More threads by JoyHawkins


Local Search Expert
LocalU Faculty
Aug 23, 2014
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For those of you that haven't heard, there was a core algo update yesterday. Anyone seeing exciting movement for clients? I know we are.

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Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Here is what I'm seeing so far.

A huge influx in local rankings due to filter changes. We had a consultation recently with an attorney who experienced a huge change in his ranking. Organic went up but local went down as a result of this update. As I've been preaching lately - the 2 algorithms work differently. This update appears to have impacted both.

Here's a good graph that outlines that well. For this keyword, the attorney increased in organic and decreased in local after this update.
Different Algos.jpg

The main issue in his case is another attorney at the same address who is now filtering him. I've noticed on tons of cases that Possum filtering doesn't always completely remove you from the results - sometimes it just lowers you.

In several cases I'm also seeing tons of spam surface. This is typical when there's a big algorithm update. Here's a "nice" fake listing that grabbed the #2 spot that was not there a few days ago.
Spam 1.png

Different Algos.jpg

Spam 1.png
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

This is a massive update. I have been answering emails from people requesting help all day. It's 4pm and I'm only halfway through! I can't ever recall an update that had this much impact.

It's really unusual to see a shift in the local algo along with a shift in organic. I wonder if it is simply that this is an organic change and then, because the local pack uses organic positioning as a factor, it is affected as well? But it doesn't seem like this is the case.

Something that I am seeing is that I've had emails from several large multi city companies that are seeing drops while smaller local businesses are taking over the top rankings.

Danny Sullivan from Google commented that this change was similar to the March 9 change. In that instance, they said the change was about relevance. I think that Google is getting better at recognizing which content truly is the most helpful to people.

I also think that this update has a lot to do with E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust). I'm seeing that a lot of the sites contacting me are ones that are written by someone with real world experience, but lacking professional experience. For example, I've had several requests for help from sites talking about diet products. The articles appear to be well written and the authors have been writing about these topics for years. However, they're now being outranked by official medical organizations or sites with a lot more medical E-A-T.

The algo is still rolling out and Google has said it will be the middle of next week before they're done, so we'll see what happens!
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Hello all,

I'd like to confirm that this update affected massively medical sites.

In particular, respected doctor sites were hit hard in both search and local maps.

An incomprehensible and offensive move as Google now thinks that doctors should not rank #1 for their name and are not allowed to write about things in their area of practice.
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Any specific sites you are referring to?
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Hi Joy, I'm referring to doctor sites such as dermatologists and gynaecologists. I have no access to other broader medical/health sites.
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Interesting stuff.

Almost all of my clients went up in local rankings but dropped in organic. Very strange.
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Who replaced them organically when they dropped? Other SMBs or directory sites?
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Does this update have a name yet? Since it is affecting a big chunk of the YMYL sites perhaps "The Doctor Oz update" or perhaps just "Oz". Since Google likes to name updates after animals, if a lot of obstetricians are affected, perhaps "Stork" may be appropriate.

Any thoughts? We can start a poll. It might be fun. Be the first kid on your block to name a Google algo update! :D
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

I agree it needs a name. Even the March one should have a name. It was much easier when everything was named after animals :)
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Something interesting may have to do with the algo change. Steady Demand used to only trigger with the query - steady demand austin, now it does not trigger unless you search steady demand tx. Not sure if this correlates with anything else you are seeing.
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Haha, sounds like the perfect name for this update! Thanks for letting us know Joy and to you Barry for the great name.
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Yeah, it has a nice ring to it.

Also, found this tweet from Glenn Gabe:

"Yes, there were a lot of health and medical sites impacted, and good to see Barry's breakdown. But again (and Barry explains this too), there were *many* sites that aren't health-based (or YMYL) that were impacted too. I hope to publish my post soon covering what I'm seeing."

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We have a local pest control company that has had the #1 and #2 spots for "pest control" in Jacksonville FL which is the main keyword. We've had those spots consistently for over a year. After the update we now see Orkin in the #1 organic spot.

I think this correlates with what I'm hearing from others on this update favoring E-A-T. Is anyone else noticing big brands moving up in either the map pack or Organic?
Re: Core Algorithm Update - August 1, 2018

Who replaced them organically when they dropped? Other SMBs or directory sites?

Anecdotally, small sample size, it looks like mostly local businesses but directories too.

However, I did have one client that went from the 1st page to like the 4th page in organic. Homepage is hardly ranking and instead is being replaced 80% of the time by an inner page that's optimized. Crazy and I'm still looking into it.

Any thoughts on that are welcome.

The site is -
I think there is something wrong with Google result we see in Iran when we search keywords related to medical field especially when you search keyword that reflect business name like "orthodontist" (متخصص ارتودنسی), "endocrinologist"(متخصص غدد), "gastroenterologist" (متخصص گوارش),"dentist" (دندانپزشک) and etc.

Furthermore, SERPS for keywords that reflect a business service are impacted. For example, Leaving addiction(ترک اعتیاد), herniated disc (دیسک کمر), backpain (کمر درد), colon cancer (سرطان روده), scoliosis (اسکولیوز) and etc.

I have analyzed the SERPs and reached to the following pattern:

1- Many of private business sites like sites of doctors, private clinics, private health centers, nutritionists, medical equipment sellers vanished or dropped severely in ranking. We know it as we have saved films from the SERPs before Medic update. We film important SERPS in our company once a week.

2- There is a specific group of sites that we see in many SERPs. These sites are categorized as the following:

- Yellow page or Directory sites (especially when you search business name). for example, "", "","drsiana", "", "doctoreto", "karajtabligh"
- General magazines that write about everything…For example, "", "", "", "","","", "", ""
- News agency sites."","","",""
- Coupon sites. For example, "" and " ".
- Sites of medical state universities
- Sites of academic medical journals affiliated with state universities
- Other sites with governmental affiliation.
- Video sites. For example "","", "", "", "".

3- Three, four, five or six results in a row from one single domain specially video sites. It is against Query Deserves Diversity(QDD) . Google can't comprehend video completely. It shows videos that are uploaded by users on video site only considering title and description of the video not the content.

As you see many of these categories are heavy update, namely, they update their sites every day with high volume of new or copied content. The site that are not heavy update have kind of affiliation with the government.

Many SEOs say that this update is about E-A-T and google is trying to implement GRG (Google Raters Guideline). If the result is as what we see now, it is just an attempt. The result is worse. I do not know how Google dares to present such a bad results to users. Today is 13 August. 13 days after the new algorithm has been rolled out. Several days ago, Danny Sullivan confirmed on twitter that the roll out is done.

The reason why I strongly believe that the result is bad is based on GRG's E-A-T and user intent. Content that is written by an expert should get better ranking. But, who is the expert. Doctors and clinics are not expert? Many of these sites have author info, about us page, privacy policy page. However, Google has killed them. On the contrary, many of the magazines, yellow pages, news agencies do not have author info. Some of them do not have about us page.

In relation to user intent, what are the reasons why a user might search "endocrinologist" and what he/she expects Google to show. Before Medic update(1 august update) era, we used to see diversified result that included magazines, associations, doctors, clinics, universities, directories and …. Which one is better? A yellow page site that the owner has subjectively prioritized doctors or a doctor's site full of content written by an expert prioritized by Google. I feel Google has abandoned its responsibility to rank private businesses. Many of sites are showed are non-private businesses and general and are not categorized under medical and health category. Big percentage of users that search "scoliosis" do not expect to see academic researches. But we see three academic articles in page one for scoliosis (اسکولیوز). I read those researches. They do not answer user question and do not meet patient expectations. What do you expect google when you search "dentist". Don't you expect google to rank dentists…Now google shows articles titled "how to become a dentist" , "income of a dentist in Germany" and directories, universities…I know that Query Deserves Diversity. But what google presents now is genocide. I think it must be named "private health business genocide update". Google responsibility abandonment to rank private health businesses.

And some very strange results. You see some sites ranked #1 in search results that are good by no means. For example when you search "nutritionist" (متخصص تغذیه), you see at page 1. A one-page nutritionist's site with no content. Unbelievable and shocking. This site has no backlinks. In meta title there is not word "nutritionist". There are two positive points although. In "about us" section, there is a link to a page of University of Tehran site, introducing his great cv. There are mentions on many pages on the internet that his name is followed by "nutritionist". With that said, we have many other's nutritionists that have great experience and expertise and their site have great content and many mentions but are vanished from SERPs.
@Marie Haynes just told us in her newsletter that she saw an adjustment on August 13th. I'm seeing that on a few accounts as well.

August 13th.jpg

We're going through every client and analyzing the impact and thusfar we're seeing lots of gains on the organic side. The local update doesn't make any sense yet which is why I haven't written anything about it. I'm waiting until I see some patterns but have decided this update is going to be the main part of my presentation in October at Pubcon. I should have lots of examples by then.

BTW, Marie's newsletter is probably the best use of $18 I have spent :)
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