Google March Core Update – Related to E-A-T SEO Theory for YMYL Sites?
Google introduced a new algorithm update last week which has been named “March 2019 Core Update”. Many sites have seen dramatic improvements and drops in rankings following the launch, with many left wondering what the update was related to.
Some believe that the update was a reversal of the August 2018 update, with the majority of sites that were hit back in August recovering rankings since the latest algorithm update was lost. However, Google said publicly that this wasn’t the case. Has Google been known to say one thing publicly and do another? Of course, so take it for what it’s worth.
Others believe that the update targeted websites with spammy anchor text for a number of inbound links, but this is hard to believe since Google has been cracking down on anchor text distribution since one of the first Penguin updates back in 2012, with Penguin evolving to Penguin 4.0 and beyond since then.
The weeks following a Google update are usually spent by SEO’ers analyzing data and coming up with theories on what types of sites are affected, what can be done to recover rankings, etc.
However, we took a deep dive into all clients’ keyword ranking reports, as well as Google Anaytic organic search results, and did find one interesting factor as it relates to noticeable improvements and/or drops following the launch of the algorithm update.
For one client, a personal injury lawyer with two locations, his primary location saw a dramatic rise in keyword rankings on Google. His location went from 3 keywords ranking at #1 in the Google Local snack page to a dramatic rise, with literally every keyword we’re targeting and tracking for the client now ranking #1.
His second location did see improvements, but nowhere near as dramatic as the improvements in rankings for his primary city and location.
For the client’s primary location page, we have included all client reviews and testimonials on his Google My Business landing page (we setup two different location pages for the client, one for each city), in addition to award badges, a Google Map, and a quick blurb about each practice area. For the client’s secondary landing page, we are in the process of writing new content.
The primary location page might be looked at with a higher amount of E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust) given the number of 5-star testimonials that we’ve included on the page, and with the growing number of people becoming frustrated with competitors and spammers generating fake reviews on their Google My Business profile, along with the number of reviewers who are leaving 1 and 2-star reviews with no comments for businesses that they’ve never visited in order to improve their Google Local Guide authority, is it possible that Google is in the process of shifting the amount of authority that GMB and Yelp Reviews carry away from third-party resources and, instead, trust the reviews and awards provided by the webmasters and business owners?
This is simply a theory at this time, but for 1 or 2 clients who did not see noticeable improvements following last week’s update launch, the E-A-T factors are not focused on. No primary author for routine content, no client testimonials on their websites (or GMB profile), and not many mentions from high-authority websites.
It will be interesting to monitor keyword rankings for all clients over the next couple of weeks, along with the different theories that the SEO industry will come up with, but if you’d like to find out more about how to improve E-A-T feel free to visit any of the following resources:
What is E-A-T? by Marie Haynes Consulting
5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Google E-A-T Rating by Search Engine Journal