This week’s #searchdrop covers the initial findings of the May the 4th algorithm update which seems to have impacted thin content pages, local SERPs, aggregators and directories, as well as impacting SERPs features. We also look into what John Mueller has recently said about the BERT update and negative SEO.
Last week in #searchdrop we discussed the announcement of Google’s recent algorithm update and what to ensure you’re monitoring for any issues caused by it. You can see last weeks release here.
This week, we’re covering the initial findings of the algorithm as its rollout continues. Thanks to Roger Montti’s consolidation of findings from a range of agencies worldwide, we’re able to get a clearer picture of what is happening globally.
The effects of the algorithm will continue to be felt for a few weeks longer before this updated algorithm becomes the new normal, so keep your eyes on your analytics and your bookmark to search console at the ready.
For the original story see here
John Mueller Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google has long been a connection between the SEO community and Google, offering advice and support where possible – and without giving out too much information on the algorithm!
Recently, John discussed two topics which we thought were of interest and worthy of mentioning in this weeks searchdrop – the BERT ‘update’ and negative SEO.
John recently discussed the BERT ‘update’ and although not covering the suspected link to searcher intent, John did describe the update as “a web of better understanding text. It’s not a ranking change in that sense.” This means that BERT works to understand the ‘context’ of your copy, which will relate to the intent of the search and the terms used.
John also said the following around the types of terms impacted by the BERT update. “Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like ‘for’ and ‘to’ matter a lot to the meaning, search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query.”
So if you think you were hit by BERT, it’s worth considering how you’re serving users that are searching with these more conversational search queries. Does your content suitably cover the topic enough to be a ‘catch all’ for all intents and phrasing for your chosen topic?
This is a term used to describe the practice of attempting to get a competitors site penalised by Google by pointing poor quality links (often adult in nature) to their site. This has however been a long disputed tactic… Do people actually do it?
John Mueller doesn’t believe so (in most cases) –“Usually the cases where I see that something around negative SEO is happening are kind of the cases where you would look at them manually. You would say, well this looks like maybe someone has built these links up over the past.”
However he does mention how Google’s algorithm is getting much better at understanding what links to ignore and when links are built unnaturally.
It’s difficult to protect against negative SEO. You can however ensure the below is in place: