You heard it here first guys – Google have confirmed another core algorithm update, the 4th of 2015 in fact, after the Quality & Mobile updates of May & April along with an un-named update earlier in February. It comes as no surprise to the SEO team here at Digital Next as we’ve been expecting some form of update in the past few weeks and Google has now officially confirmed it.

What’s changed now then?

Well the first thing we know is that is wasn’t a Panda, Penguin or HTTPS-related update and continues Google’s trend of making their algorithm more and more complex. Although we are also expecting another Panda update to be announced shortly.

Google has released the following statement:

“This is not a Panda update. As you know, we’re always making improvements to our search algorithms and the web is constantly evolving. We’re going to continue to work on improvements across the board.”

Similar to their statement back in May, we’re certain that this has everything to do with the earlier mentioned Quality update, targeting sites that now fall down on Google’s updated search guidelines. This periodic table of Quality should give you an idea:

periodic table

How has it affected sites?

Although Google announced the core algorithm update on the 18th of June, we saw a number of spikes in Google SERP positions for a variety of projects, both up and down, with some examples below:

SERP Improvements


SERP Decreases

decreaseTaken from our ranking tool, these spikes in traffic echo the changes seen in many automated ranking tools such as Mozcast and Raven Tools, and we suspected this could have been a HTTPS update until Gary Illyes of Google shot that theory down on Twitter.

How Can We Fix It?

In short, you go back to the drawing board and run through many of the ranking factors highlighted in the periodic table above. This year’s Google updates should give you a big idea of how they’re changing Search, particularly with Mobile audiences.

Start with key health checks, such as:

  1. On-Site Audit – Usability reports to focus on improving User path, call-to-action etc.
  2. Meta Data Audit – Ensure all meta data is relevant and complies with up-to-date guidelines
  3. Read your content – Again, ensure it is all relevant to your product or service, and offer as many additional resources as you can (within reason)
  4. Get Social – Social Media signals play a huge part in drawing traffic to your site – do you have up-to-date pages? Make sure you can engage with your visitors as much as possible!
  5. Backlinks – Have a look at what’s natural and what’s not. Is it relevant and should it be there?

Once you’ve run through this you should see if an issue lies in your current set-up, and if not it may be worth looking for a little help. You’ll be back here soon enough, as mentioned above we’re expecting the next Panda update anytime soon!

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