Google's July Maverick Search Algorithm Update

Google's July Maverick Search Algorithm Update

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Every once in awhile the SEO world sets alight with buzz and chatter about unusual fluctuations and changes in monitoring search engine result positions - changes which sometime alert SEO professionals to updates in Googles Search Engine ranking algorithm.

Often subtle, Google is constantly making tweaks and additions to their secret algorithm, and sometimes dramatic - those who monitor a lot of sites SERP positions are quick to point out Google's major ranking updates. It's these sudden and unexpected fluctuations in search positions that usually point to a more sever and major twist in the ranking algorithm.

Such massive fluctuations happened this July, with website SERPs not following expected ranking patterns, suggesting Google has made some significant update to their ranking formula. Typically names such as Panda, Penguin, Caffeine and Hummingbird to name but a few, are used to identify a major shift in Google's process.

What is Google's July's Maverick Update?

SEO chatter began to be significantly noticed between 11th July and 18th July, with the search industry picking up on somewhat significant volatility in the Google search results rankings.  Combining software data, as well as real world, real-time client changes, SEO professionals world over have indicated that something stealthy, yet precise is occurring.

Having asked Google numerous times for a statement, Google has not officially responded (at the time of writing).

July 18th appears to corroborate as the highest spiking changes noted in SERP fluctuations across the world wide web. Has your site positions been affected, subsequently impacting your traffic and sales?

Interestingly, Google did officially announce core changes back in June [3rd June] and did suggest that they would most likely pre-alert the SEO community of future changes, although the real mechanisms of their algorithm, as always, is never publicly revealed.

Here’s an update about updates -- updates to our search algorithms. As explained before, each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Most have little noticeable change but help us continue to incrementally improve search….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) 11 October 2018

Here’s an update about updates -- updates to our search algorithms. As explained before, each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Most have little noticeable change but help us continue to incrementally improve search….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) 11 October 2018

Previous Google updates

As you might be aware, Google has done previous core updates. In fact, Google does one every couple months or so. The last core update was released in March 2019.

Over the years, the SEO community has talked rampantly about these core SEO ranking updates, often naming them confusingly, and guessing at the changes. Since nobody is truly ever in possession of the facts on what factors rank a website high in the Google search engines, we are left with best guesses founded on factual hard data and real world testing.

SEO is a science based on evidence, trial and error. It is not an exact, or known science. There is no sure-fire success formula.

Brett Tabke of WebmasterWorld named this update "Update Maverick" he said "Update Maverick (in honour of the recent 2019 Top Gun trailer release).

Why pre-announce this one?

In a bid to clean up this chatter and confusion in the SEO community, Google is becoming more public in a standardised convention of naming, announcements and SEO suggestions.

Google said the community has been asking Google to be more proactive when it comes to these changes. Danny Sullivan, Google search liason, said there is nothing specifically “big” about this update compared to previous updates.

Google is being proactive about notifying site owners and SEOs, Sullivan said, so people aren’t left “scratching their heads after-the-fact.”

Google’s previous advice

Google has previously shared this advice around broad core algorithm updates:

“Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.

As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.

There’s no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

We probably will. But you won't be able to "fix" anything. Read our tweets on this that detail sites that drop aren't "broken" and focus on quality that might help regain relative standing isn't an overnight change.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) 8 June 2019

We probably will. But you won't be able to "fix" anything. Read our tweets on this that detail sites that drop aren't "broken" and focus on quality that might help regain relative standing isn't an overnight change.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) 8 June 2019

To see more advice from Google around Google updates, see this Twitter thread.

Google have retrospectively announced official updates, and they have also retrospectively renamed updates.

SERP Results and Fluctuations

Nothing has yet officially been confirmed. What the data is showing however, is that the July changes are showing as 'weird' and 'unpredicted'. It has been hard to identify patterns, and cross compare to previous core updates. There certainly has been some 'rolling' - which means in June lots of sites saw a boost in search engine positions, that by July 18th were literally reversed.

What does this mean? Potentially, it shows that the core June update has not gone as planned, and a stealthy reversal is at hand from Google. No specific niche or sector appears to have been impacted over any others.

Should we care about these fluctuations?

No SEO professional would ever recommend chasing an algorithm update. It is good practice though to monitor a Google algorithm change and note the impact on your website rankings. Becoming aware of something you might have done, or changed technically, is always useful to know whether it has had a negative or positive impact in your ranking strategy.

What to do now? 

At this stage it is simply not clear what action, if any, you should take from a technical SEO perspective.

We can share Google’s previous advice that you should just continue to work to make your website better by improving your content, user experience and overall performance of your web site.

Ultimately Google's aim is to show high authority, quality, legitimate businesses in their search engine results. The most relevant website, both in content and geographical location, to the user who is querying the Google search engine. That being the case, the most important thing to always bear in mind is producing a high quality, content rich, high value website that is relevant to your audience.

Making ongoing, consistent positive changes to your website from a user perspective is always going to win over underhand tactics, or overthinking (trying to second guess) the Google algorithm.

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