Major Google Algorithm Update on the 5th of March 2019

The SERP tracking tools show a spike in volatility on the 5th of March, with some chatter among the SEO community. Looks like a small Google Update.

It seems to be a busy few weeks for Google, with yet another Google Algorithm Update. Volatility started on March 5 and continued into March 6, 2019. It is too early to say if the update is ongoing, as the SERP trackers have not yet updated for today.

The SERP Trackers

Let’s take a look at the SERP trackers for the 5th of March, 2019:

SEMrush Sensor:

The SEMrush Sensor shows “high” volatility on the 5th and 6th of March 2019 in both the US and UK locations.

US Volatility:

SEMrush Sensor 5th of March 2019 in the US.
SEMrush Sensor 5th of March 2019 in the US. © SEMrush.

UK Volatility:

SEMrush Sensor 5th of March 2019 in the UK.
SEMrush Sensor 5th of March 2019 in the UK. © SEMrush.

Rank Risk Index:

The Rank Risk Index tracker show some relatively modest volatility on the 5th and 6th March. It seems the update settles down on the 7th.

Rank Ranger Risk Index 5th of March 2019.
Rank Ranger Risk Index 5th of March 2019. © Rank Ranger.

MozCast:

The MozCast weather report shows increased volatility on the 4th and 5th March. It hasn’t yet updated for the 6th.

Mozcast 5th of March 2019.
Mozcast 5th of March 2019. © Moz.

Algoroo:

The Algoroo report shows chart only shows a small rise in volatility, indicating a much smaller algorithm update than the other trackers.

Algoroo 5th of March 2019.
Algoroo 5th of March 2019. © Algaroo.

SERPMetrics:

The SERPMetrics report shows a reasonably high level of volatility on the 5th and 6th of March, but on a much lesser scale than the February 27th, and March 2nd update.

SERPMetrics 5th of March 2019.
SERPMetrics 5th of March 2019. © SERPMetrics.

Chatter in the SEO community indicates a Google Update took place

WebMasterWorld:

Let’s take a look at the discussions on WebmasterWorld for this update.

5th March

More shuffling going on today in my industry… (glakes)

@glakes - same - lots of flux in Finance in the UK.

Seems to be a continuing trend from the update on the 27th, with further updates on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th.

6th March

Slight uptick in referrals from goog. But the number of pages people even looking at is in a gutter on our ecom site (blend27)

Much better day today than it’s been for the past week or so. Traffic seems to have recovered from the drop last week. (Cralamarre)

I am seeing a lot more fluctuations again this morning. Mostly down for us as we had made some gains in the last week or two. Happens every single time though, so I’m not terribly surprised. (lostshootingstar)

I am new to webmasterworld. I really need your help! My rankings are dropped yesterday (5th) (Almost all my web pages). (michaelslack)

Who does the Update Affect?

Looking at the SEMrush Sensor Deviation (from the average volatility) for both the 5th and 6th March 2019:

SEMrush Sensor Deviation of Categories 5th of March 2019.
SEMrush Sensor Deviation of Categories 5th of March 2019. © SEMrush.
SEMrush Sensor Deviation of Categories 6th of March 2019.
SEMrush Sensor Deviation of Categories 6th of March 2019. © SEMrush.

While it is useful to look at categories, you should bear in mind that Google Algorithm Updates targets types of queries, not categories per se. That being said, John Mueller has said that types of queries and specific categories often go hand-in-hand.

YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) queries are more likely to be affected by E-A-T (queries that require the author to have more Experience, Authority, and Trust). If these YMYL queries are affected, it is indicative (but not conclusive)of an E-A-T related update.

This Google Search Algorithm Update mainly hits Finance, Autos & Vehicles, Law & Government, Sports, and Jobs & Educations. In this case, I cannot be sure whether it is an E-A-T related update, or whether it is merely a content-quality update. The best approach is to review your site with both aspects in mind.

What to do if you are hit by this update

The best advice I can give you is to read the Google Raters Guidelines in its entirety.

There is some excellent guidance relating to E-A-T and content quality in the guide, and the advice comes straight from Google.

To help you, I highly recommend SEMrush. It is what I use, and if you really take the time to get to grips with the SEMrush keyword tool, SEO Ideas tool, and actively use the SEO writer (works in Google Docs, or natively in SEMrush), I think you can make the largest number of improvements to your site in the shortest space of time. Picking up those quick wins from the Site Audit, and running your existing content through their SEO Writer, or SEO Ideas tool will really help.

There is a real danger when using tools such as these that you focus too much on keywords, rather than content that helps the user. Try to write naturally, and cover your topics well.

You can pick up a 7-day free trial here.

Jonathan Griffin. Editor @ The Webmaster

About the author

Editor, Hosting Expert, SEO Developer, & SEO Consultant.

Jonathan is currently the Editor & CEO at The Webmaster. He is also an SEO Developer offering consultancy services, primarily to other web development companies. He specializes in the technical side of SEO, including site audits, development of SEO related features, and site structure & strategy.

In his spare time, Jonathan has a passion for learning. He regularly undertakes professional courses on subjects ranging from python, web development, digital marketing, and Advanced Google Analytics.

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