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How Much Does a Broad Core Update Affect Your Site?

After Google recently rolled out a broad core update, the house was divided. Some discussions online mentioned signs of recovery, traffic losses, and neutral effects. The recent update was closely tied to linking systems currently in place.

Drops in traffic were to be expected but more testimonies were about recoveries and slight ranking surges. Compared to past updates, what transpired in September last year was generally tolerable.

Who Won During the Latest Update?

Group discussions online tend to be mostly positive. Some quality sites got hit but a closer look revealed the presence of low-quality content.

One reported a loss in traffic but admitted he was still in the process of building more links.

Who Lost in the Broad Core Update?

The Black Hat World forum was buzzing with confirmed traffic losses. It was probably the norm in such forums.

Many suspected it had something to do with the links.

True, a broad core algorithm update usually covers a diverse range of changes. The main focus of broad updates is to weed out irrelevant sites and retain the relevant ones.

Although there were many discussing links, links are likely one part of many changes. Links may simply be the factor that happens to be the one that stands out.

A week prior, right before the rollout was announced, there were reports of a spam network that went down. This mainly involved 301 redirects from an expired domain to an existing website. The network ranked for half a year but during the latest update, Google completely wiped them out from the list.

Speculations were that this technique took advantage of Google’s ranking loopholes. Ranking demotions began days before the search engine giant even announced they were rolling out a broad core update.

Link Authenticity

The 301 redirect trick no longer works. The newly updated algorithms made sure of it.

As long as 301 redirects are still relevant (not redirected from an expired domain), websites can maintain their ranking. Unfortunately, sites with domain redirects from expired websites will suffer the most.

I would caution to not accept these reports as actual facts. I only bring this up because the reports matched what I had seen from the week before.

A marketer who sent a message to a Search Engine Journal Staff admitted a traffic loss of about 20 percent. Though he has a diverse link profile, a number of his link domains already expired.

Just the other week, publishers reported a handful of 301 redirect link spamming casualties. They were in a similar boat as the said marketer.

It was mentioned earlier that there are various aspects to a broad core update. Link schemes were the focal point in the previous Broad Core Algorithm update.

The linking approach that SEO specialists normally adhere to may need revision to accommodate new algorithm demands.

Sounds like a coincidence but Google did declare a change in the previous nofollow linking system. It stands to reason if Google were to focus on links after all.

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Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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