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Good morning, Marketers, as promised, we have more details on the Google core update.
The June 2021 core update, which was announced on June 2 and began at 6:30pm ET that day, was an unusual one. The changes were not really noticed by the SEO community until Saturday night or Sunday — it felt like a very slow or possibly even stalled rollout.
We asked several data providers for their insights, and most of those providers noticed that this update caused several days of fluctuation. While Google says core updates roll out over a two-week period, typically the bulk of the update happens on one day — normally within 24 hours after the announcement. This one seemed to have started a few days later and ranking and traffic changes occurred over a few days afterward.
That being said, you can read our analysis of this update here. Keep in mind that this update is still in the process of adjusting. Plus, we are expecting another core update next month, followed by the page experience update in a week or two from now.
Core strength specialist
More on the June 2021 Google core update
While the SEO community may not have picked up on the changes of this core update right away, it seemed like Semrush’s servers were hitting a Google data center that was updating faster than the average Google Search data center. Their tool picked up on the update sooner. Semrush showed the update hitting hard but slow over a three-day period, as you can see in the chart above.
The other tool providers also said this was a multi-day, slower rollout that was not as big as the previous update, the December 2020 core update. That is, with the exception of RankRanger, who called this update more significant and volatile. We will continue to track this update and keep you posted on any changes related to part one of the core update and how it is impacted by part two in July.
GMB phases out short names
Short names will no longer be available in Google My Business, according to their updated help documentation. Short names made it easier for businesses to share review request URLs. The feature was added initially in 2019 and was designed to help businesses make their GMB profiles more accessible to potential and existing customers.
Why we care. If your business currently uses short names, the links and campaigns you have associated with them won’t be affected (as of now). You may have to resort to another link shortening tool like bit.ly to make it easier for customer review outreach if your listings don’t have short names.
Google changes Core Web Vitals metrics; How to use lab and field data for optimization
Changes to CWV metrics for the better. Google has adjusted the metrics associated with Core Web Vitals:
- The threshold for achieving “good” scores for First Contentful Paint (FCP) increased from 1.0 to 1.8 seconds.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), a significant milestone in the lifecycle of a page, originally didn’t include some offscreen elements. Now LCP pinpoints the largest element even if it is later removed from the page DOM once discovered, or when several images of the same size all qualify.
- And, to prevent situations like extremely long browsing sessions undermining Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) scores, smaller “window” sessions are capped at 5-seconds, marked as ended by a 1-second gap as a boundary to find the page’s worst 5 seconds of layout shifting.
Lab data vs field data. Lighthouse lab scores in Page Speed Insights are “calibrated to be representative of your upper percentiles” for worst-case scenarios, like that of underpowered browsers on sluggish networks. Google purposefully calibrates it so developers have richer feedback to more easily troubleshoot problem areas that can occur but are less common in the real world. Meanwhile, field data gets collected for CrUX reports and you can collect it on your own, as well. Field data will be indicative of your audience as it is sampled from browsers with real-world usage of your website.
Why we care. Even when we’re unconcerned about SEO, these factors are incredibly important for how our pages and applications which render pages, including native applications with WebViews, are experienced by actual users in the field. Google has plenty of case studies that show the positive effect on revenue after implementing performance fixes provides a more positive user experience.
Bing themes, unnatural links and automated Google Ads location extensions
Bing search themes. Did you know you can customize the look of Microsoft Bing Search with Bing themes? “We’re excited to introduce Bing Themes to our search pages! You can now personalize your search experience with 7 colorful themes on Microsoft Bing’s web search. Comment to let us know which themes we should add next,” Bing announced on Twitter.
Unnatural link manual action. Just a reminder, if you have a Google penalty, a manual action for unnatural links, Google still wants you to manually clean up links by removing those links, disavowing the link may not be enough to remove the penalty.
Location extensions. Google may automatically add location extensions to some of your Google Ads, PPCGreg said on Twitter. “Google to start auto-adding location extensions based on account properties,” and shared a screenshot of Google’s help document stating this.