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Google algorithm updates &other SEO-related announcements - 2018
As a SEO agency providing SEO consulting and services, we keep track of the numerous Google algorithm updates and announcements that affect the practice of SEO. Here is a compilation of the algorithm updates and announcements from Google in 2018.
July- September, 2018 (Q3) updates
- September 27-28, 2018: Google “Birthday update”
Google carried out another algorithm update that coincided with its 20th birthday on September 27, 2018. This latest update, which followed the last major update around August 01, 2018, is also an update to the Google core search algorithm. According to Google, this is a relatively “small” update.
In our view, this latest update seems to have reversed/ ‘corrected’ some of the effects (both positive and negative) from the update on August 01. In fact, we suspect that there were some minor updates in between the August 01 update and the Google birthday update based on the significant fluctuations in Google traffic that we noticed on some of our SEO clients’ websites.
Of course, Google cautions webmasters from being obsessed over algorithm updates as they carry out hundreds, if not thousands, of tests/updates in a year (some data released indicated that Google tested over 2500 changes to its search results in 2017!).
If your organic website traffic from Google has gone down in the immediate aftermath of a reported Google update, monitor the search results pages. Sometimes, you will find that the drop in traffic has nothing to do with what you may have done or not have done; it may be a result of the change in how search results are displayed (for example, the inclusion of more videos at the top of the page may be having a bearing on traffic to your website!).
Continue to build user-friendly, SEO-friendly web content that fulfills potential queries of users and find ways to promote that content, both within your own website and where possibly, on other websites. Your Google traffic should bounce back/ grow!
- August 1-6, 2018: Broad, Google core search algorithm rolled out globally
Google has confirmed the roll-out of an update to its core search algorithm. This algorithm update has been rolled out globally, starting the 1st of August. As of August 6, the update was still rolling out in different parts of the globe.
Based on the early results reported by webmasters and chatter in the SEO forums, this update seems to be fairly significant for various websites.
However, webmasters cannot do anything specific to “fix” in case they suffer a drop in organic search traffic as a result of this algorithm update. Google advises that webmasters should continue to focus on improving the user experience of visitors to their website with high-quality content, keeping the site secure and improving the speed of websites.
Google had made an update to its core search algorithm in March 2018, though it seems that the impact of the August update is greater than the March one.
- July 9/10, 2018: Google speed update rolled out
Google has rolled out a “speed update” which is designed to negatively impact extremely slow websites.
According to John Mueller of Google, this impact of this update may not be felt by websites unless they are really very slow i.e. the percentage of sites likely to be impacted by this algorithm update is not very high.
Google had announced its plans to release this algorithm update way back in January of 2018.
- July 9/10, 2018: Google rolls out URL inspection tool globally
The new-look Search Console now offers a URL inspection tool, that allows webmasters to see detailed crawl, index and serving information about any URL on their website.
The details show include the last crawl date and status, any crawling or indexing errors, and the canonical URL for that page.
If the page was successfully indexed, you can see information and status about any enhancements we found on the page, such as linked AMP version or rich results like Recipes and Jobs.
More details on the URL inspection tool can be found in this blog post.