Google’s Latest Algorithm Updates Impact Site Traffic and Image Search Results

On September 27, 2018, Google released a broad core algorithm update that impacted the SERP pages of many websites. Even though Google described it as a small update, marketers noticed that many of their clients’ websites experienced either a sudden spike or drop in site traffic. Then, around October 4,  websites that previously suffered a hit in organic traffic suddenly started seeing an uptick in traffic, and vice versa.  These changes appeared across all types of websites, including ecommerce and YMYL sites that were heavily impacted by the August “Medic” broad core algorithm update.

What’s also interesting is that many of the websites that saw a huge dip in organic traffic after the August core algorithm update seem to have returned to their pre-August traffic levels. Many have also regained their SERP rankings that were affected by the August update.  Google has not released any specifics about the latest algorithm update, but some marketers believe that it was implemented by Google to reverse the impacts of the August broad core algorithm update.

Updates to the Google Images Algorithm

The core algorithm update isn’t the only change that occurred last month. Google has also confirmed that it made updates to its Google Images algorithm. The goal of this update was to improve image search results, which previously contained spam, duplicates and images that were irrelevant to a user’s search query.

With the image algorithm update, image results will now consist of high-quality images from websites that have high ranking authority. This will help produce image search results that are more relevant to a user’s search and are linked to useful information. Google says the algorithm updates also involve including additional context such as captions and the name of the website to provide users with more information about the image and its source.

Is There Anything We Can Do About Algorithm Updates?

It really depends on the update. While Google might announce certain changes such as the secure site update that occurred this past July, the majority of their algorithm updates are small and unannounced. Some of these changes go unnoticed, while others cause noticeable changes in search traffic and SERP rankings. When this happens, SEOs conduct research to figure out what changes took place and what, if anything, can be done to return traffic to “normal” levels for that page or website.

The Google Images algorithm update, for example, provides an opportunity to do a bit of on page SEO to help your page rank on the images SERP. This includes repositioning images to appear at the beginning of your page, adding Alt text to images, and updating and optimizing content with keywords and relevant information to help establish authority.  For the September 27 update, there isn’t much that can be done except continuing to monitor organic traffic and SERP results to see if anything else changes.

Read our recent blog post to learn more about Google algorithm updates and how they affect SEO. If you have questions about this latest algorithm update and how your website was affected, contact the SEO experts at Ecreativeworks.

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