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David Hyde
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The world of SEO is keeping a close eye on Google search results this week – as industry reports and data show, that for many, search results are fluctuating and some sites are experiencing a decline in performance - which suggests Google released an update at the weekend.

Google has not confirmed the release of an update or provided any comment, but leaders in the industry say data points to the release of a major search algorithm update. Google releases thousands of updates every year, but it seems spikes in visibility some sites are experiencing points to this being a significant update.

What should I do?

It’s important to state – that not all sites are experiencing a change as a result of this suspected update.

As we always do, we are monitoring the performance of our SEO clients’ sites closely. As an SEO agency, we focus on ensuring our SEO clients’ sites are following all best practice and Google guidelines. This focus means that although some clients may experience negative fluctuations following this (likely) update, performance should recover naturally. There is nothing ‘to fix’ – and instead, we monitor sites closely as Google search results change and stabilise.

If your site has experienced a significant change in search visibility – and performance is not improving, there could be something technically wrong with your site, or you may have been penalised by Google. If you suspect this, contact us. We can help by running an SEO site audit – to identify if there are parts of your website, which need to be optimised or fixed, to prevent a further decline and to recover performance.

2020 Google Updates

So far, in 2020, Google has confirmed two updates.

January Core Update – 13th January 2020

Google confirmed the release of this core update and advised that it could take up to two weeks to completely roll out. This was a broad core algorithm update, which Google tends to release several times a year. The update was described as ‘significant’ – and was said to be an update to the search algorithms the search engine uses to determine the order of results.

As always, Google remained tight-lipped about the exact changes, but our own research and assessment, in line with other experts across the industry – is that this update was focused on recalculating various website trust signals.

This update showed similar characteristics of the two 2019 ‘Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)’ updates which reassessed trust signals in the finance, health and insurance sectors – but also appeared to affect a wider range of industry sectors.

Sites which were negatively affected and have failed to recover may have lost search rank due to old or poor quality content, or because they are not considered the most authoritative answer to the search terms, they rank for. Sites might also be affected by a change in their link profile, because incoming links may be from sites which Google now values as toxic.

Featured Snippet Duplicates – 22nd January 2020

Google announced that sites which appeared in featured snippets would no longer appear below the snippet, in organic results. This is because Google believes the featured snippet is a prominent position in search results, and if a site appears here – there is no need for it to appear in the traditional results below this.

There are expected to be more changes to Featured Snippets and local pack results in the coming months, and there are signs at the time of writing that another core update has started (from the 11th February 2020).