Google Algorithm Core Update of Aug 1, 2018


Following close on the heels of the March and April 2018 Google algorithm updates, on August 1, 2018 Google rolled out one of the biggest algorithm updates ever seen. It was a pretty big update that caused significant volatility across verticals and websites. Google’s Danny Sullivan has confirmed this too is a broad core ranking update just like the earlier 2018 ones.

Google is reported to change its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year. While most of these updates are small and often aren’t even picked up by users and SEO, every once in a while, Google releases major updates like the Google Panda and Google Penguin . Over the past two years alone, we’ve seen about nine major updates to the algorithm.

Organic & Local Ranking Algorithms

This algorithm update appears to have affected both the organic search results and the local maps listings results. Although earlier it was not certain whether the local changes were showing just because of the differences in organic search results, since map listing would be strategically a result of Google organic rankings, local SEO expert Joy Hawkins confirmed that this is definitely an update to, not only  the organic, but also the local ranking algorithms.

Google estimated that it would take over a week for the August 1st update to fully roll out and as predicted, on August 8th, Google confirmed that the update had fully rolled out. Many websites have been impacted by this update. On August 1st itself you saw many people complaining about rankings with tweets and other social media. Here’s some of what they were saying

Yes, Seen in last 3-4 hours, 20-30% decline in traffic.

Yes, my main site has lost pretty much all page 1 rankings, game over.

Huge drop in ranking in the past 24 hours, wow! Its not a speed issue, site loads on average less than 3 seconds. Is anyone else noticing a drop in ranking? Biggest drop I had for more than a year.

My site’s traffic is down from 50k to 35k in last 24 hours with majors changes across all positions. Frop #1 to god knows where.

My last site (controlled by seo company, not me) was killed post march update, went from generating 80k revenue per month to peanuts. After this non sense drop in last 24 hours, I am done.

My competitors are using pop ups, pop unders, ads on click and other garbage while I have zero adsense ads, zero annoying ads or anything.

Although Google does not always announce when they have made an algorithm update, this time they did. Danny Sullivan, using the Search Liaison twitter account essentially told the world that this was a similar update to the March 9th Google update. The problem is that Google hasn’t shared anything specific that webmasters and SEOs should do to fix the drop in their rankings and what, if anything, they can do if the site has been negatively impacted. All Danny Sullivan of Google had to say was

He goes on to say stuff like

Quality & Relevance

So basically what he is saying is that there is nothing specific to change. Just that Google is placing even higher value than ever to Relevance and Quality for websites in particular.

Now what exactly does Relevance mean? John Mueller says that Relevance ‘Includes Quality Overall’. And that includes how you present your website, like sites that provide ads above the fold. He explained this in this Google Webmaster Central Hangout video:


And what about Quality? What does Quality entail? Quite a number of things I’m sure. Quality Content comes at the top of the list as always. Quality User experience is high up there too. SEO? Yes, you bet, quality SEO is important too.

Google has gone on record to say that they want to see significant improvement in quality in the long-term. Therefore you need to implement significant changes for the long term that will improve your site. make sure you don’t roll back changes after a few weeks or a couple of months. That might not be good enough for Google.

Medic Update

On August 8th, Barry Schwartz coined this the Medic Update as a large number of sites in medical niches were affected. However, although many health and medical sites were impacted during this update, they weren’t alone and the update didn’t isolate just those sites! There are so  many other e-commerce sites, entertainment sites, coupons and deals sites,  online gaming sites and more.

Sites that can impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users are extremely important to Google. Therefore, it is common sense that Google would always look to enhance its core ranking algorithm with regard to site & author reputation, and expertise, authoritativeness, and trust (E A T). This is what Google has stressed on in this latest core ranking update of August 1st.

Have you or your clients’ sites been impacted or disrupted in any way? Are you going to take steps and make long term changes to improve their quality, relevance, reputation and trust? It would be interesting know to what extent you have been affected and what you are doing to make Google happy…

August 17, 2018 Update

Google is asking you to provide examples of how the search results are now worse off since after the Google Medic update which was released on August 1st as a core broad Google algorithm update.

Gary Illyes from Google said “give examples (query, location, bad result with explanation) and I’ll forward it to the team, like i did for other people.” He added “note that “OMG my competition is ranking better now” is not a good example.” Here is the tweet if you want to reply to it on Twitter:

This comes from how many are now looking at Panda SEO tips to try to recover from this Medic Update.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Share this post:

Scroll to Top