Google June 2019 Core Update (Live updates as they happen)

Google have announced and started to roll out their ‘June 2019 Update’. We will report here what this update has effected as it happens!

A Layman’s Overview of the June 2019 Core Algorithm Update

From the 3rd to the 8th of June, Google rolled out an update to their algorithm. It has left a lot of webmasters 50%+ traffic losses and an endless stream of questions.

Before reading on, you must understand the following about this update:

  • There is not a simple do-this do-that fix in order to recover your site
  • Google’s algorithm is immensely complicated and constantly evolving
  • News publications in particular have been hit hard

What is EAT and Does it Matter?

E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

This metric/concept was introduced in late 2018.

Webmasters have suspicion that the June core update is an advancement of the EAT principal.

Roger Montti dove deep into this topic, taking a look at Daily Mail, a controversial UK-based news outlet. They have been having tough luck in the SERPs – especially after the June 2019 update. We will talk more about Daily Mail later in this article, but I would like to sum up Roger’s findings with this excerpt:

If the list of things that Google could improve is so long, why in the world does the search industry focus on the same four things, Quality, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust?

As can be seen by the plight of major sites like CCN and the Daily Mail, the idea that Google’s Broad Core Updates could be reduced to four baby-food level ranking factors is not helpful.

So does it matter? Sure. But there are many areas of improvement when it comes to this update that go far beyond EAT.

June 24 – Mercola, Medical Advice Website is Slammed by Google

Mercola Ahrefs is a controversial health website that has been around for quite a long time. It is likely that the site was hit from the advancement of EAT.

In my opinion, this is a textbook example of a site that SHOULD be demoted by EAT. Inaccurate health information in the SERPs could easily hurt a lot of people. Advice is given such as walking barefoot as a source of anti-oxidants, homeopathy, anti-vax, and more.

Some SEOs think it’s more of a technical problem than anything else. Jenny Halasz spotted a rel=alternative problem with their AMP and desktop URLs.

June 19 – A Possible New Update?

Rank Ranger June 19 activity SEO

A possible new update has rolled in. Rank Ranger is reporting the highest rate of rank fluctuations since June 6.

View more discussion about this on SERoundTable as well as Webmaster World.

June 15 – This is No Panda

The below two tweets from Danny Sullivan, Public Search Liaison at Google, address whether or not this update is “another Panda”. The answer? A resounding no.

For those that do not remember, Panda was a massive quality update. Content farms like Ezine Articles, low quality sites that had thin and duplicate content, and ad-heavy sites got obliterated over night.

In contrast, the June 2019 update is just an alteration to how Google makes use of different signals to rank content. However, this could still mean that Google has a different picture of what “good content” actually is.

As a webmaster, I highly recommend looking through Google’s quality guidelines. It’s 166 pages long and will break down the most important ideas of what “quality” entails.

June 14 – Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, John Mueller Speaks About the Update

At 26 minutes and 11 seconds in the video below, John Mueller answers the following question, asked by a viewer.

“We’re a news publisher website, primarily focusing on the business finance vertical. we probably have been impacted by the June Core Update as we’ve seen a drastic traffic drop from the June 1st week.

Agreed that the update specifies that there are no fixes and no major changes that need to be made to lower the impact.

But for a publisher whose core area is content/news, doesn’t it signal that it’s probably the content, the quality or the quantity which triggered Google’s algorithm to lower down the quality signal of the content being put up on the website which could have led to a drop of traffic.

We’re aware that many publisher sites have been impacted and such a scenario would really help if google could come out and share some advice to webmasters and websites […] on how to take corrective measures and actions to mitigate the impact of core updates.”

The response:

As you’ve heard, there’s unfortunately no easy fix. John mentioned how, in contrast with the June 2019 update, their speed algorithm change was very easy for webmasters to fix. It was a single problem that could be fixed overnight with a few website performance tweaks. That’s not the case with this core update.

June 14 – Webmasters are experiencing an influx of Search Console errors + My Business Abusers Are Getting Suspended

False positives?

As reported in detail on SERoundTable, webmasters were receiving all sorts of errors — most of which were false positives.

Some “issues” that were reported include:

  • “Text too small to read”
  • “Content wider than screen”
  • “Clickable elements too close together”

My course of action began with ensuring that the “errors” weren’t actually real. They were not in all tests I performed. After that, I marked them as resolved.

Hours later, I received an email saying the issues were confirmed “fixed”.

Email from Google Search Console about false positives being fixed

June 14 – The FAQ Schema is Wonderful! Or is It?

If you were impacted by the core update, you’re likely going to try every improvement in the book to get your rankings back.

One of those improvements may very well be the FAQ Schema, which was just rolled out last month.

Quick Aside: What are snippets?

For those of you who are not already up on it, is an open standard that makes it a lot easier for bots and spiders to pull accurate data from your webpages. — Are you a restaurant? What is your business name? Where are you located? Is this article a product review? What is the average star rating of this product?

The FAQ schema lets you provide questions and answers. The example provided on the Webmasters blog displayed the question “what kind of paper is used for origami?” This is one valid use case. The implementation of this snippet gives you a better chance of landing an “Instant Answer” result.

Another very useful use case is to provide the FAQs of your company. “Does [company] ship internationally?”, “Is [product] waterproof?”, etc. This removes a lot of friction for customers to get the answers they need. It could very well save you money on support costs.

However, some business owners have experienced poor results. Read SERoundTable’s “Reports Of Google Traffic Loss After Implementing FAQ Schema” to learn more.

June 12 – Google is Cracking Down on Virtual Offices…and Friendlies Are Getting Caught in the Crossfire!

Many businesses without a true physical presence are getting the boot on Google My Business. This is music to the ears of local SEOs!

But it’s not all peaches and cream. @YoungbloodJoe on Twitter reported that a slew of his clients are getting canned, yet they are all legitimate business owners with physical locations!

Keep on eagle eye on your My Business listings for the next few weeks in case you become a victim of this problem.

June 10 – June 12 – Popular Cryptocurrency Blog Shuts Down…and Then Comes Back

CCN has announced that they are closing up shop for good…or so it seemed. They’ve provided reasoning both in their announcement article and the video below.

They reported a loss of over 50% of their desktop traffic as well as over 70% on mobile.

Data showing that CCX lost 53.1% of desktop traffic and 71.5% of mobile traffic

2 days and much discussion later, they decided that they were back in business.

CCN, with the help of the folks in the Webmasters forums, discovered that an old domain of theirs was somehow ranking in Google! After addressing this issue, it’s still uncertain whether or not CCN will regain their previous rankings, but it’s a step in the right direction

Takeaway Tip: If you have changed your domain name in the past, check to see if it is in the Google index once again. You may do so using the “site” search operator as show below.

Use the "site:" operator to determine if your old domain is still in the Google index

Are any results showing? If so, make use of Search Console’s Change of Address tool. To avoid having Google visitors sent to your old domain, you may use 301 redirects.

June 4-6: The Diversity Update

While the diversity update is separate from the core update, it’s worth mentioning so you have another tool in your website diagnosis toolbox.

The purpose of this update is to show more diversity in search results. In this context, it means not having the same website dominate multiple positions of a single keyword. Now don’t worry, this will not affect branded keywords. You won’t be only allowed to rank once for “[insert your brand name]”.

For more information on this update, refer to Search Engine Land’s great write-up.

June 6 – Has Seen a Massive Loss of Traffic

Was it due to their amount of advertising? Their political beliefs? Are they “fake news”?

It’s all up to speculation but their SEMRush graph does not paint a pretty picture. They were already one of 2018’s “biggest losers” of traffic, dropping by 61%. June proved to be another nail in what very well may be Daily Mail’s eventual coffin.

A graph showing Daily Mail's loss of traffic in June

Daniel Trick

Head of Content

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