Hot on the heels of the 29th August update, we have yet another Google Algorithm Update. Unlike the earlier one, this does not seem to be as widespread. However, those hit by it have seen significant traffic falls.
Bill Lambert (the self-proclaimed Google Search Team member) who predicted the 29th August update indicates that this is a flash rollback:
He also indicated that during updates and rollbacks that you should do routine updates to your site and content.
I am not 100% convinced this is a rollback, but Bill is a reliable source, so it is worthy of mention.
The SERP Trackers
Let’s take a look at the SERP trackers for the 4th and 5th of September, 2019:
The SEMrush Sensor shows volatility still in the normal range, but compared to most of August, it is still on the higher side. The volatility shows as significantly smaller than the 29th August update.
As you will see below, SEMrush Sensor is the outlier. Most trackers are showing significantly more volatility.
Rank Risk Index:
Unlike SEMrush, the Rank Risk Index shows the latest Google Update to be much larger than the 29th August one.
The MozCast weather report volatility somewhere in the middle of that reported by SEMrush and the Rank Risk Index.
The Algoroo report mirrors the high volatility shown by the Rank Risk Index.
The Algoroo report mirrors the high volatility shown by the Rank Risk Index and Algoroo.
Advanced Web Ranking:
Advanced Web Ranking also shows higher volatility than the 29th August update.
Again, CognitiveSEO SIGNALS also show high volatility.
Chatter in the SEO community indicates a Google Update took place
Let’s take a look at the discussions on WebmasterWorld for this update.
yesterday at around noon we got hammered down by 70%! Sales are Zero. Nothing has been changed. WMT says 12 erros for mobile because of to little font. If we we do a perform a check with google it says all is good!
Before that we saw a constant rise from aorund 5% week over week. (Martin Ice Web)
Massive update as I guess, Traffic down by 30-35 percent in India. (Nmehta)
definitely there are some movements going on from the past couple of days. Patience always pays off in a good way. We might see something soon. (Kshamaster)
We saw a drop about a week ago. Same as start of June. Today we are seeing a drop in traffic. No serps changes from what i can see. (BushyTop)
Who does the Update Affect?
Looking at the SEMrush Sensor Deviation (from the average volatility) for both the 5th of September 2019:
As SEMrush did not show much volatility compared to other trackers, the information here is of limited value.
That being said, if you compare this chart with the same chart on the 29th August, the categories differ.
I am not sure I am convinced that this is a rollback based on this information.
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.
What to do if this update hits you
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.
- Use the SEMrush keyword tool to tweak existing content for keywords that maximize traffic.
- Use the SEO Writer to help improve content to target all the keywords used by the top-performing pages.
- Audit your site to get quick wins.
- Get new ideas for content with their SEO Ideas tool
Using a good quality SEO tool like SEMrush can significantly boost your traffic for a relatively small effort.
Try instead to write in-depth content in a natural way that helps the user. I have found that focussing too much on adding keywords can be detrimental, as your writing style can become un-natural.
Utilizing SEMrush to update your content also ties in with what Bill Lambert (unconfirmed Google Search Team member) said. He recommends updating your content and site during updates.
You can pick up a 7-day free trial of SEMrush here.
Jonathan Griffin Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.
Jonathan Griffin is The Webmaster's Editor & CEO, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all our publications. Jonathan writes about Development, Hosting, and SEO topics for The Webmaster and The Search Review with more than nine years of experience. Jonathan also manages his own SEO consultancy, offering SEO developer services. He is an expert on site-structure, strategy, Schema, AMP, and technical SEO. You can find Jonathan on Twitter as @thewebmastercom.