Google core vitals

Google’s core updates are changes that Google makes to improve their search results. Some are smaller, often unnoticeable updates, others are larger like the recent core web vitals update. However, Google will give advance notice on these bigger updates to ensure site owners have enough time to make the changes they need to. The latest update took place on July 1st. Here is everything you need to know about this July 2021 core update and what it means for your website.

What was the focus of the July 2021 Google core update?

To put it simply, there was no focus. Instead, this was a ‘broad core update’ – a global update that was not specific to any region, language or category of web sites. However, the idea behind these global updates is for Google to get better at assessing content so that they can put the best results in front of users. As a result, there may be a shake up in ranking position. Sites currently holding the top 1-3 positions may be pushed down, and lower ranking sites may see a boost in position. It’s always important to track your site’s ranking positions so that you can monitor any significant changes.

Did the July 2021 core update have a significant impact?

The July core update saw some big changes to ranking positions, but nothing too drastic to be concerned about. SEM Sensor is a tool that monitors how volatile the search engine result pages are. They gave July 2nd, the day after the core update was rolled out, a very high volatility score of 9.4/10. 

High volatility means that a large number of ranking positions are beginning to fluctuate. It is imperative that your website is on the first results page, ideally in a top 3 position, so that users can find and click through to your page. Therefore, you should check your sites ranking positions on days of high volatility to ensure you have not lost these top positions. For example, if you were ranking 1st place for a target keyword, on days of high volatility this could be pushed all the way down to the second page, resulting in a loss of visibility, clicks and impressions.

The below table from SEM rush shows the spike in volatility the day after the update was announced:

google core update

Was my site’s ranking position affected by the July 2021 core update?

In order to see if your site may have been affected by the recent Google update, here’s a table that displays the volatility by market compared to the past 2 updates:

Category Volatility Change (July) Percentage Change
All Categories 2.2 -43%
Real Estate 3.7 -19%
Shopping 3.3 -8%
Beauty & Fitness 3.2 -27%
Science 3 -41%
Pets & Animals 2.9 -43%
Autos & Vehicles 2.5 -51%
Finance 1.8 -47%
Food & Drink 1.3 -73%

As  you can see, the ‘Real Estate’ category saw the biggest fluctuations in July, however the ‘Food and Drink’ category saw the biggest change in volatility when compared to previous categories. Although this does not necessarily mean your personal website was affected, it is a good idea to check your site rankings and ensure there were no big drops.

What should I do if my site was impacted?

The most important thing is to not panic. Your SEO rankings aren’t falling due to any mistakes you’ve made, it’s purely just readjusting to the latest Google updates. It’s best to be patient and wait a couple of weeks to see if the rankings stabilise on their own. If your site rankings are still low then there are some simple SEO optimisations you can make to help push your site back up to the top positions: 

  • Check what keywords have had the biggest loss in ranking position: This will give you an idea of what keywords you will need to focus your optimisations on. Once identified, see what pages you can add these keywords to. 
  • Check what pages have seen the biggest drop in clicks: You can filter pages by biggest losses in clicks on Google Search Console. If a page has a significant drop in clicks following the same dates as the July 2021 update then you can assume a correlation. You can then optimise this page to help it rise in ranking position, and therefore make it more visible in the search results, which encourages more clicks.
  • Complete a competitor analysis: Look at the SERPs and see who has taken the top positions. What does their page have that yours doesn’t? If Google ranked them favourably following the update, then they like the content on that site, so you can base your optimisations on what has performed well for them.

There we have it, everything you need to know about the Google July 2021 core update. We hope that we have brought some peace of mind to marketing and site managers everywhere! It is always important to check your site metrics to ensure your website is stable and not seeing any big drops in ranking position, however it is extra important to monitor your site after Google updates. It might be worth getting into the habit of completing a site audit after every core update, that way there will be no big surprises when the next update rolls around.

Sophie Lurcuck - Creative Account Executive

Author: Sophie Lurcuck - Creative Account Executive