Summer 2021 is turning out to be a particularly busy time in the SEO world. Last week, we reported Google’s June 2021 Core Update had begun rolling out (because even though the Page Experience Update is around the corner, Google won’t let us rest). The second half of the update, the July 2021 Core Update – encompassing every change that wasn’t ready for release in June – will be rolling out next month at the same time as Page Experience’s gradual launch (that won’t be complete until August).
SEOs have been monitoring volatility closely. In an article for Search Engine Land, Barry Schwartz provided a round-up outlining what data providers have been seeing over the past couple of days since the June 2021 Core Update launched. On average, it usually takes about two weeks for an algorithm update to fully roll out. We’re almost at the 14-day mark, but changes are still happening. And if you’re one of the lucky or unlucky web owners who’s been affected by these changes, you know they’ve been big ones.
Prominent data providers SEMrush, RankRanger, Sistrix and Searchmetrics all shared their June 2021 Core Update analytics with Search Engine Land, highlighting changes on search engine results pages (SERPs). One consensus is that last Friday and Saturday – June 4th and 5th – are the days where the update hit hardest. Here’s what else has been seen during the initial days of the update:
- SEMrush Reports: The categories that experienced the biggest SERP shifts are health, autos and vehicles, pets and animals and science and travel. Notable winners were foursquare.com and moovitapp.com. And the losers? Heavy-hitters quora.com and tripadvisor.com.
- RankRanger Reports: It confirmed that this update – although only Part 1 – has been substantial compared to last year’s December 2020 Core Update. There was much volatility and big fluctuations, particularly among sites in the Top 5 positions. The RankRanger team also confirmed that travel had been hit hard but saw similarly large shifts in retail.
- Sistrix Reports: Sistrix, on the other hand, found that fewer domains that had reacted to core updates previously have been impacted by this latest one. It deduced that Google could potentially be using new methodologies.
- Searchmetrics Reports: The Searchmetrics team saw big changes for directory sites and airport domains. It released a blog providing more detailed information on its findings.
Interestingly, some data providers have found the update to be bigger and more volatile than others. Similarly, the SEO community has been split. Many have seen massive drops or gains, and for others, the update has barely been a blip on the radar. But either way, this has only been half the battle. It will be interesting to see what happens when the sequel hits next month (Google has already said that some content might see changes in June that reverse in July).
It’s difficult not to worry when your rankings are jumping around more than a kid hopped up on birthday cake, but this is just the beginning. We still have Page Experience and the July 2021 Core Update to look forward to before we can determine how much this latest bout of changes has affected us. And, as usual, all we can do is wait and see what happens next.
More SEO News You Can Use
Google’s John Mueller Has Given Advice for Using Keywords in Content: It may be a discussion as old as time, but we’ll still take any scrap of extra information we can about the optimal usage of keywords. During a recent Search Central office-hours hangout, a viewer asked Mueller how many keywords are the right amount of keywords. This question dates back to the earliest days of SEO, when we believed the perfect keyword ratio was the answer to optimization. But times (and algorithms) have changed. Mueller told the viewer that the number of times a keyword is used on a page doesn’t “matter or make sense.” Yes, keywords are important and provide search engines with some context. That won’t change. But Mueller would not advise obsessing over singular and plural keyword counts and every conceivable synonym for a search term. It all comes back to writing naturally and creating content that users enjoy reading.
Google Is Trying to Put a Stop to Online Slander: We’ve seen it a million times – people on the internet being accused of something terrible, whether abuse, harassment or something more innocuous like being a deadbeat Dad. Many of these unverified accusations aren’t just on your Twitter timeline. They’re posted anonymously on defamatory websites, and a Google search of someone’s name might pull up one of these sites. Now, Google has announced plans to change its algorithms to prevent these websites from showing up in Search results. This comes as a response to a New York Times article outlining how the slander industry preys on victims online. A new concept has been coined by the search engine: “known victims.” This refers to people who report to Google that they have been attacked on a questionable website that charges a fee to remove posts. From now on, in instances like these, Google will suppress this content should someone search a known victim’s name.
WooCommerce Has Officially Integrated With Google, Providing Merchants With a Wealth of Opportunities: The partnership between Google and WooCommerce, announced at Google Marketing Live back in May, has gone live and is available to users globally. The WooCommerce integration enables merchants to display their products across Google properties – including Search, Shopping and Image Search – for free. They can also create free ad campaigns and listings and review performance metrics right from the WooCommerce dashboard. Whew! It’s a good day to be a WooCommerce user. Retailers of all sizes will have the opportunity to place their products in front of a massive audience, and that’s an invaluable power in a world that’s leaning more and more towards eCommerce.
Google Has Released (Another) Helpful Video and Blog About Web Stories: We’ve been seeing regular updates on Web Stories for what feels like months, and it’s because Google has been pushing them in a big way. Virtually every week a new set of tips gets released. This time, Google is showing us how to create Web Stories in five steps and five minutes. Frankly, we’ll take it. In a blog with an accompanying video, Google’s Paul Bakaus explains the storytelling format in detail and shares five easy-to-follow, actionable steps for creating your very own Web Story. Many marketers have embraced the new open-web format that’s both shareable and crawlable by search engines. If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, try it out and let us know how it goes! (We do have our doubts about the five-minute promise …).
Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Rank Trackers: OK, so they might be a little biased, but Ahrefs’ Joshua Hardwick recently released an in-depth and highly insightful blog about choosing the best rank tracker – a tool that analyzes search engine ranking positions over time – for your needs. The blog covers everything to consider when selecting the perfect rank tracker and, once you’ve decided on one, how to use it to improve your SEO. Rank tracking is a vital part of SEO because the higher your SERP positions, the more organic traffic you get. It also helps SEOs determine which keywords and pages require a little extra love. By the end of the blog, you shouldn’t have any questions left. So, be sure to check it out over your coffee break. With all these updates happening at once, you’re going to need to keep a closer eye on your rankings now more than ever.
Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.