SEO Articles

Why you should add links to a new post as soon as possible

Why you should add links to a new post as soon as possible

You write these beautiful blog posts. You put a lot of effort into them. However, it can take a while for Google to pick up on your new blog posts and show them in the search results. So is there any way to speed up that process? Well, links to your post can help. It makes sense that obtaining external links to your post will take a bit of time. But what about internal links? Do you always make sure to point some internal links towards that newly released post? Do you give your site that kind of SEO love? In this post, I’ll talk about the importance of adding internal links to new posts and pages and give you tips on how to easily do that!

Why should you add internal links to new posts?

Google crawls through your site by following your internal links. If a certain post or page has a lot of internal links, Google will come there more often than on pages or posts with little internal links pointing towards them. A new post does not have any internal text links going towards it. It will probably have a link from the homepage and from a category or a tag page. But that’s about it. Unless you add some links from other posts and pages. And that is a task you should always do right away, after hitting publish. Give your site some SEO love by adding a few internal links from other posts and pages to this new one.

If you add those internal links, Google will come around more often on your new page. Google will deem it more important. And that will result in a higher chance to rank high in the search engines. Moreover, your own visitors will have more chances to find and read your new article, by clicking on one of the links on one of your other pages.

Tips on how to add internal links

Adding internal links isn’t a hard task. It’s just something you need to do. But how do you do it fast and efficiently? And what should you take into account when choosing articles to link from? And, isn’t there a way to make this easier? Let me walk you through some tips!

Make it part of your routine

Adding internal links to new posts and pages should be part of your SEO routine. You could make it a habit of doing it every time you hit publish. If you write a lot of articles, you could also decide to add internal links to newly published posts every week. But it needs to be something you do on a regular basis. Otherwise, your new articles will not have their best chance in the search engines.

Asses the importance of your new article

Not every article is of equal importance. Some of your articles are really lengthy and elaborate. You probably want to rank highest with those. For instance, I have written an ultimate guide to site structure. That is my most important article about site structure. This article you are reading now is far less important than that ultimate guide. This article does deserve some internal links, but not as many as an ultimate guide would need. The number of internal links you incorporate into other articles thus depends on the importance of the article you’re publishing.

Always link in context

It may sound easy. Just add internal links and Google will come around more often. That’ll lead to higher rankings. This only works if you link in context. This means that you should link from articles that are related to the article you’re linking towards. The links should make sense and actually be useful to your user.

For example, if I write an article about how to take care of guinea pigs, I could link from articles about how to take care of rabbits or dogs for example. Linking from an article about ballet shoes to that article about guinea pigs does not make sense. Those internal links will not be beneficial to your rankings, because Google will see that as a trick. Google is really smart. Google understands texts. That means that you should always make sure to link in such a way that the link is valuable to your audience.

Use the orphaned content workout!

It can be difficult to choose the right articles to incorporate those internal links in. Especially if you have a larger site, it might be hard to keep track of everything you (or your team) have written. At Yoast, we definitely have that problem :-)! In Yoast SEO Premium, we have a wonderful workout – the orphaned content workout– that could really help you with adding internal links.

The orphaned content workout is specifically designed to recognize and solve orphaned content. Orphaned content is an article without any internal links pointing towards them. So, any newly published article is in fact orphaned content. The workout in Yoast SEO Premium will give you suggestions on which articles are best suited to include an internal link towards your newly published article. And in a quick and easy workflow, we’ll help you to add those links as well.

The 1st step in the orphaned content workout in Yoast SEO Premium

Evaluate your internal linking structure every now and then

If you have a lot of content on your website or if you adding a lot of content to your site, it is really important to evaluate your internal linking strategy regularly. Your most important articles should have the most internal links pointing towards them. If you do that correctly, you’ll be ranking with the content you want to rank with.

Adding a lot of content and adding a lot of internal links, could lead to a shift in your internal linking structure (even without you realizing it). Check your internal linking structure by clicking through our ‘cornerstone approach’ workout every now and then. In that workout, we’ll ask you what your most important articles are and check whether or not those articles have the most internal links pointing towards them. We’ll also help you to add internal links, if necessary.

Love your site and add those internal links to new posts

If you publish a new article, you want that article to do well in the search engines, right? You want your audience to find it and read it. So, put in that extra bit of SEO love and add a few internal links from the other pages and posts on your website. It’s not hard work. It’s just a little love and an important part of your SEO maintenance. And let’s spread that SEO love!

Read more: Internal linking for SEO: Why and how? »

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2021 Google updates round up: everything businesses need to win at search

2021 Google updates round up: everything businesses need to win at search

30-second summary:

There have been three core updates in 2021, released in June, July, and November, while another was rumored but unconfirmed in October
Featured snippets that fell under the YMYL algorithm were unexpectedly removed in February, then restored in March
Product reviews came under the microscope in April, with marketing and sales-centric language penalized in favor of expertise on review-centric websites
Multiple spam updates unfolded throughout the year, though these updates should not impact any website that follows Google’s guidelines

Successful SEO strategy is akin to dancing the tango with Google updates. Unfortunately for copywriters, the Big G can be an unpredictable partner at times. In addition to daily algorithm tweaks that go unnoticed, we all brace ourselves for core updates that have a sizeable impact on page ranking and performance. Throughout 2021, Google has confirmed a handful of updates.

Further updates have also been speculated by experienced web-based professionals, reporting these to aid others in remaining on the right side of an adjustment. Throughout this guide, we’ll discuss the updates rolled out by Google in 2021 to date.

Complete list of 2021 Google updates

As promised, let’s review all the algorithm updates issued by Google during 2021, major and minor alike. Some of these are official, confirmed by Alphabet themselves. The core updates are an obvious example of this. Others were noticed by webmasters of influential brands and discussed online. These unconfirmed updates are marked in red below.

1. Passage indexing (February)

The passage indexing update, announced in October 2020, is probably better described as passage ranking. The purpose behind the update is simple and noble. It will pick out one particular sentence or paragraph from a long-form article, aiding a niche web query and avoiding irrelevance.

Essentially, this update seeks out keywords and terminology in an entire article rather than focusing primarily on titles and subheadings. At the time of writing, Google projects that this will impact around 7 percent of search queries. At this point, the passage indexing update also only applies to copy written in US English, though this will eventually become global and translingual policy.

Now, you may be wondering how this differs from a featured snippet. The short answer is that a snippet is chosen based on the whole web page, seeking relevance to the subject at hand in all aspects of the query. The passage indexing update can pick up on a small element of a broader discussion that would otherwise be banished to the mid-page and beyond. Speaking of featured snippets, however…

2. Featured snippet drop/featured snippet recovery (February and March)

In mid-February, MozCast noticed that featured snippets vanished from countless SERPs on Google. This involved a decline of some 40 percent, the largest in over six years. Snippets that revolved around medical or financial advice were particularly impacted. Some of the keywords and terms that experienced this plummet included:

Acne
Autism
Diabetes
Fibromyalgia
Investment
IRA
Lupus
Mutual funds
Pension
Risk management

As you’ll see, the YMYL broad algorithm appeared to be a particular bone of contention. We’ll never know for sure, as this update – if indeed there was an update – has never been confirmed or denied by Google. What’s more, around a month later, these snippets returned as though they had never been away.

Without any explanation behind the mystery, it’s impossible to offer advice to webmasters on how to avoid a future unwarned absence of featured snippets. The fact that YMYL was hit so hard suggests that it was a deliberate action, though. Whenever working within this niche, proceed with caution – especially if relying on SERPs for ecommerce opportunities.

3. Product review update (April)

April’s product review update was also critical to ecommerce sites and those that collate product insights. Google is adamant that this has not been a core update. However, the approach that content marketers must now take mirrors the core updates that arose later in the year.

Following the review update, it’s more important than ever that product reviews remain strictly factual. That means discussing a product’s qualities (or lack thereof) without clear and obvious attempts to push for a sale from an affiliate. Sites that used their copy to talk up the qualities of a product using popular keywords and directing consumers toward Amazon were typically penalized.

Thin copy, as always, captured Google’s attention too, and not in a positive manner. Meaningless, fluffy words designed to pad out a page, along with repetition, will see a page slide down the rankings. A product review site that hopes to remain in good stead with Google must remember the fundamental rules of E-A-T. You can still attempt to make a sale, but not at the expense of demonstrating expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

4. Multitask Unified Model aka MUM (June)

June was a busy month for Google, starting with the Multitask Unified Model update, better known as MUM. This update could be considered a logical extension of the previously discussed passage indexing update. MUM also used AI to improve the search experience for users, replacing BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers).

It’s claimed that MUM is at least 1,000 times more powerful than its predecessor. In addition to providing greater, much more insightful data for users, MUM works to eradicate language barriers, including misspellings, leaning upon nuance to meet the expectations of a search.

Perhaps more importantly, MUM means that irrelevant content, picked up through a questionable use of keywords to game the SEO system, will soon disappear from the top of the page in favor of more appropriate content. The core update that came later in the month garnered most of the headlines, but don’t sleep on the impact of MUM.

5. Spam updates (June)

Next in June came a spam update, which took place over two weeks. In theory, this update should not have impacted any website operating under white hat SEO rules. It was designed purely to keep content relevant and appropriate, battling against sinister tactics.

As always, though, there was room for error with this update. It’s always advisable to keep on top of the latest webmaster guidelines laid out by Google. This way, a site is considerably less likely to fall foul to a misunderstanding and accusations of black hat traffic-hoarding.

Updates to Google’s Predator algorithm could also be considered a crucial part of this update. Google has been taking lengths to protect people from harassment online, and a big part of this is downgrading sites that seemingly exist purely to denigrate a reputation.

6. Page experience update (June)

Page experience update sounds like a grand event, comparable even to a core update. In reality, this was a pretty low-key affair. It was also a slow procession, kicking off in June and rumbling on until August. All the same, there will be a degree of ebb and flow as a result. Discuss the update with your UX designer and ensure it remains at the forefront of your thinking.

One of the biggest takeaways from this update is that AMP is no longer essential to rank as a top new story. That could make a sizeable difference to any reporting site. The usual caveats still apply, though – sticking to the established policies of Google News is non-negotiable. Although AMP is no longer critical, ensure your news articles remain mobile-friendly, hosted on a fast and secure server, and unfold devoid of interruptions such as intrusive advertising.

7. Core update (June and July)

Here’s the big kahuna that has every web admin across the globe on tenterhooks – Google’s major summer core update. In 2021, Google announced two updates over June and July, both of which would be connected.

As always, there were winners and losers from this update. In a recurring theme, YMYL sites appeared to lose a great deal of traffic throughout the update – especially in June, when the changes were most volatile. Thin content in any niche also seemed to be a particular focus of this update, with such sites pruned cautiously.

However, some sites that were previously heavily penalized may have experienced a little bounce back. It has been claimed that the biggest priorities of the June and July updates, other than thin copy, have been domain age and the use of backlinks.

Review the traffic of any old sites that you wrote off after the game-changing updates of 2019. These sites may have experienced a revival in page ranking and could be worth reinvestment. Just be mindful that Google may consider this an oversight and reverse the decision at any moment.

8. Link spam update (July)

Another spam-detecting algorithm rolled out in July, this time focusing on backlinks. What’s interesting here is that Google referred to this update as ‘nullifying’ spam links, not penalizing them.

Essentially, Google will just stop counting inappropriate links toward a page ranking and quality score. Naturally, though, it would feel like a punishment if a site relied upon these links previously – this is an important Google update for link-building professionals to pay attention to.

Keep an eye on the links on your site if you have seen a drop in traffic, ensuring that they meet Google’s link scheme standards. It could be all too easy to fall foul to this update based on outdated copy that has not been updated in some time and now links to an altered and irrelevant online location.

9. Page title rewrites (August)

Here’s an interesting update from August. Google started to adjust carefully selected page titles, leading to different ‘headlines’ in search results. This may have SEO consultants across the world wailing and gnashing their teeth, seeing meticulously curated messaging adjusted according to Google’s whims.

Rest assured, the page titles are not undertaking complete rewrites. We are talking about adjustments, not wholesale changes, to title tags. All the same, it could be enough to leave a webmaster frustrated with the outcome. Nobody wants to be accused of click-baiting, especially when the news industry has a questionable reputation with a cynical population segment.

There is little anybody can do to prevent this. To retain some measure of control, though, keep your H1 headings short and readable, and be mindful of your H2 headings. These may be used, in part or whole, to adjust the title of a search result.

10. Speculated core update (October)

We previously discussed how, back in February, MozCast acknowledged some strange patterns pertaining to featured snippets that Google never acknowledged. Something similar unfolded in October when various significant webmasters noted sizeable changes in traffic and performance. This led to claims that Google had engaged in another core update.

Much like February, these changes remain unconfirmed. However, as we’ll discuss in a moment, there was a reasonably seismic core update in November. Given that the previous update unfolded over two months, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Google adopted the same practice this time around.

11. Spam update (November)

Another spam update occurred in November 2021, once again targeting infractions that break Google’s general content guidelines. A website that does not contravene basic regulations or cut SEO corners should remain unaffected. Do keep an eye on your traffic and performance, though. If you notice any fluctuations, it could be time for a refresh of your content.

12. Confirmed core update (November)

Finally, we had another core algorithm update in November. At the time of writing, this was still a very recent development. As a result, the impact of the update will become more apparent over time. Some early responses and acknowledgments have been noted, though.

The most significant adjustment appears to be mobile searches, which were declared 23 percent more volatile than the previous update. Again, much like earlier in the year, featured snippets and ‘quick answers’ in the YMYL niche seem the most heavily impacted. Health and real estate, in particular, have seen a big change in performance.

Now, it’s worth noting here that Google felt compelled to address the timing of this update. Danny Sullivan took to Twitter and accepted that an update just before Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season is not ideal for ecommerce sites – especially those that already adjusted their copy based on previous updates.

Source: Twitter

It will be interesting to see if this will change how Google approaches algorithm updates in 2022 and beyond.

This concludes our trip through the Google algorithm updates of 2021. Just remember, more tweaks and changes are made each day. Most of these adjustments have little to no impact on the performance of your website. If you have spotted a change in fortunes, though, review when this occurred. You may find the answer lies above.

Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

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6 steps to help you prioritize tasks when everything is a priority

6 steps to help you prioritize tasks when everything is a priority

Urgent requests make it hard to prioritize the most strategic jobs. But when you standardize and centralize the entire process, you can make data-driven resource decisions and ensure the most strategic work gets done first.

In this webinar, join Adobe Workfront as they share six proven methods to handle the onslaught of marketing requests, prioritize the most important work, and increase your value to make 2022 your best year yet.

Register today for “Your New Year’s Marketing Resolution: Master the Art of Saying No With These 6 Steps,” presented by Integrate.

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Demographic audiences deliver twice the reach of narrow interest audiences, according to Facebook

Demographic audiences deliver twice the reach of narrow interest audiences, according to Facebook

Demographic audiences delivered nearly twice the reach (+99%) of interest audiences in campaigns with the same budget when the selected interest audiences were too narrow, according to a study of consumer packaged goods (CPG) campaigns published by Facebook. However, both types of targeting performed comparably when interest audiences were broad enough.

The analysis included 50 CPG campaigns in the EMEA region, measured using Facebook Brand Lift.

Why we care. The big takeaway from Facebook’s analysis is that some interest audiences are too small to generate scale when compared with demographic audiences. Advertisers should assess their interest audiences and decide whether the higher impact is worth potentially diminished reached and higher CPM.

If interest audiences are broad enough, they can perform comparably with demographic audiences. In that case, advertisers should select the strategy that best matches their campaign goals.

While these findings make sense, they’re also convenient for Facebook, since Apple’s App Tracking Transparency doesn’t affect demographic targeting.

Demographic outperforms interest audiences that are too narrow. Interest-based targeting is inherently more limited than demographic-based targeting. To overcome that difference, the campaign with the lower reach needs to compensate with greater efficiency. Interest targeting does deliver greater efficiency, but it’s unlikely to make up the difference.

Image: Facebook.

“Among the campaigns with significantly reduced reach due to interest targeting, the effectiveness was slightly higher compared to the demographic audiences (+22%),” Facebook said, “However, this increase was slightly below the required threshold and was unlikely to sufficiently compensate for the lower reach. As a result, demographic strategy was 1.6 times more likely to be the winning strategy and drove more cost-efficient brand outcomes compared to the interest strategy in these campaigns.” When interest audiences were too narrow, demographic audiences also delivered 99% more reach than interest audiences on the same budget.

Both demographic- and interest-based targeting can deliver reach. The two strategies achieved comparable reach with the same budget when interest audiences were broad enough to provide sufficient reach. When both could deliver comparable reach — within 20% of the other — for the same budget, Facebook’s analysis showed that they were equally likely to be the winning, cost-effective strategy.

Image: Facebook.

“This finding implies that some broader interest audiences can generate scale of reach comparable to demographic audiences and marketers can select either of the strategies while maximizing the alignment to the category buyers,” Facebook said.

Your objectives should dictate your strategy. Demographic targeting was the winning strategy 1.6x more often at the top of the funnel, while interest targeting was the winning strategy 2x more often at the bottom of the funnel, according to the analysis.

Image: Facebook.

This means that interest audiences may be better for lower-funnel objectives, like driving purchase intent and consideration, while demographic audiences might be more likely to drive upper-funnel objectives, such as brand awareness. Advertisers should select the strategy that best matches their campaign’s specific goals. Using both strategies appropriately can enable brands to drive both upper and lower funnel outcomes.

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3 SEO metrics to help secure executive-level buy-in

3 SEO metrics to help secure executive-level buy-in

“When I talk about the metrics that will help you get and secure and keep buy-in, I come to you with a perspective of operations,” said Jessica Bowman, CEO of SEOinhouse.com, in her presentation at SMX Next. “How do we get other people involved in SEO as well?

SEOs are constantly searching for new ways to prove their work’s value to higher-ups. And, many prefer to let the results speak for themselves. But, as Bowman argues, it’s often more effective presenting executives with actionable metrics that get them involved in operations.

Here are three metrics Bowman recommends SEOs hone in on to secure that coveted buy-in so that they can continue to improve the visibility of their brands.

Metrics that can change the conversation

“SEO operations . . . is focusing on how you go about getting the SEO strategies and tactics done,” Bowman said. “Dp that well and you start setting yourself apart from the competition because most companies don’t address SEO operations.”

“Now we can take this framework and kind of shrink it down and make it [into] a strategy scorecard,” she added.

The SEO strategy scorecard framework gives executives and other departments a clear look into your tactics and what they’re designed to achieve. In her version, Bowman links these strategies to one of two categories: those that grow SEO traffic and those that accelerate SEO through operations.

Image: Jessica Bowman

Bowman says you can add more insight by featuring metrics such as estimated revenue. Highlighting these numbers can be pivotal in getting executives talking about SEO’s value.

Metrics that can get executives to recognize SEO’s value

“What I find is that SEO teams spend a lot of time fixing SEO problems that other teams introduced,” said Bowman. “And when you’re working on this stuff, it is time not spent on growing SEO revenue.”

Bowman recommends SEOs start reporting on time spent fixing SEO problems stemming from other departments. The goal should be to get executives to realize that prioritizing SEO training and department accountability will prevent these issues.

The point isn’t to create animosity between departments, but rather to identify roadblocks in SEO operations and show why they’re valuable.

Image: Jessica Bowman

Here are specific issues Bowman suggests SEOs identify:

Changes in core web vitals metrics;Changes in page speed metrics;4xx URLs in tags;3xx URLs in tags; andSchema errors.

Metrics that can forecast SEO success

Executives and other higher-ups want to know your SEO projects are on track to meet specific goals. That’s why Bowman suggests marketers report on the most pertinent metrics — these are the campaign’s critical drivers.

“It is not uncommon for project managers and executives to talk about critical drivers,” Bowman said. “What is uncommon is to report on critical drivers.”

“These are metrics that tell you, and executives, if you even have a chance of reaching the SEO goals,” she added.

Image: Jessica Bowman

As Bowman says, critical drivers are well-known to the leaders of any organization. But when SEOs lay these out in their reporting, it gives decision-makers a clear roadmap and proves their worth that much more.

“The important thing to think about these critical drivers is that they are reports on the activities that must happen to achieve the revenue goals,” she said.

“When you communicate it in this method, this will get executives focusing on the right teams to do what needs to happen to grow SEO,” she added.

Watch the full SMX Next presentation here (registration required).

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Google December 2021 product reviews update rolling out

Google is now rolling out a new search algorithm update named the December 2021 products reviews update. This is the second time Google is pushing out a products reviews update this year, doing one back in April 2021.

This update is “designed to better reward” product reviews that “share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products,” a spokesperson told Search Engine Land in April. Reviews that are written in a way that has “insightful analysis and original research” will be rewarded, especially “content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well,” Google said.

What is changing. Google said that if you made changes between now and the last update, you may see improvements to your rankings since the last update. Google wrote “if you have made positive changes to your content, you may see that improvement reflected as part of this latest release.”

Google also said the search company has “received more feedback from users on what type of review content is deemed trustworthy and useful, motivating us to provide additional product review guidance. Users have told us that they trust reviews with evidence of products actually being tested, and prefer to have more options to purchase the product.”

More advice. Google provided two new best practices around this update, one saying to provide more multimedia around your product reviews and the second is to provide links to multiple sellers, not just one. Google posted these two items:

Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

Rolling out now. Google said the update is now rolling out for English-language pages. It will take about three weeks to complete.

Google product reviews update. The Google product reviews update aims to promote review content that is above and beyond much of the templated information you see on the web. Google said it will promote these types of product reviews in its search results rankings.

Google is not directly punishing lower quality product reviews that have “thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.” However, if you provide such content and find your rankings demoted because other content is promoted above yours, it will definitely feel like a penalty. Technically, according to Google, this is not a penalty against your content, Google is just rewarding sites with more insightful review content with rankings above yours.

Technically, this update should only impact product review content and not other types of content.

Previous advice on the product reviews update. The “focus overall is on providing users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research, content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well,” Google said about this update. That is similar advice to the core update recommendations mentioned above, but here is a list of “additional useful questions to consider in terms of product reviews.” Google recommends your product reviews cover these areas and answer these questions. Do your product reviews…

Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision?Identify key decision-making factors for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says?

Google also linked to its blog post from earlier this year named providing better product information for shoppers.

Why we care. If your website offers product review content, you will want to check your rankings to see if you were impacted. Did your Google organic traffic improve, decline or stay the same?

Long term, you are going to want to ensure that going forward, that you put a lot more detail and effort into your product review content so that it is unique and stands out from the competition on the web.

More on Google updates

Other Google updates this year. This year we had a number of confirmed updates from Google and many that were not confirmed . In the most recent order, we had: The July 2021 core updateGoogle MUM rolled out in June for COVID names and was lightly expanded for some features in September (but MUM is unrelated to core updates). Then, the June 28 spam update, the June 23rd spam update, the Google page experience update, the Google predator algorithm update, the June 2021 core update, the July 2021 core update, the July link spam update, and the November spam update rounded ou the confirmed updates.

Previous core updates. The most recent previous core update was the November 2021 core update which rolled out hard and fast, then the July 2021 core update which was quick to roll out (kind of like this one) followed by the June 2021 core update and that update was slow to roll out but a big one. Then we had the December 2020 core update and the December update was very big, bigger than the May 2020 core update, and that update was also big and broad and took a couple of weeks to fully roll out. Before that was the January 2020 core update, we had some analysis on that update over here. The one prior to that was the September 2019 core update. That update felt weaker to many SEOs and webmasters, as many said it didn’t have as big of an impact as previous core updates. Google also released an update in November, but that one was specific to local rankings. You can read more about past Google updates over here.

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