A-T Again?

The E-A-T acronym comes from Google’s own quality standards document. It refers to Expertise on the topic, Authority to be giving advice, and the Trustworthiness of the advice. How does this apply?

It means that a blogger providing financial investment advice who is not a qualified financial advisor is likely to see their ranking dip when compared to Pimco, an investment services company. Similarly, health advice written by doctors is going to get rated higher than a wellness site based on crystal healing and daily chanting to promote natural healing methods. All things being equal!

Google’s goal with the changes is to improve the quality and dependability of information provided on the first page (and subsequent pages) of Google’s SERPs for any search term. That applies especially to sites that fit into the YMYL category. However, in seeking qualified sources, Google paints with a wide brush.

In this age, people with limited real-world experience get held up as experts – see the rash of SEOs with under 12 months’ experience being referred to online as ‘SEO experts’ – and therefore what defines an expert is a moot point. It’s likely that many webmasters will question how Google isdeciding their site’s fate based on a sketchy filtering of results. It remains to be seen how site builders will have been affected by the latest changes. Certainly, niche sites featuring Clickbank products like health-related e-books aren’t likely to continue to fare quite so well.

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