Google’s John Mueller offered additional details about what could cause a site to lose ranking in the recent core algorithm update. And it has nothing to do with authors.
Question About Core Algorithm Update
Here is the question asked:
“After the recent Google search algorithm update, we’ve seen dramatic negative impact in our average positions for our most common keywords. Our site has not changed. Can you describe what the changes were that might be affecting the SEO?”
What Changed in Google’s Algorithm
John Mueller answered with a general description of what changed.
- It’s not that your website is low quality
- It’s about how Google defines what is relevant to a user query
- What is relevant for specific users.
This is what Google’s John Mueller said:
“This is something kind of like we mentioned before. These are general algorithm updates that we make from time to time with regards to search. And it’s not like your site is worse or different in any way. It’s essentially our algorithms are re-evaluating what we think makes sense what we think is relevant for search results for specific queries and users.
And this can and should change over time. That’s completely normal.
One example you might use is if you have a query like best movies. Then that’s something like where obviously like last year you’ll have one set of movies and maybe if you looked at it this year you’d have a different set of movies.
And it’s not that the old movies are worse in any way. It’s just like well things have changed. And that’s kind of how things are evolving in general…”
Meaning of Search Query Changes
This part about changes in what search queries mean is an important takeaway. What a search query means to the majority of users making that search query is transient. Transient means that it changes, that it is not permanent.
When people mean when they search for certain phrases can change. This doesn’t mean that the definition of the phrase changes, either.
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It could be that what people want to do when they search with that phrase has changed. This is user intent. When trying to understand why your site lost rankings, it is useful to understand what the user intent of your web page is and to compare that with the user intent of the pages that moved up.
In my almost 20 years of experience evaluating sites that have lost rankings, some of the issues relate directly to the content and how it aligns with the prevailing user intent.
There are many reasons why a site will lose rankings. In a core algo update it’s good to not be locked into one factor. But understanding user intent and how users are satisfied with a search result can sometimes be a good area to begin the investigation.