Google November 2021 Core Update Rolls Out – What Happened?

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Google rolled out a new broad core update on November 17th 2021, which completed on November 30th 2021.

If you saw any volatility in your rankings or organic traffic on or after November 17th, then it may be that you have been affected by the roll out of the November 2021 broad core update.

Google last rolled out a core update through June and July 2021 and has tended to release one every few months. So this new update is not unexpected. Before that, Google rolled out the December 2020 core update.

What’s this November broad core update all about?

As has become the norm, there is no specific ambition for this update. It is simply Google rolling out a new update in order to improve the search results for users of Google.

What has been put under the microscope is the timing of this update. November is host to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have become very big days for online shoppers and ecommerce retailers.

By shaking up the search results, many members of the SEO community were unhappy with Google choosing to roll out an update in what is already a frantic period.

Despite this, Google’s Search Liaison defended the choice, as most people would not see the impact anyhow. Core updates are not aiming ot create havoc for specific businesses. All core updates have come with the same key advice of maintaining SEO best practice in order to continue to rank in the search results. If you are following these guidelines, then you need not worry. Google is continuing to fine-tune the search results in order to provide the best possible search experience and present the best possible results.

What happened in the search results?

The volatility of the search engine result pages (or SERPs) was quite high, with the data below showing we entered red territory after it launched (denoted as very high). However it quickly came crashing back down, with another couple of peaks along the way, culminating in one final hurrah on November 30th.

What do I need to do next?

As it stands, there is nothing you need to do as an SEO or business owner as long as you continue to follow Google’s guidelines and aren’t doing anything shady to manipulate the search results. There are no specific actions you can or should take in order to recover lost rankings or to combat the latest update.

Sites can often be impacted by a new core update dropping, but if you are seeing particular pages being impacted then it does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with those pages in particular.

The core update is simply reassessing which content is the best result for a specific query someone has searched for.

Google’s advice remains the same:

There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better. One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before. The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.

In order to ensure your website continues to rank well, you should focus on providing the best possible content for your target audience which answers any potential queries they search for.

You should make sure any content you put onto your website:

  • Provides original information or research
  • Includes a substantial description of the topic
  • Provides insightful analysis or information
  • Is original and does not replicate existing content
  • Has a headline which is descriptive and outlines the content
  • Is the sort of content you find useful and would pass onto friends or colleagues
  • Instils trust in the reader
  • Is spelt correctly
  • Is styled well and is easy to read
  • Displays well on all devices
  • Provides equal or better value than competitors within your space
  • Serves the interests of potential customers or visitors to the site rather than existing just to rank well

If you have been impacted by the latest update, or any Google update, and aren’t sure on what you can do next, then do get in touch with the team at Xanthos. We would be very happy to discuss the performance of your website and/or SEO efforts and advise on the next steps to help your business excel online.