The most crucial challenge in SEO is the indisputable fact that search algorithms are perpetually being updated and altered. Starting 7th November, various stories emerged of significant changes in websites’ search engine rankings and traffic. SEO experts stated that the search algorithm update that caused it was an aggressive one and comparisons were made with the Penguin Update of 2012.
Post Google’s November update, many webmasters noticed a 40% drop in ranking for their websites. Google claimed that this update is not niche or industry-specific. Affiliate websites, primarily in the USA, were among the most affected by the update. Also, the following are the domains that got majorly affected by the November Update:
- Health and maintenance
- Lifestyle and YMYL domains.
John Muller suggested that Google had been making changes to its algorithm for quite some time, leading to the overlap with the BERT update. Google also stated that these changes are made regularly and rolled out every day.
SEO consultant, Alan Bleiweiss provided a list of different sites that were affected by the November 2019 update. Skincare affiliate websites have seen a significant loss in rankings, whereas travel sites have experienced an increase in rankings and traffic.
John Mueller answered that these ranking changes were likely because of core algorithm updates and that BERT was not responsible for the decline in traffic or rankings.
John Mueller’s advice to webmasters and SEOs is to focus on the content of the website. He recommended to “figure out pages that are more relevant to your content.”
Recovery from the Google Update of November 2019
Google always says that fixing technical issues won’t help. What does this mean?
We need to focus more on traditional SEO techniques, and technical SEO has very little to do with this. This means website owners need to focus more on on-site content relevance rather than the technical SEO aspect.
Some SEO experts say that the websites that are affected the most have lots of major technical issues to tackle. However, we must also note that a lot of big sites rank well in spite of having technical SEO issues.
Page speed is one of the major page-ranking factors. Website owners are advised to fulfill ranking requirements like higher page speed, useful links, well-written content, etc. Again, one must remember that page speed is not the only major factor that affects page/site rankings, as can be seen in the case of big websites that do not have high page speed but still rank well.
Disavows and Scrap Links
Google does not give importance to paid and scrap links – webpages satisfying a user search query is given topmost priority. Websites that are rank highly may have many junk links that boost up their traffic, but once such unhygienic links stop working, the site will lose its rankings and get back to its normal position. Therefore, if you get to see any dip in rankings, it can be due to spammy links.
- Relevant content is the key factor based on which Google ranks your website on its SERPs.
- The BERT update also affected the featured snippet position rankings. About 10% of search queries got affected.
So, if you see any decline in rankings, it may be a good idea to consult with SEO experts and identify any issues your site may be facing.
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