If you manage SEO for your own company or work at an agency that provides SEO services to other companies, you know the importance of staying updated on Google’s updates. Well, it appears Google tweaked their algorithm this November, and content writers and SEO professionals are not happy about it. Seemingly overnight, high-performing content dropped in rankings while content that was not performing rose. Google has not provided much insight beyond they did update the Google Search algorithm the week of November 7th, as they do most weeks. Although their tone suggests just another update, the experiences of SEO agencies and internal marketing seems to suggest something else entirely.
What Was The November Google Update?
As Google says, they update their algorithms constantly, but early this November the update seemed to have overnight changes to ranking on SERPs. What perplexed many professionals is that the update greatly affected landing page content and that content that followed best practices was suffering while weaker content was improving. In the past, Google has had two other similar updates that disrupted content publishing. The Florida Update in 2003 and the Penguin update in 2012. Both of these past updates had a similar overnight impact on hundreds of website’s content strength.
Are There Glitches in the November Google Update?
The biggest complaint coming from SEO professionals is that this update is clearly a glitch. With the penguin update, the algorithm for Google Search was updated with new rules that were created to deter spam. Many websites are reporting that not only are their rankings dropping but spam sites are improving. Dozens of Twitter users have been screenshotting their search results to show that searches are turning up completely unrelated results. And because of the rise in spam sites and these unrelated results, some are blaming BERT.
Did BERT Cause This?
Recently we reported on Google’s new BERT algorithm. Google referred to BERT as its biggest update in the last five years. So it stands to reason that these big problems are in response to this recent update. BERT is designed to improve how keywords are understood and specifically designed to improve voice search results. In essence, the BERT algorithm better translates what a user says or searches on Google into the correlating keywords. But did that update cause content to be unfairly penalized for over-optimization? And is BERT leading to these strange unrelated results on SERPs? It is possible that the BERT algorithm is causing these glitches.
What Should Companies Do?
At this point, Google has been made aware of hundreds of companies. This means Google will either rework the algorithm to solve the issue or will need to give further guidance to agencies and private companies. Right now the best option is to pay attention to Google Analytics and track what content is succeeding and what content is not. But it is not recommended to make any drastic changes until further information comes out.
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