In rare fashion, Google confirmed it updated the search algorithm on March 12th.
While this was initially labeled “Florida 2” by some SEOs, Google has come out to name it the “March 2019 Core Update”.
But what do we need to know from an SEO perspective regarding this algorithm update?
What is the March 2019 Core Update about?
Overall, there is no overarching theme to this core update. While in the past, algorithm updates seemed to have themes regarding battling bad links or thin content, Google has gotten to a place where the rankings are pretty stable and overall, search Google users very well indeed.
Nowadays, Google updates seem to be more in the line of “tweaks” rather than huge overhauls. And while Google has said this is one of the larger updates it has had in some time and therefore warranted confirming to the search community, it is still leaving many
Google releases changes every day, but every now and again there is an update that is more noticeable. Google confirms when there is actionable information that businesses, webmasters and content owners may take. Google gives the example of the Speed Update, and how they warned that websites must have fast-loading websites for ranking purposes.
With these broad changes to the core search algorithm, Google updates us as there is no specific advice or anything to fix – and Google doesn’t want SEOs and content owners to try and alter aspects that don’t need actions.
Last year, Google had 3 broad core algorithm updates in April, August and September 2018. Google’s official advice there, was to ensure you are offering the best content you can, and that is what Google’s algorithms reward with high rankings in the search engine result pages.
But what has the SEO community got to say about the changes?
There has been speculation it affected the health and medical sectors. Others have been vehicles, pets & animal sectors affected also.
There has also been speculation that it is a reversal of former updates – specifically the August 2018 core update dubbed the “Medic Update”. It was dubbed the Medic Update as it affected many healthcare websites that saw a fall in rankings.
Many site owners who had gains in August 2018 saw a loss of traffic in March 2019, and those who had negative impacts in August 2018 saw gains in March 2019. Google has not confirmed or denied if it is a reversal of the Medic Update or any others. This, however, does suggest that core updates will impact previous core updates and can act as a reversal.
It has also been suggested that Google updated the algorithm for informational keywords and media pages have been affected.
In essence, it boils down to the fact that it has been an update to previous core updates, which means any sites previously impacted will have seen changes going the other way with this update. However, not all sites that were affected in 2018 saw a swing in the other direction in 2019. At the end of the day, it is another update to the algorithm that hopes to bring relevant content to searchers on Google.
Does my SEO strategy need to change?
Google’s official line is that there is nothing specific you can do to fix pages that lose rankings due to algorithm updates.
Google has always stated just how important it is to build great content that is high-quality, explores topics in depth and provides value to searchers.
In that regard, not much has changed in how you should approach your SEO. If you continually create and post high-quality content that is genuinely valuable to your target audience, Google should (in theory) index it and serve it up to the users who will find it useful. Of course, it’s worth remembering that if your competitors have content that Google finds to be more useful than yours, then they will rank top.