Google’s core updates

Previous Google created and publicised named algorithm updates like ‘Panda’, ‘Penguin’ and ‘Rankbrain’ focused on introducing a major change to improve the quality of results and Google was fairly open about their goal. Today, this is lesson common, instead Google makes regular updates that it announces through its Search liaison Twitter channel like this:

If you’re wondering what these are, and you’re active in SEO, this post explaining Google’s core updates is a must-read.

Google explains these like this:

“Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.”

The post implies that often, the change will be a result of how content quality is assessed.

The article explains simple questions how you can use to test your content like this, that are part of their E-A-T which stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust guidelines. They give these content and quality questions as examples:

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  • Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?

A glossary example like this would fail these tests, but that’s OK since I’m not trying to rank for this term – just explain the term!

The post gives more examples and also suggests people working on SEO become familiar with their search quality rater guidelines including E-A-T. They explain that raters are people who give us insights on if our algorithms seem to be providing good results, a way to help confirm our changes are working well.

If I wanted to make it meet the guidelines better, I would work on these:

  • Longer – with a table-of-contents and subheadings
  • Answer typical questions searchers might have about this
  • Link to other sources
  • Give separate expert opinions
  • Make more use of visuals
  • Simplifying the language


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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