In what feels like both Halloween and Christmas coming early for SEOs, a major new Google update has been announced and is due to begin taking effect out this week. Like all major updates before, the rolling rollout is expected to take around two weeks, and its full effects will still be being discussed for years to come. But what can we say at this early stage about the likely effects? Is it time to panic? Let’s hold tight and take a look…
The update is focused on quality of content. And Google has specifically warned that publishers of online educational and online education-related content will be impacted. It is expected that sites that have been writing lots of content which does not offer any unique user value to the user will see a drop in performance. Although it’s too early to say for sure.
We know that the specific target of online educational content refers to tutorials and how-tos. But if your site is related to any educational sector, it is possible that you’ll experience some turbulence in terms of performance over the next three-four weeks.
It is important not to panic if this happens. When a Google update launches, we often see dips and peaks in traffic and rankings during the roll-out period which normalise and do not necessarily indicate that there is an issue.
For this reason, it’s smart to monitor your visibility and performance over the next few weeks, and compare to previous periods’ performance. But we recommend not taking any hasty actions until the algorithm has finished rolling, as you could inadvertently end up hurting your performance once the rollout has finished and stabilised.
The big exception to this is if you think you have any content which clearly meets the criteria disclosed by Google (and you’ll need to be honest with yourself), then you have a decision to make about updating or deleting, depending on how critical the content is to your site’s purpose.
As with a lot of quality-related Google algorithm updates released in the past few years, it is expected that sites found to be impacted by this algorithm will be impacted sitewide – not just those pages that the algorithm is looking for. Therefore, any single-page impacts will probably be due to your competitors being reassessed by the new algorithm and moving upwards in the relative to you. Impact across your whole domain should be due to your own content causing the change in performance. And recapturing that lost territory is going to require a rethink about your SEO strategy – plus a bit of legwork.
We’ll be keeping a very close eye on this over the coming weeks and let you know as soon as we see anything else you need to be aware of.
And if you want speak to some of the finest minds in the SEO game about what to do next – you know what to do.