Updated on 1st April 2019
Unofficial Google Update of March 27th
Yes, you heard it right. Google has made some significant changes to the algorithm during the final few days of the month of March. We have seen Google making tweaks after the rollout of Broad Core Algorithm updates, but the one we are witnessing now is huge, and some algorithm sensors have detected more significant ranking fluctuation than the one that happened on March 12th when Google launched its confirmed March 2019 Core Update.
The fluctuations that started on March 27th is yet to stabilize, and more and more webmasters are taking it to forums after their website traffic got hit. The latest tweak has come as a double blow for a few websites as they lost the traffic and organic ranking twice on the same month.
Google Officially Calls March Broad Core Update “March 2019 Core Update”
As I mentioned in my earlier update, Google representatives have a history of snubbing the names given by the SEOs for their Algorithm Updates. Usually their criticism ends without attributing any names to the update but, it seems like Google is now easing it’s muscles and giving official names to their updates.
The official Google SearchLiaison twitter handle announced on Thursday that Google would like to call the broad core algorithm update of March 12th as “March 2019 Core Update.”
“We understand it can be useful to some for updates to have names. Our name for this update is “March 2019 Core Update.” We think this helps avoid confusion; it tells you the type of update it was and when it happened,” read the tweet posted on the wall of Google SearchLiaison.
We understand it can be useful to some for updates to have names. Our name for this update is "March 2019 Core Update." We think this helps avoid confusion; it tells you the type of update it was and when it happened.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 15, 2019
With this, let’s put an end to the debate over the nomenclature and focus more on recovery of the sites affected by the March 2019 Core Update.
Recovering Sites Affected by March 2019 Core Update AKA Florida 2
Have you been hit by the March 2019 Core Update? There are several reasons why a website may lose traffic and rankings after Google rolls out an algorithm update. In most cases, the SEO strategies that the website used to rank in SERP backfires, and in other instances, Google finds a better site that provides superior quality content as a replacement.
In both these cases, the plunge that you’re experiencing can be reversed by implementing a well-thought-out SEO strategy with a heavy focus on Google’s E A T quality.
However, the initial analysis that we did has some good news for webmasters. The negative impact of the latest update is far less than what we thought. Interestingly, there are more positive results, and the discussion about the same is rife across all major SEO forums.
This makes us believe that the Broad Core Algorithm update on March 12 is more of a rollback of a few previous updates that may have given undue rankings for a few websites. Importantly, we found that sites with high authority once again received a boost in their traffic and rankings.
We also found that websites, which had a rank boost last year by building backlinks through Private Blogging Networks, were hit by March 2019 Core Update, whereas the ones that had high-quality, natural backlinks received a spike. If you’re one of many websites that were affected by the Google March 2019 Core Update, here are a few insights about the damage caused to sites in the health niche
According to the data provided by SEMRush, Healthcare websites saw a massive fluctuation in traffic and rankings after the recent March 2019 Core Update. The website has also listed a few top losers and winners. We did an analysis of the top 3 losers and here is what we found:
MyLVAD is listed as one of the top losers by SEMRush in the Health category. The Medic Update hit this site quite badly in August 2018, and it seems like the latest March 2019 Core Update has also taken a significant toll. According to the SEMRush data, the keyword position of MyLVAD dropped by 11 positions on Mar 13.
MyLVAD is a community and resource for people suffering from advanced congestive heart failure and relying on an LVAD implant. We did an in-depth analysis of the site and found that it does not comply with the Google E A T quality.
The resources provided on the site are not credited to experts. Crucially, the contact details are missing on the site. Since it’s more like a forum, the website has more user-generated content. As this website falls under the YMYL category, it’s imperative to provide the author bio (designation of the doctor in this specific case) to increase the E A T rating. Also, details such as ‘contact us’ and the people responsible for the website are missing.
PainScale is a website, which also has an App that helps to manage pain and chronic disease. The site got a rank boost after the September 2018 update, and until December that year, everything was running smoothly. The traffic and ranking started displaying a downward trend after January, and now the Florida 2 Update has reduced it further.
On analyzing the website, we found that it is providing users information about pain management. Once again, the authority of the content published on this website is questionable. Though the site has rewritten a few contents from Mayo Clinic and other authority sites, aggregation is something that Google does not like.
The website also has a quiz section that provides the tools to manage pain. However, the website tries to collect the health details of the users and then asks them to sign up to PainScale for FREE. Google has an aversion to this particular method, as they are concerned about the privacy of its users. This could be one of the reasons for the drop in traffic and rankings of PainScale after theMarch 2019 Core Update.
This is yet again another typical example for a YMYL website that Google puts under intense scrutiny. Medbroadcast gives a lot of information regarding health conditions and tries to provide users with treatment options. Here again, like other websites on this list, there is no information regarding the author.
Moreover, the site has a strange structure with a few URLs opening in sub domains. The website has also placed close to 50 URLs towards the footer of the homepage and other inside pages, making it look very spammy.
This site also received undue traffic boosts after the Google Medic Update of August 2018. The stats show that the traffic increased after the Medic Update and started to decline at the beginning of January.
Once again, the impetus is on E A T quality signals. The three examples listed above points to how healthcare sites that failed to follow practices mentioned in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines were hit by the Florida 2 Update.
Here are a few tips to improve your website’s E A T rating:
1. Add Author Byline to All Blog Posts
Google wants to know the authenticity of the person who is providing information to the users. If the site falls under the YMYL category, which includes websites in the healthcare, wellness, and finance sectors, the author should be someone who is an expert in that field. Google wants to ascertain that trustworthy and certified authors draft the content displayed to its users.
Getting the content written by content writers is a trend largely seen among YMYL sites. Nevertheless, Google hates it and only wants to promote high-quality, trustworthy content.
2. Remove Scraped/Duplicate Content
Google calculates the E A T score of a website by analyzing individual posts and pages. If you’re engaging, scrapping or duplicating content from another website, the chances are that you may get hit by an algorithm update. As seen in one of the above-mentioned examples, paraphrasing of content doesn’t make it unique, and Google can identify these types of content very easily.
So, if you think your website has thin, scrapped or rewritten content, it would be ideal to remove it. For YMYL websites, ensure that the content is written by an expert in your niche.
3. Invest time in personal branding
Make sure that your website has an “About Us” page and you’re providing valuable inputs to Google in the form of a schema markup. In addition, positive testimonials and customer reviews, both within the site and outside, can boost the trustworthiness of your website. Google’s quality rater guidelines also ask webmasters to display the contact information and customer support details for YMYL sites.
The Google search quality guidelines suggest that websites with high-quality backlinks have a superior E A T score. Investing time in building low-quality links through PBNs and blog commenting may invite Google’s wrath and can adversely affect a website’s E A T rating. It’s highly recommended to use white hat techniques such as blogger outreach and broken link building as part of the SEO strategy to get high-quality links.
5. Secure your site with HTTPS
Security of its users is a priority for Google, and that is why it’s pushing websites to get SSL certified. HTTPS is now one of the ranking factors, and it’s also one of the ways to improve the E A T rating of websites.
Also, it has to be noted that Google Chrome now shows all non-HTTPS sites as insecure, which is a clear indication of how Google values the privacy of its users.
To know more about the factors that Google use to rank health websites, read our in depth article “Advanced SEO for Healthcare and Medical Websites: Tips to Improve Search Quality Rating“.
Here are a few chatters from the Black Hat World about the Latest Google March 2019 Core Update AKA the Florida 2 Update
“There are 5 projects of mine which are very very similar to each other. All targeting Beauty/Health niche, all of them have a lot of great content (10k+ articles) and all of them are build on expired domains with a nice brandable name,” says a user going by the name yayapart.
“The G Core Update hit 4 of my 5 projects. One of them, actually the oldest one of them, got a huge push and increased it’s organic traffic about 40%. The other 3 projects which are affected lost all heir best rankings. I don’t see any pattern here yet but it hit me hard,” he added
Another user going by the name Jeepy says “Health Niche. This site got hit by medic update and now it’s rising back without doing anything. Right…”
Confirmed: Google March 2019 Core Update AKA Florida 2 Update – March 12, 2019
The official SearchLiaison Twitter handle of Google confirmed that a Broad Core Algorithm update has started rolling out on March 12th. Like other broad core algorithm update, the latest one will be rolled out in phases and we are not sure when the “SERP dance” will stabilize. SEOs started calling it the Florida 2 Update.
“This week, we released a Broad Core Algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before,” read the tweet post on the official Google SearchLiaison handle. Read our blog to know more about the latest Broad Core Algorithm Update.
Our analysis found that the Google March 2019 Core Update reversed the undue rankings that a few websites got after the Medic Update of August 2018. In addition to this, most of the sites hit by the update used low quality links to increase their authority.
This week, we released a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see these tweets for more about that:https://t.co/uPlEdSLHoXhttps://t.co/tmfQkhdjPL
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 13, 2019
See how ranking sensors detected the change:
Google Algorithm Update – March 1st, 2019
In my earlier update, I had predicted about Google preparing for some big changes in the coming days. Now, validating my ESP, the latest Google algorithm update rolled out on March 1st seems to be bigger than what we initially thought.
There are reports that Google displayed more than 19 search results on a single page for a few search terms during this period. We will be doing a detailed blog post about this in a few days. There are also chatters about Google giving more preference to websites that have in-depth content.
Interestingly, Dr. Peter J. Meyers of Moz found that Google is displaying well-researched articles in results even for a few buyer intent keywords. Google possibly wants a mix of product and information to feature in its search. This way, users who are confused with products can read and get informed before making the purchase decision.
There are also chatters about the drop in the number of image search results after the latest Google update on March 1st.
An interesting analytics screenshot shared by Marie Haynes depicts how one of her clients got a massive boost in organic traffic during February 27th and March 1st.
Was there an algo update yesterday? 😀 pic.twitter.com/uid8sdtDzY
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) March 1, 2019
See how ranking sensors detected the change:
Google Algorithm Update – February 27, 2019
Google seems to be making a lot of tweaks to its algorithm this month as there is yet again a spike in the Algorithm trackers, suggesting the roll out of an Algorithm Update. A similar spike was witnessed on 22nd of this month but the chatters soon subsided, probably due to the less impact it had on websites. But, it seems like something big is brewing for the coming days that will make significant changes to the SERP results in Google.
Advanced Web Ranking
Google Algorithm Update- February 22, 2019
There are talks about an algorithm update, but this time, the impact is not far-reaching. All major algorithm trackers detected a sudden spike in their ranking sensors, but it didn’t sustain for a long duration. It seems like Google may have done some little tweaking to their algorithm during the weekend, especially on Friday. Other than a few chatters here and there regarding lost traffic, there is nothing concrete to underscore this as a significant algorithm update. Since it’s widely talked about in blogs and SEO forums, let’s look at a few trackers that sensed the update.
Google Algorithm Update – February 5, 2019
There is a lot of chatter about an algorithm update from Google that has affected many websites mostly the ones that are in the UK. The stats were more-or-less calm after Jan 16th but we have noticed a sudden increase in the stats on all major algorithm update trackers. Some algorithm trackers suggest the update rolled out during February 5-6 is more devastating than the one rolled out in January. We will keep you posted as we dig deeper into the sites affected by the algorithm update and diagnose the reasons for the drop in rankings.
Here are a few stats:
Google Algorithm Update – January 18, 2019
We had announced earlier this week that Google rolled out an incremental Algorithm update – the first in 2019. The impact of the Algorithm Update was hard on News websites and Blogs of various niches. This is why we named the latest Google Update as the “Newsgate Algorithm Update.”
A new document released by Google on 16th January 2019 corroborates our findings as it provides advice and tips for the news publishers to get more success in 2019.
Our analysis had found the algorithm update rolled out during the second week of January affected the news sites that “rewrote content” or “scraped content from other sites.”
The latest document released by Google proves that we were right. There are two specific sections in the document titled “Ways to succeed in Google News” that recommend News Publishers to stay away from publishing rewritten and scrapped content.
What the Google document says:
- Block scraped content: Scraping commonly refers to taking material from another site, often on an automated basis. Sites that scrape content must block scraped content from Google News.
- Block rewritten content: Rewriting refers to taking material from another site, then rewriting that material so that it is not identical. Sites that rewrite content in a way that provides no substantial or clear added value must block that rewritten content from Google News. This includes, but is not limited to, rewrites that make only very slight changes or those that make many word replacements but still keep the original article’s overall meaning.
In addition to this, the Ways to Succeed in Google News also highlights a few best practices that News Publishers have to keep in mind before publishing a story.
- Descriptive and Clear Titles
- Displaying accurate date and time using structured data
- Avoid duplicate, rewritten or scrapped content
- Using HTTPS for all posts and pages
The advice and tips provided in the document can help the news websites affected by the latest Google algorithm update to recover. Also, Google has put impetus to the transparency of the News Publisher, which has to do more with the search engine giant’s EAT Guidelines.
The new Google News guidelines ask publishers to be transparent by letting the readers know who published the content. The advice Google gives is to include a clear byline, short description of the author and the contact details of the publication.
According to Google, providing these details to the readers and to the Google bot can help in filtering out the “sites or accounts that impersonate any person or organization, or that misrepresent or conceal their ownership or primary purpose.”
Google also warns news publishers not to engage in link schemes that are intended to manipulate PageRank of other websites.
Google Algorithm Update – January 16, 2019
It looks like Google has rolled out its first significant algorithm update for 2019. This time, the target seems to be news sites and blogs! The data from SEMrush Sensor suggests that the “Google Newsgate Algorithm Update” has touched a high-temperature zone of 9.4 on Wednesday.
The speculation about an update was in the air for the last few days. Now, it looks like the search engine giant has come out with an incremental update on Wednesday night.
Google announced earlier that every year, it rolls out around 500–600 core algorithm updates. In addition to this, there are broad core algorithm updates that Google rolls out three to four times a year.
These updates come with a major rank shift in the SERP with a few websites seeing a spike in organic rankings while others experience a dip.
Google has not yet confirmed if the algorithm update rolled out during the second week of January is a core or a broad core update. However, the update seems to have made drastic changes to the results shown in featured snippets.
In addition to the news websites, the “Google Newsgate Algorithm Update 2019” has also affected blogs in niches such as sports, education, travel, government, and automotive sites.
According to the Google Algorithm Weather Report by MozCast, the climate was rough during the 9th and 10th, suggesting an algorithm update.
The graph has shown significant fluctuations in the weather, especially during January 5th and 6th. After a few regular days, the weather deteriorated further, which may be signal of two separate Google Algorithm updates within the same week.
SEO communities are rife with discussions about the update as many websites were affected by the algorithm update in the last few days.
“Travel – All whitehat, good links etc, fresh content, aged domain, and all the good stuff. Was some dancing around Dec and then, wham, 3rd page,” said zippyants a Black Hat Forum member on Thursday.
“Big changes happening in the serps since Friday for us. Anyone noticing an uptick or downward slide of long tail referrals? First time we’ve seen much since the big changes in August/September,” asked a user SnowMan68 via Webmaster World.
“Yes! Today the signals are quite intense. Probably going on for past 4 days No changes seen on the sites though,” answered a Webmaster World user arunpalsingh to one of the questions asked in the forum.
In addition to this, the Google Grump Tool from AccuRanker has also suggested a “furious” last two days. This may be an indication that the algorithm update was rolled out in phases.
According to our early analysis, the sites that were affected by Google’s first Algorithm Update in 2019 are the ones that publish questionable news. Also, we saw a nosedive in the traffic of news sites that rewrote content without including any newly added values.
Algoroo, another Google Algorithm tracker, has added TechCrunch and CNBC to the top losers list. This, yet again, stands as evidence to our understanding that the update is intended for News websites and blogs of different industry niches.Last year, Google had rolled out the infamous Medic Update targeting wellness and YMYL websites. The impact was huge and many websites that were affected are yet to come to terms with the traffic loss.
We found that the sites impacted by the Medic Update were lacking the E.A.T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) quality signals. A few days after this, Google confirmed the same saying the update had nothing to do with user experience.
Some websites hit by the Medic Update made remarkable comebacks after the algorithm update in November. The sites that recovered from the Medic Update created quality content based on the Google EAT guidelines.
The rollout of the update was completed on Sunday as all the sensors had cooled down by Monday. We will soon do a detailed analysis of the sites that were affected by the “Google Newsgate Algorithm.” This will help you understand why the sites were affected and how they can recover from the latest Google Algorithm update.