Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has published a series of tweets regarding recent updates to search algorithms.
Many SEOs and site owners have observed significant spikes and drops in search traffic over the past several weeks.
This has led to much speculation as to what might be going on with Google’s algorithms.
Google has finally set the record straight. Here is a summary of what Sullivan tweeted.
Google releases updates every day
Google usually releases one or more updates each day that is designed to improve search results.
Most create little noticeable change but help Google improve nevertheless.
Google confirms noticeable updates
When Google releases an update that it expects will be noticed by a majority of site owners, it will confirm such updates.
Sullivan references the page speed update in mobile search results, which was announced months before its official rollout.
Sometimes Google releases broad core updates
Google will occasionally release broad core updates that affect Google’s entire search algorithm.
It will also inform people about core updates, however, there is usually nothing in particular for site owners to “fix.”
The rollout time of a core update may be a week or longer. Three core updates have been released so far this year in April, August, and September.
What to do after a core update? Offer better content
Sullivan offers the usual advice regarding what to do after a core algorithm update.
“We understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”
Further, Sullivan suggests reviewing Google’s search quality rater guidelines for a starting point on creating great content.
Search quality raters do not directly impact Google’s algorithms
Search quality raters have no control over how pages rank in search results.
Their job is to review pages and provide feedback on whether Google’s algorithms seem to be providing good results.
Quality rater data is not used in Google’s algorithms, Sullivan explains:
“Rather, we use them as a restaurant might get feedback cards from diners. The feedback helps us know if our search “recipes” seem to be working.”
Sullivan goes on to say that understanding how quality raters assess good content may help site owners learn how to improve their own content.
In turn, sites may do better in search results after improving their content.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ’s Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!