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Google’s July 2021 core update rolled out quickly; here is what the data providers saw

On July 1, Google began rolling out theJuly 2021 core update, this came about one-month after the June 2021 core update. While the June 2021 core update took more time to roll out and be felt, this July 2021 core update was felt almost immediately in a big way. It is hard to know for sure which update, the June or July core updates, was bigger – because if a site was hit by either of these updates, it can have a really big impact on the site’s Google organic traffic.

We asked several data companies that track Google’s search results to send us impressions of this update. The results from this data showed the while all agree this update was felt very quickly, most the data providers felt the June update was bigger than the July core update..

The facts.Google began rolling out the July 2021 core update at around noon on July 1, 2021. This update has not finished yet and is still rolling out as far as we know. The June 2021 core update, as wepreviously reported, started to roll outaround 6:30pm ETon Wednesday, June 2nd. Like all core updates, this was a global update and was not specific to any region, language or category of web sites. It is a classic “broad core update” that Google releases every several months or so. The previous core update before the back-to-back June and July core update combo, was just shy of a six-month wait period, where theDecember 2020 core updatetook place on Dec. 3rd.

We expect the July 2021 core update to finish rolling out in less than a week, possibly by the end of this week.

Lots of ongoing updates. In the past month, we had about ten updates from Google and only three of those updates were not confirmed by Google. In the most recent order, we had theJuly 2021 core update,Google MUM rolled outthis month, then theJune 28 spam update, theJune 23rd spam update, theGoogle page experience update, theGoogle predator algorithm update, theJune 2021 core updateand then a few unconfirmed updates.

Previous core updates.The most recent previous core update was the June 2021 core update and that update was slow to roll out but a big one. Then we had the December 2020 core updateands the December updatewas very big, bigger than theMay 2020 core update, and that update was alsobig and broadand took acouple of weeks to fully roll out. Before that was theJanuary 2020 core update, we had some analysis on that updateover here. The one prior to that was theSeptember 2019 core update. That updatefelt weakerto many SEOs and webmasters, as many said it didn’t have as big of an impact as previous core updates. Google also released anupdate in November, but that one was specific to local rankings. You can read more about pastGoogle updates over here.

Data providers on the July 2021 core update:

Semrush. The folks at Semrush sent us data comparing the July core update to the June core update. Like the June 2021 Core Update, Semrush said “the July 2021 Core Update was unique in that it did not display prolonged periods of intense rank fluctuations.” However, unlike the June update, “the July update did not seem to show a lag between Google’s announcement and the impact on rankings,” the company added.

The Semrush sensor tool showed a 9.4 spike the day after the update was announced:

Semrush said the June 2021 core update displayed significantly sharper increases in rank volatility. Specifically, the increases in rank volatility were, on average, was 42% more dramatic than what the company tracked during the onset of the July update.

Here is the Semrush volatility by category comparing the two updates:

Were there overlap between sites impacted by the June core update and the July core update? Semrush said “of the 200 domains that made up the most impacted sites (i.e.,100 winners and 100 losers) during the July update, only 15 of them overlapped with the most impacted domains during the June update. However, of those 15 domains, 10 of them saw ranking reversals (i.e., if the domain saw significant ranking losses in June they saw significant increases in July and vice versa).”

RankRanger. RankRanger said like the June core update, the July core update “was a substantial update in comparison to the December 2020 update.” I asked the company to compare the June core update to the July core update and the company told me that the June update was indeed bigger than the July update. Based on the June report, it seems like the June core update was bigger than the July core update by just comparing the charts.

Here is a chart comparing the July core update to the December core update:

Compare that to the June report from RankRanger:

The reason that RankRanger saw this update as being more substantial than the December 2020 update was because of an increase in fluctuations in the top five results. Check out this chart that shows the top five results having a much stronger shift than others:

Compare that to the June 2021 core update data:

Here is a look at this by niche or vertical:

Here is theRankRanger index tracker chartshowing how this update was hit big on a single day unlike the June core update that was spread over a few day period:

Sistrix. Steve Paine from Sistrix told us “as we’ve seen in the visibility data fromother countrieswe have analyzed, many lists and reference sites have been hit.” For example, entertainment sites including lyrics and song information are apparent along with some travel sites too were impacted by this update.“Major SERP changes were detected starting on the July 3rd and the Core Update rollout appears to be complete now,” they said. This is unlike the Semrush and RankRanger data that detected this update on July 2nd.

Here are the top winners from Sistrix:

Here are the top losers from Sistrix:

The SEO community. The July 2021 core update was different from the June 2021 core update in that the community chatter and feedback on the update happened literally within 12-24 hours. Like we said above, it hit fast and in a big way. I was able to cover the community reaction in one blog poston the Search Engine Roundtable.

It is also good to review Glenn Gabe’s Twitter stream of individual sites he tracked being impacted by this update and his commentary around it, make sure to click through and scroll through the thread, here is just a snippet of it:

And here we go. Saw a lot of movement starting yesterday based on the July broad core update. Some sites are seeing big changes very quickly vs the June update. First, some examples of surges during the update so far. And one saw a nice bump in June and more in July. pic.twitter.com/IoJhnXiqy1

— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) July 3, 2021

What to do if you are hit.Google hasgiven adviceon what to consider if you are negatively impacted by a core update in the past. There aren’t specific actions to take to recover, and in fact, a negative rankings impact may not signal anything is wrong with your pages. However, Google has offered a list ofquestions to consider if your site is hit by a core update. Google did say you can see a bit of arecovery between core updatesbut the biggest change you would see would be after another core update.

Why we care.It is often hard to isolate what you need to do to reverse any algorithmic hit your site may have seen. When it comes to Google core updates, it is even harder to do so. If this data and previous experience and advice has shown us is that these core updates are broad, wide and cover a lot of overall quality issues. The data above has reinforced this to be true. So if your site was hit by a core update, it is often recommended to step back from it all, take a wider view of your overall web site and see what you can do to improve the site overall.

We hope you, your company and your clients did well with this update.


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