After the July 2021 core update which rolled out on July 1, 2021, Google rolled out another broad core update on November 17, 2021, at around 11 am ET. The November 2021 Core Update rollout hit hard within the first 24 hours of the announcement and then slowed.
November 2021 Core Update
Unlike other previous announcements on core updates which were done on the Search Liaison account, the rollout of the November 2021 Core Update was announced on Google’s Search Central Twitter account.
This third core update will typically take about a week or two to fully roll out.
Usually, Google releases one or more changes several times a year to improve its search results. Sometimes these changes aren’t noticeable, but help Google incrementally continue to improve. Sometimes an update–like a core update – may be more noticeable. In such cases, Google says that it aims to confirm such updates when it feels there is actionable information that site owners, content producers or others might take in relation to them. For instance, when Google’s “Speed Update” happened, the company gave months of advanced notice and advice. This explains how important core updates are. They involve broad improvements to Google Search, where substantial changes are made to Google’s ranking processes, which target search overall instead of targeting specific categories of websites.
As of now, nobody knows exactly what changes the new update had already caused or will bring about, or how it will affect SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). However, the Search Engine Roundtable reported that many webmasters are already reporting major traffic changes on their sites or client sites. Many expressed their dismay through Twitter.
According to the Search Engine Roundtable, the update caused big volatility in Google Search results, with early big changes happening in the first 48 hours of the rollout and some 8 days later.
Data providers such as Semrush, RankRanger, SISTRIX, and seoClarity also confirmed that the November 2021 core update hit hard and then slowed very quickly in terms of their volatility tracker. According to Semrush, “the health sector saw 41% more volatility on both desktop and mobile in the November 2021 core update than it did back in the July 2021 core update. The health sector is often more impacted by core updates than other sectors”.
Though this update looks more volatile than the last ones to date, what we can do is follow Google’s good old advice that doesn’t change much from update to update. If you are worried, check out Google’s guidance regarding broad core algorithm updates. It includes advice such as:
- Expect spikes or drops in search rankings.
- Core updates don’t target anything specific, rather, they’re designed to improve Google’s systems overall.
- Pages that drop in rankings is being reassessed against other web content that has been published since the last update; not penalized.
- To deal with the impact of a core algorithm update, focus on providing the best possible content as it is the top recommended way.
- Make up your mind to deal with these changes frequently because broad core updates happen every few months and websites might not recover from one update until the next one rolls out.
- Though improvements do not guarantee recovery, choosing not to implement any improvements will virtually guarantee no recovery.
It has been noticed that the 2021 November Core Update is having a higher impact on mobile rankings, which according to Semrush, might be the “new normal” when it comes to broad core algorithm updates. So make sure to pay attention to the site’s mobile experience and performance.
Google rolled out this update before the start, and likely during (assuming this is a normal two week rollout), the biggest online holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were less than two weeks away. This stirred up conversations on multiple forums and discussion platforms among worried website owners, especially those who were ready for the holiday season. They called the November 2021 core update a deal breaker because it caused rankings to go up, go down or remain stable. Former Googler Matt Cutts said that previously Google took breaks before the holiday shopping season, as it was Google’s gift to webmasters.
When it comes to Google core updates, it is hard to isolate what you need to do to reverse any algorithmic hit your site may have seen. Core updates are broad, wide and cover a lot of overall quality issues. So, if your site is hit by a core update, it is often recommended to step back from it all, take a wider view of your overall website and see what you can do to improve the site overall.
When a new Google broad core algorithm update rolls out, understanding the key ranking factors is important to maintain your position and stay ahead of the competition. As a company offering organic search engine optimization Long Island, we keep track of all search engine algorithmic updates and can help you prepare for them.