Something happened starting around the 15th November. Google tweaked their algorithm enough that people noticed. However, Google haven’t confirmed a core algorithm update so what happened?

November 2018 Google Algorithm Update
Photo credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
  • There were definite indications of big ranking fluctuations in UK on 15th November
  • By 20th November there were further, less dramatic, fluctuations that some believed could be a partial rollback from the 15th November changes
  • On 22nd November there were more reports of significant ranking fluctuations
  • It didn’t end there, on 30th November there were further reports of ranking fluctuations!

A Rollback?

Many had wondered if the changes on 22nd November could have been the reversal of the ‘Medic update’ which saw many health and medical sites take a hit with data being left skewed. An August update left some speculating that there was a potential Medic update rollback, however this does not seem to have been a full rollback, simply some fixes. However, these could have been part of Google’s plan to slowly rollback on the Medic update.

Following this online conversation, Black Hat World and Twitter began reporting regains in their traffic – especially in the medical sector a good indication of a rollback on the Medic update.

An extract from Marie Haynes twitter feed Photo credit: Marie Hayne’s Twitter

So What Has Changed?

Some sites surged, and some sites tanked in the rankings… which is not unusual around an update. However, being unconfirmed by the big boss, its isn’t entirely clear what this update was around. What we have noticed is that across some of our own clients that there have been drops with our keyword rankings around this period however, we are slowly increasing keywords rankings as we move away from this period. This along with internet chatter shows that something definitely happened, however Google is yet to confirm this.

In unconfirmed instances like this, only time will tell the damage or even improvements a sneakily released update will have. Maybe even an update from Google would speed up the process!

What Should You Do?

In the meantime, if you have seen ranking drops that have not started to recover then it will be worth planning some content and backlink audits in the New Year to understand why your webpages have been deprioritised in the rankings. Search results analysis will also allow you to see who Google is now prioritising and competitor analysis can give you some learnings on what you may need to improve in your own content.

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