August Google Update Focused on Authority, Relevance

Sherlock finding google at a crime scene

Whenever Google does a major update, SEO specialists become amateur Sherlock Holmes’ trying to deduce exactly what it impacted and why. On August 1, Google did a core algorithm update that set the SEO community ablaze as sites suddenly dropped or rose in ranking. We grabbed our violins, deerstalker caps and magnifying glasses for “The Case of the Whacked Website.”

Examining the Crime Scene

The first steps in any good investigation are to understand exactly what happened, who the victims were and identify any possible suspects. The update was global, which means it impacts everyone and everything, not just a specific niche or type of site as some updates have done in the past.

This makes it harder because we’re now looking for a needle in the haystack, but thankfully the SEO community has very vocal needles when their rankings tank. The first thing we identified was the victims. Medical advice, health and money websites were heavily impacted and saw a drop while others soared in the rankings. They’re the dead body outlined in chalk on the street.

The one thing many of the victims had in common was they provided advice and content that perhaps wasn’t created by the most reputable of sources or offered general and non-specific information. The sites that improved had more authority because they were done by actual institutions of learning and other verifiable experts within the niche.

Come Watson, The Game Is Afoot!

It’s time to understand the assailant…Google…and why it attacked these fine upstanding web citizens. When people look for advice on complicated subjects in regards to their own lives, they want something that’s objective and written by people in the industry because it’s a decision that can really impact their lives.

For example, if you want to learn about a certain aspect of your health, then you want something written by doctors or scientists and not from a site trying to sell you snake oil that makes fantastic and unreliable claims. It’s not just the health and medical industry that was impacted; it’s a global rollout, so it impacted everyone.

A site that sells cars might have been dinged because of some of their content while a car enthusiast’s blog could have improved rankings. There’s no single smoking gun that says, “here’s who is impacted and why,” but more of a general idea.

Elementary, My Dear Watson

So, what can you do? If you haven’t been impacted or improved in rank, then congratulations. You survived the algorithm attack. If your site suffered, then it’s time to look at your content. Google is focused on sites with really good content for that specific niche. We have several medical sites as clients and none of them we negatively impacted by the Aug. 1 update because the content we create is thorough and specific to their niche.

A site that sells house siding isn’t going to rank well for a blog about mortgage refinancing with this new update. They might rank very well for an article about the advantages of one type of siding over another.

The best way to bring your site back from the dead after the update is to look at your content and make sure it’s what Google wants. It must be in your niche. It must be written well and it should provide information in an authoritative manner. It’s your niche, so you’re the expert in it.

If you’ve been impacted by this or you’re worried about your content, then feel free to contact us and we can help you out.

Brock Cooper

Brock has been doing SEO, Social Media Management and Marketing for seven years and has watched the industry shift and change, providing a unique perspective to clients. Brock is the recipient of two Associated Press awards and the Richard A. Laymon President's Award for Service by the renowned Horror Writer's Association. When he isn't scouring the Internet for the latest in SEO info, Brock enjoys writing short stories, teaching his wife and children the importance of Dr. Who and writing articles for various entertainment and video game sites.

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