Another Google update happened in June that you might have missed

Earlier this month, Google did something unusual. It announced an algorithm update in advance and even gave it an exciting name – the June 2019 Core Update.

The update took five days to roll out completely, however, a number of big-name brands experienced pretty immediate changes to their traffic levels, such as web gargantuan the Daily Mail, who reported a 50% loss in Google traffic virtually overnight.

While many in the search community were busy panicking about what this update meant for them, another –  but totally different – algorithm change happened at the same time, which in comparison, rather went under the radar. This one was also given a name: The Diversity Update.

Why the need for a diversity update?

Rolling out between the 4th and 6th of June, this one occurred in response to frequent feedback and aimed to tackle a lack of domain variety in search results.

You may have experienced this yourself – you enter a search term into Google, only to be presented with a results page that is broadly comprised of many different results from the same domain.

A lot of users felt like this only resulted in the biggest sites growing their monopoly of SERPs even further, adding to a growing feeling that Google had a lack of concern for result diversity.

This update, however (which, side note, Danny Sullivan actually doesn’t consider to be an update), will mean that now a maximum of two listings from the same domain will appear in the top results for any given query.

There must be some exceptions, right?

I’m glad you asked. This announcement was naturally accompanied by a number of caveats:

  • Only core listings will be affected, not the SERP features such as featured snippets, map results, top stories, people also ask, etc.
  • Google reserves the right to show more than two listings when suitable, for example, for branded queries.
  • Sub-domains will be treated as part of the root domain, and will therefore count towards the allotted two results (apart from when Google deems it appropriate for the subdomain to be treated as a separate site).

As ever, we can expect this to evolve with time and continue to be worked upon. SERPs aren’t expected to change overnight – something which many SEOs were quick to point out:

How do I know if I’ve been impacted?

This is a tricky one. The June 2019 Core Update rolled out at the same time, but is an unrelated change, so your site may have been affected by one and not the other.

If you’ve seen changes to your domain’s performance in the first two weeks of June, likelihood is that your domain was affected in some way, but it might be hard to attribute this to only one of the updates.

Once again, Danny Sullivan (Google’s Search Liaison) thinks differently and says the updates are different enough that you should be able to distinguish any changes you see in Search Console and Analytics.

Whilst it’s hard right now to untangle the two updates, as the dust settles in the next couple of weeks we can expect things to become clearer, and the industry can start to draw conclusions about what industries or types of sites have been affected.

If you’d like help in identifying what the Google updates mean for you and your site, or about Croud’s SEO services, get in touch.

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