Google Core Update: More Content and News sites affected

Johannes Beus
Johannes Beus
5. June 2019
Johannes Beus
Johannes Beus
Johannes Beus ist Gründer und Geschäftsführer von SISTRIX.

The latest Google Core was pre-announced by Google at the weekend and since the beginning of the week, the search engine has been working through deep changes in its algorithm. Today we see the first impact on the search results. More details in this blog post.

It’s unusual for Google to publicly announce updates to the core algorithm, but this Sunday, Google announced an update for this week through its official Twitter account, and confirmed on Monday that it will be rolled out:

Yesterday, 4th June, we measured no significant changes in the SERPs, but it looks very different today, and many domains are gaining or losing Google search visibility.

What are Google Updates?

While Google makes hundreds of small changes to the algorithm each year, there are relatively few major updates. These so-called core updates are at the heart of the ranking algorithm and can cause major shifts in Google’s search results.

The theory behind these core updates is that Google is increasingly switching the formation of search algorithms from classic man-made algorithms to machine-generated (Machine Learning) rules. You can find out more about ML and search in this blog post.

How will I know if a domain is affected?

While yesterday we were not able to measure any major changes in the SERPs, today’s data clearly shows the impact of the core update. In the daily Visibility Index of the Toolbox you can see changes from 05.06. on 06.06. :

Who are the winners?

The Core Updates produce both winners and losers. Google re-evaluates domains and adjusts their rankings accordingly. A selection of winners for the Google UK index is shown below:

Selection of domains with significant increases in visibility
DomainVisibility 29.05Visibility 05.06Gain (percent)
mirror.co.uk57.8389.1754%
thesun.co.uk62.1495.5054%
autoexpress.co.uk24.2335.6647%
huffpost.com34.6449.8644%
parkers.co.uk13.9218.9836%
healthline.com138.09184.1133%
inews.co.uk10.4313.4829%
verywellhealth.com20.1325.9229%
metro.co.uk50.9364.9027%
asos.com56.3069.0823%
freepik.com15.3418.8123%
macmillandictionary.com77.5793.9921%
lumenlearning.com10.4712.6221%
sciencedaily.com10.7712.9720%
hsamuel.co.uk14.2316.9719%
delish.com12.7015.1319%
softfamous.com12.0914.3719%
gettyimages.co.uk41.4049.1119%
tumblr.com14.2316.8819%
psychologytoday.com37.7844.7819%

It is noticeable that in this round, the breadth of affected domains is wider. News media sites are noticeable among the visibility winners of the update along with a few retail sites, health-related and images sites.

What domains lost visibility?

Since the number of total results in such an update does not change, there will always be a counter-reaction. The following examples have significantly lost visibility in the current update:

Selection of domains with significant drops in visibility
DomainVisibility 29.05Visibility 05.06Loss (percent)
mercola.com11.195.56-50%
dailymail.co.uk116.3066.79-43%
nuffieldhealth.com6.023.93-35%
humblebundle.com5.123.38-34%
draxe.com15.4110.65-31%
mindbodygreen.com8.616.00-30%
prevention.com5.924.20-29%
nfl.com11.458.74-24%
wondershare.com14.0111.02-21%
ganeshaspeaks.com6.775.33-21%
mountainwarehouse.com6.295.03-20%
iceland.co.uk6.365.10-20%
findmeagift.co.uk7.626.16-19%
nintendolife.com5.964.84-19%
cntraveller.com5.324.34-18%
psycom.net5.154.22-18%
cv-library.co.uk11.579.51-18%
vimeo.com75.4262.35-17%
bmstores.co.uk14.7412.28-17%
sparknotes.com13.9011.60-17%

Among the losers we can see many from the “Your Money, Your Life” category. Again though, news media and retail are included which keeps the field wide.

Conclusion

Everything seems to be normal – and yet something is different! Not only did Google pre-announce this update for the first time, but also the field of affected domains seems to be wider in this Google Core update than in previous updates.

A significant feature of the UK changes is the crossover between dailymail.co.uk, one of the big losers, and mirror.co.uk and thesun.co.uk who are clearly on the winning side. Metro, which belongs to the Daily Mail Group, however, is in the winning list along with iNews.

The Core Update roll-out will continue through the week across the globe and the changes will be reflected in our Toolbox data.

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Comments
Chris Lever   
5. June 2019, 14:46

Interestingly some of those sites that took a dip are heavily reliant on programmatic and intrusive advertising. If machine learning is taking more prominence, maybe they don’t like ads.

Jason Mills   
5. June 2019, 20:45

I think Chris’ comment is an interesting one. None of my client sites or my own personal sites run ads, and if anything we have seen marginal gains across the board over the last two days. Although the data above points towards significant changes already in the SERPS I can’t help but think we are still only seeing part of this so far.

I won’t go further with speculation as I don’t think it particularly helps with purely anecdotal evidence. I will be following further Sistrix updates closely.

Joseph Doohan   
9. June 2019, 21:56

I had 2 personal finance websites, 1 littered with ads and 1 ad free with AMP, both were getting 1000+ traffic a day, yet both have been pretty wiped out after that update. I am so surprised that the user optimised site got hit even harder than the slow, ad filled site. This update is baffling!!

Muideen Samuel   
10. June 2019, 18:59

Google really needs a lot with the June 2019 core update, lots of site are loosing traffic.
To my point of view I think the updates favors sites with fresh backlinks and much contents with value.

Yogendra   
11. June 2019, 15:08

I have 12 sites and none of it got affected! Only saw 120% increase on AMP pages!

Yes, on health niche website, I saw a drop of 8% for tablet devices.

However, only after a month, we should come to a conclusion on any Google algo update.

Let’s wait and watch. 😀

Ibezim chukwuemerie   
14. June 2019, 02:56

These algorithm updates are far more complicated than we SEOs can imagine. My site got hit at the medic update, i logged in to twitter only to see the same “focus on content” blah blah blah. It’s damages to rankings are simply irreversible..😷😷😾😾

SEO Hungary   
14. June 2019, 08:44

Good to know…. update again, but deff need it, our websites got better positions.

Fahad   
17. June 2019, 08:01

Hello Johannes,
Thanks for taking the time out writing a comprehensive article on the recently applied core update by Google.
The update brought in changes on our news blog too. The search visibility decreased and Google Discover traffic also dropped.
May 2019 was an amazing month for us in terms of traffic from Google Search & Discover both.
Let’s hope everything settles.
Thanks for the article.

Think Tank Lab   
27. June 2019, 00:32

It seems Google needs to dial it back a bit on the June Core Update. Have you looked at deeper in the search results past the first 3-4 pages? It’s tons of garbage sites with very low quality content.

Sukal   
1. July 2019, 11:32

I noticed that nuffieldhealth.com lost 35% of its Google presence. We noticed a similar drop in our rankings over a certain period after the update. We are still trying to overcome this drop but finding it difficult to gain momentum.

Any pointers for a healthcare business as what they can do to get back their rankings?

Steve Paine   
10. July 2019, 13:17

Hi Sukal.

I’m just preparing a new article that relates to health. Keep an eye out for it on the blog, probably today.
Thanks. Steve.

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