The first official update Google made in March 2019 has affected search results in Google’s index nationally. The update came out on 12th March 2019, and in this post, we’ll discuss the effects it has had on sites across the board.
Changes to Health Website SEO
The analysis shows Google is continuing to fine-tune its search results for sensitive topics, such as health questions. We saw two updates last year that affected this industry, and now we have a third that is certainly having a big impact.
Looking at websites that are the overall ‘winners’ from last year we can see several are now ‘losers’ from the latest update. Some websites have actually lost HALF of their SEO visibility after the March update. On the other hand, we can see some health websites benefiting from the decline of their competition. Websites that were hit worst by the 2018 EAT update have actually seen a boost from the March update in 2019.
Google Values Trust
Google is starting to favour websites – especially if users searching for sensitive (YMYL) keywords – that are able to provide a much higher level of trust. Websites with a strong brand profile are the main beneficiaries of this. This means that smaller and more niche websites are seeing themselves fall in the rankings.
Health websites were hit hardest by this, and sites dealing with niche topics all saw their traffic fall by around two-thirds compared to before the update. A lot of sites also experienced similar losses in turnover. From Google’s point of view, various sites have lost some of their ‘expert’ status as a result of the update.
The Importance Of User Signals
Google’s algorithm update has increased the weighting of user signals when it comes to calculating rankings. Results have shown that domains with improved SEO visibility following Google’s core update have higher value for ‘time on site’ and ‘page views’, with a lower bounce rate.
If we look at the winners and losers of the update we can see that there a big gap between them when it comes to ‘time on site’ – there is an average of 26% more time on site for winners than losers. This is the same for PPV (Page Per Visit) and bounce rate statistics.
Google has had its first algorithm update of 2019, and you might be asking how can you and your business cope with it if it has affected your rankings and SEO visibility? Put simply, you need to build up your brand trust, make sure you follow Google’s quality rater guidelines and meet your user expectations by optimising for user intent and providing exactly what the user is looking for.
If you think you need help making sure your site is properly optimised after Google’s algorithm update, contact Embryo Digital, and see how our SEO specialists can help your business become an SEO ‘winner’.