Exactly one year after the Medic Update (and no one dares to say it’s a coincidence …), Google has published a post on its Webmaster Central Blog entitled ” What webmasters should know about Google’s” core updates “.
In a nutshell, Danny Sullivan (author of the article) has been entrusted with the arduous task of helping webmasters understand something more about the latest type of Google updates that are released periodically since 2018, causing those who rejoice and who pain.
If you don’t have time/desire to read the article in English, below you will find my translation in Italian.
Usually, Google releases one or more changes every day designed to improve its search results. Most of these are not obvious but help the engine improve incrementally.
Sometimes there are more noticeable updates than others. We tend to confirm these updates when we believe they are usable/useful for webmasters, content producers, or other subjects who may be involved. For example, when we released the “ Speed Update “ we announced it several months earlier.
Several times a year, we make significant and far-reaching changes to our search algorithms and systems. They are what we call ” core updates “. They are designed with the mission of presenting users with relevant/relevant and authoritative content. This type of update can also affect Google Discover.
We make the core updates official because they generally produce significant effects. Some sites can lose or gain traffic. We know that those who lose will try to find a solution and we want to make sure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. In some cases, there may be nothing to fix.
There is nothing wrong with pages that could perform worse in a core update. They may not have violated the guidelines for webmasters or have suffered manual or algorithmic penalties, as well as being pages that instead violated them. There is nothing in a core update aimed at targeting specific pages or sites. The changes concern improvements in the way Google systems rate content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better following the update.
A good way to understand how a core update works is to compare it to a list of the top 100 movies of 2015. If you update the list in 2019, the list will definitely change. Some new films will come in. You could also reevaluate other films already present and put them in a lower position.
The films that have come down are not that they have suddenly become uglier: it is that there are new films that deserve a higher place.
As explained above, the pages that go down as a result of a core update may have nothing wrong to correct, but we also understand those who think it is necessary to do something. We recommend that you focus on offering the best possible content. This is what Google’s algorithms try to reward.
- Does the content provide original information, reports, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial or complete description of the topic?
- Does the content provide in-depth analysis or interesting information that goes beyond the obvious?
- If the content is based on other sources, does it simply avoid copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial added value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive and useful summary of the content?
- Do the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerated or shocking?
- Is it the kind of page you would like to bookmark, share with a friend or recommend to someone?
- Would you expect to see this content in a printed magazine, an encyclopedia or a book?
- The content presents the information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clearly indicated sources, information, and evidence about the author’s competence or the site it publishes, for example via links to an author page or on the “who we are” page of the site itself?
- If you did a search on the site that produced the content, would you get the impression that it is very reliable or widely recognized as an authority on the topics it deals with?
- Was this content written by an expert or an enthusiast who proves he knows the topic very well?
- Is the content based on facts and free of errors?
- Would you feel like trusting this content for matters related to your money or your life?
- Doesn’t the content have spelling or style errors?
- Is the content cured or does it seem to have been produced in a hurry?
- Is the content produced in a serial way or has it been outsourced to a large number of creators or spread over a large network of websites, so that individual pages or sites do not receive attention or care?
- Does the content contain too many advertisements that distract or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well on mobile devices?
- Does the content provide substantial value compared to other pages in the search results?
- Does the content seem to serve the interests of the site visitor, or does it seem to have been produced only by trying to understand what is positioned well on search engines?
In addition to asking these questions, try to get an honest judgment from people you trust but who have no economic interests related to your site.
If you have lost positions, check which pages have been most affected and for what types of searches. Try to understand how they were rated based on the questions above.
Another resource with great content recommendations is the quality rater guidelines. The rater is people who provide Google with detailed information as to whether or not algorithms perform well, and are therefore a way of understanding if the changes we make are going in the right direction.
It is important to understand that the rater has no control over the positioning of the pages. Their data is not used directly in Google’s algorithms. We use them in the same way that a restaurant asks its diners for feedback: feedback helps us understand if our systems work well.
If you understand how raters learn to evaluate good content, you may, in turn, improve yours, and therefore get a better ranking.
In particular, the rater is trained to understand if the content has what we call a ” strong EAT “, that is, a strong Expertise (competence) – Authoritativeness (authoritativeness) – Trustworthiness (reliability). Reading the guidelines can help you evaluate how your content is viewed from the EAT point of view and how you could improve it.
A recurring question about the core update is: how long does it take for a site to recover (lost positions), if its contents are improved?
These kinds of updates tend to be released every few months. Content that has been affected may not recover – assuming improvements have been made – until the next update is released.
In any case, Google constantly updates its search algorithms, including the smallest core updates. They are not announced because they are usually not very evident. However, when released, they may cause a ranking recovery of the previously affected content.
Keep in mind that the improvements made on the site are not a guarantee of recovery and that the pages do not have a static or guaranteed position within the search results. If there is more worthy content, they will position themselves better.
It is also important to understand that a search engine like Google doesn’t understand content the way a human can do. Instead, look at “signals” that it can extract from the content and try to understand how they relate to how humans evaluate relevance/relevance. The way the pages link to each other is one of these most well-known signs. But we use many more, which we don’t reveal to help protect the integrity of our results.
All broad core updates are tested before being launched on a global scale. For example, we collect feedback from the quality rater, to understand if the way we weigh the signals goes in the right direction.
Obviously, no attempt at improvement is perfect. This is why we continue to update. The more we receive feedback, the more we test and continue to work to improve our ranking systems. This means that your content may resume lost positions, even if you have not done anything to improve it.