Google Core Update September 2019 – First Results Visible

Steve Paine
Steve Paine
27. September 2019
Steve Paine
Steve Paine
Steve 'Chippy' Paine is the UK country manager for SISTRIX. "I've been working with the Internet for over 30 years. From copper, to Chrome."

Google calls it a "broad core algorithm update" and a few times a year it rolls through the search results leaving changes in its path. Updates from September 2019 are now visible in the SERPs. Examples winning and losing domains are shown below.

As is now becoming common, Google notified everyone via the @GoogleSearchLiason Twitter account:

As usual, Google doesn’t comment on specific targets or areas that the update will focus on, preferring to continue to hide behind statements that have limited substance.

What is a Google Core Update?

While Google makes small adjustments to the ranking algorithm almost every day which cause movements in the search results, the so-called “Broad Core Algorithm Update” is a major change that is only executed a few times a year. Domains affected by this update typically lose or gain significant visibility in the Google SERPs. The last update was in early June 2019, about 4 months ago.

How can I recognise an affected domain?

While it’s taken a little while since the announcement, we can now measure the first changes in affected domains. Affected domains are showing clear movement in the daily Visibility Index graph from 25.09.2019 , as seen here with dailymail.co.uk :

Core Update Winners

Even though Google remains less than forthcoming about the exact causes and reasons for the Core Update, it can be assumed that the trust that Google has in the content on domains is being re-evaluated. As a result, there will be winners and losers. More data will be available in the coming days but here are already examples that are showing noticeable movement from 25.09.2019

Selected domains with a significant percentage visibility gain Sept 25 - 30

DomainVisibility 25.09Visibility 30.09Gain (percent)
dailymail.co.uk24.393899.8187309.20%
devonlive.com1.05222.043594.21%
nuffieldhealth.com2.8175.15883.10%
theargus.co.uk1.37112.465779.83%
airlinequality.com1.9813.528778.13%
patient.info6.311210.836171.70%
mandco.com1.06911.741862.92%
jardinemotors.co.uk1.09091.52739.98%
spacenk.com1.35331.819834.47%
countrylife.co.uk1.99782.65933.10%
bighospitality.co.uk1.2681.48517.11%
intel.co.uk4.12064.50989.45%

We’re also seeing some movement in the travel sector but due to the closure of thomascook.com this week, we’ll have to wait for more data from that sector.

Core Update Losers

Where there are winners, there have to be losers in Visibility. Early examples of losers are shown below.

Selected domains with a significant percentage visibility loss Sept 25 - 30

DomainVisibility 25.09Visibility 30.09Loss (percent)
smallseotools.com1.73360.8162-52.92%
gamewith.net0.73570.4143-43.69%
flagpedia.net1.25240.7346-41.34%
isawitfirst.com1.59440.9793-38.58%
organicfacts.net1.85581.2226-34.12%
xkcd.com1.92761.3034-32.38%
alternativenation.net1.2880.8731-32.21%
flyordie.com1.24970.8731-30.14%
nationwidevehiclecontracts.co.uk1.35570.9658-28.76%
pampers.co.uk3.97023.056-23.03%
canadagoose.com1.09930.8651-21.30%
skylinewebcams.com1.36951.1327-17.29%

Summary

The examples shown above make it clear that the core update is rolling-out and that it is, once again, affecting health sites. There are also examples of media sites being affected. In Germany and Spain we’ve seen some examples from the travel industry.

The data here is from our latest data-set – 30th Sept 2019. Changes are still being seen in our data and we’ll update if there are major changes. The daily updates and Winners / Losers lists are always available in the Toolbox.

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Comments
Lewis   
27. September 2019, 22:32

These results are amazing. I wish Google would be kind enough to let us know when the update is completed.

Steve Paine   
27. September 2019, 23:34

Good question. Danny Sullivan hinted that the update was ‘live’ but I haven’t seen anything to indicate that the update has completed.

Jordan   
2. October 2019, 11:22

Good to see Nuffield Health back on the list of winners…I look after their SEO and we’ve been struggling since the June core update despite best efforts to follow the E-A-T guidelines.

Steve Paine   
2. October 2019, 13:17

Thanks for the feedback Jordan. I suspect you’re seeing the results of that improved visibility, right?
Steve.

Timothy Theiss   
9. October 2019, 22:20

Mmmh thanks for your article, so it seems to have boosted again “mainstream” media, I tried to see some french newspapers, it seems the same as the Daily Mail.

Aaron Starc   
10. October 2019, 12:16

I think there were some instances reported of traffic loss, but the overall idea in many online discussions is a mix of recoveries and mild wins and losses, nothing drastic as in previous updates.

Christopher Glaeser   
11. October 2019, 20:10

Although our total number of ranking keywords has declined slightly (2.3% drop in top 100), when I drill down into the new/lost/increased/decreased ranking stats for specific keywords, we picked up or improved ranking for keywords that are relevant to our site, and we lost or dropped in ranking for keywords that were not relevant to our site. Thus far, I’m pleased with the update, even though the total number declined.

Christopher

Ricard Menor   
14. October 2019, 06:14

Hi Steve,
I care for 3 legal services.
With regards to these lawyer-related sites, after the YMYL-EAT and your here covered September update, I noticed:
– 1 is gaining some significant momentum over average
– 1 back to high average after hard-worked YMYL possible impact (content curation and rearranging)
– 1 is in pain, despite we’re on slightly + trends (Sept-update?).

I worry SEO people becomming “lawyers” between Google and publishers, rather than technicians-strategists-advisers. Keeping customers on a Google-designed path like sheeps?
I used to feel like an engineer, and I like the feeling… Want it for u guys too. More “dare to” and some less “download latest Quality Rater’s Guide”…
Perhaps it is only Monday 😉

You mentioned Thomas Cook. That is another front I need to follow (a number of tourism related customers) but rather an offline, tangible world strategy matter. Different kind of pain.

Thanks for sharing your insights, Steve. Nice week for all.