Last month, Google released 1 of 2 core updates which hit a lot of websites, including 2 of my main ones and a few days ago, the second half was released. In this post, I’d like to share what happened to my websites and what I’ve been seeing across the board in this regard and why in my personal opinion, there are good things to look forward to in the SEO world.
The quick story on the Google core 2021 update:
- This is one of the most major updates in all of 2021.
- It’s divided into 2 parts. One hit on June 2nd, and the second hit on July 2nd.
- A lot of websites lost traffic. 2 of mine lost about 50% after the first update.
- This core update focused on giving people quick answers to their search queries on Google.
- You may have noticed many Google results now display a “People also ask” snippet.
- This snippet appears very high up on most search queries.
- I believe this snippet is responsible for distracting people from visiting other 1st page ranked sites.
- So all in all, most sites didn’t really get penalized of lose rankings from the update, but the “People also ask” took away attention from their sites which is why they lost traffic.
In short, after the first update hit and websites suffered, I did as well, but my affiliate coach reassured me this would balance out.
Here are the conclusions I drew about the Google core June update:
- Adding more question and quick answer snippets to your blog posts would help rankings.
- As long as you focus on good content and keyword research, you shouldn’t change up much on your site.
- Most rankings will readjust themselves and the July update proved this to be true (as you’ll soon see).
- So overall, if you weren’t doing anything bad for SEO and you got hit with the update like I did, then you don’t really need to change up much and let the core work itself out. As you’ll soon see in my cases, this worked out for the better as most of
Important things to note about Google updates like this:
For starters, understand that every time a new update comes out, a lot of people make the mistake of assuming it’s something that comes and goes quickly, meaning:
A) If let’s say the first update on June 2nd happened and their sites weren’t affected, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
B) Or let’s say your site was affected during the first half of the core update, you assume it’ll stay that way (it won’t).
A lot of these updates take weeks to roll out and this is why I waited sometime to write this post. In my cases, after the 1st and second update, it took sometime for the results of it to workout on my websites so I had to remain patient.
I’ve also spoken to people who were freaking out when the on the day of the July update, they also lost 50% of traffic, but were surprised to see a recovery the very next day (this happens often).
In short, don’t let the first result of an update make you think it’ll stay that way.
How has the Google core July update affect my sites? Let’s take a look:
1) First up we have this very website:
The first core update in June hit this site very badly and I won’t lie, it left me depressed for a few days. Considering how it was climbing on all levels, and then seeing this sudden drop, it made me wonder if I should even continue on this website. I mean we are talking about a 50% drop.
But again, I spoke to a person who knows this stuff better than I do (my affiliate coach) and he clarified the very things I noted above in the bullet points. So I stuck through, and changed a few things:
A) For starters, all my product review posts now included a product review section. This is important since Google came out with a Google product reviews update earlier in 2021.
B) Second, I did a few more question and answer type parts on many of my posts. The important thing was balance, meaning I didn’t want all of my content to just read as a Q & A, as it would take away from the quality content goal I had set (and was adhering to).
C) Third, I continued to make YouTube videos on my YouTube channel and often linked them back to this website and embedded the same videos on the corresponding posts (good backlinking practice for blogs).
D) I am continuing to create new content on my website. This is ultimately what will drive the website back up in new keywords, rankings, traffic and success. Chasing more evergreen keywords is a huge deal too.
Conclusions after the July Google core update:
1) Even after the June core update, most of my page 1 rankings stayed the same (this was a great sign).
2) Impressions (purple line) have stayed the same, before the June update and after the July one (good sign too).
3) A very slow recovery has been taking place since the June update for traffic (blue line), but it’s still not at the level it was at prior to the June update.
4) I blame the “People also ask” update for my traffic loss. In other words, I didn’t do anything wrong or suffer a Google penalty or anything, so overall, I just have to keep growing my site’s content like I did before.
5) Late June and July were also slow months for many reasons (politics, economic events, July 4th holiday, summer vacations, ect…) and in this particular niche, this period is usually one of the slowest ones (late in the year too) and this does affect traffic, so it can lead people to assume a false negative.
6) The last report above shows a return to the way things were (knock on wood). My impressions, and clicks have bounced back since the initial drop in June and I certainly hope it will stay this way, but I am very optimistic now and am happy I followed my coach’s advice on this.
2) Next we have my travel blog site:
This website (TheNatureSeeker.com) went through some serious ups, downs and ups again but has now not just recovered, but at least in the traffic department even risen.
What I did on this website was literally what I did even before the update:
A) I sought out low competition keywords and wrote articles on them (good quality content).
B) I internally linked my websites very often.
C) On some posts, like with this website, I added more Q & A sections, but not much because again I didn’t want to overdo it.
- I do a lot more social sharing with this website and by that I mean:
- On my Pinterest Page.
- On my Google Keen page.
- I make a few YouTube videos and linked them to my nature posts too.
Basically, I didn’t change much from what I was already doing and despite the drop before and after the June update, I stayed the course and it worked itself out.
Conclusions after the July update:
1) Notice how even before the June update hit, there was already a drop in traffic and impressions, even though overall, the site was climbing in both areas.
2) This tells me that perhaps, the Google core update of June hit my site earlier than the June 2nd start (this can happen with Google updates as I found out). It can also be because ups and downs always happen with rankings for many reasons (that may not be related to an update).
3) However, after that fall, I also noticed that my rankings were pretty intact across the board which again told me that it’s likely the “People
4) Two reasons to attribute to my traffic and impressions rise may be associated with a recovery after the June update and July making it come to fruition or the fact that perhaps people just started traveling more due to the summer season and this made them browse more locations I was already ranking high for.
5) Either way, the site is doing fine in my opinion and I will continue growing it the same way I did before.
Here’s a video detailing the Google Core update in July for further reference:
7 important conclusions to draw from Google core July update:
Just as I had suggested on my post (and video) on the June update, that advice still stands, and if you haven’t already read it, here it is:
1) Write high quality content like I said before. Nothing will get you further in the SEO game long term than this and it’s always going to be the central (core) approach to success. No matter what updates or micro changes come through Google updates, high quality content is always the top priority.
2) Keyword research, specifically finding low competition keywords is still a must. This is one of the best ways to get your site ranking as high as possible and despite the “people also ask” playing a distraction, there’s still many search terms out there which don’t have this thing and even if they do, you can easily add a few simple Q & A’s on your blog posts to make up for this.
3) I believe socially sharing your content is going to be a huge thing moving forward and YouTube is highly recommended, meaning make more YouTube videos and link them back to your site to strengthen it’s resolve against these updates.
4) Keyword labeled images, internal links will also be huge.
5) Stay the course if you’re following these things already and don’t be swayed to turn your site completely around if a future Google updates hits it. A loss in traffic does NOT mean a loss in rankings (as I saw on both my sites) and if you didn’t lose serious rankings, you didn’t do anything wrong and should use that as reinforcement to continue growing the site.
6) Consider how many people will quit SEO after these kinds of updates and know that the field will open up much more to you. For me, affiliate marketing becomes less saturated after these updates and I couldn’t be happier for it.
7) Overall, I am much more optimistic after the July update than when the June one hit and while I certainly can’t tell what will happen in the future, I am confident based on my own experiences and those of people better than me at SEO that I’m doing the right things.