Whenever Google announces a change to their ranking algorithm, it tends to strike panic in many website owners – especially those that don’t understand how the search engines work and what’s necessary for search engine optimization (SEO). By learning some of the most common terminologies, you can better prepare yourself for when these changes happen, because they happen often; it’s just that not all algorithm updates are created equally.
What is a Broad Core Update?
A broad core update is an improvement (or various improvements) to the overall Google algorithm that’s used to understand users’ search queries and websites better. These improvements aim to improve Google’s accuracy in matching search queries for better user experience and satisfaction.
In this kind of update, Google isn’t targeting sites of any particular niche or ranking signals, such as quality. This is not the case for all updates, such as the Mobilegeddon update in April 2015 when the mobile-friendly ranking factor was given preference, and when mobile-first indexing followed years later. With these updates, there is nothing to fix to improve your ranking if it’s lost as a result – all you can do is continue to focus on creating quality content, building backlinks, and sending social signals.
The algorithm is updated this way multiple times per year, but generally speaking, broad core updates are done to incorporate new features into the algorithm that change how sites are ranked.
For instance, one of the 2018 broad core updates incorporated what Google referred to as Neural Matching. It was aimed at helping the algorithm better understand concepts using AI. It wasn’t targeting anything at all – just aimed at improving the relevance of websites in the search results to ensure they provide more satisfactory answers.
That’s why when Google updates their algorithm, you should push aside the idea that they’re focusing efforts on what they deem poor quality sites, and focus your efforts on making sure you’re as relevant as possible to your audience for the keywords and phrases you’re trying to rank for.
March 2019 Broad Core Update: “Florida 2”
Frequently, updates happen, and the SEO community names them to be able to keep up with the changes over time and what each update brings. I’ve written about the Florida Update and why it is still important today. It received the Florida update name because it coincided with the PubCon Florida SEO conference – and there are whispers that this update will also coincide with the same conference.
On March 13, 2019, Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison of search, tweeted:
This week, we released a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see these tweets for more about that:https://t.co/uPlEdSLHoXhttps://t.co/tmfQkhdjPL
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 13, 2019
The link to the additional tweets about that points to a tweet from October 2018 that reads: “As explained before, each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Most have little noticeable change but help us continue to improve search incrementally. Sometimes, an update may be more noticeable. We aim to confirm those when we feel there is actionable information that content owners might take. For example, when our Speed Update happened, with gave months of advanced notice and advice….”
While we don’t know the details of this update and don’t expect it to have any significant impacts to current ranking, this is an important update, and it may be reasonable to believe new features to make Google smarter are coming.
What that means for you is to keep focusing on staying relevant to your audience and concentrate on providing quality content.