On March 12, Google released a broad algorithm update, officially called the Google March 2019 Core Update. It has also been referred to as the Florida 2 Update by the SEO community.
Google was initially silent about the update, but SEO experts were quick to notice huge fluctuations in website rankings across a number of different countries. On March 13, Google confirmed everyone’s suspicions but they didn’t say much else.
Here’s a recap of what we know so far.
This update affects the world
Based on reports from search pages in different pages and in different languages, it seems that the March Update has had a global impact on rankings. Sites have reported drops in rankings for over half of all targeted keywords. Of course, some websites were impacted more than others.
Google has not confirmed that the March 2019 Core update is indeed a global update.
Keywords with commercial intent changed the most
The biggest drops in rankings were seen mostly in commercial keywords that had a high intent to purchase and high search volumes. This includes phrases like buy home insurance or 10% discount.
Sites with low E-A-T were hit hardest by Google’s March Core Update
E-A-T stands for Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness and these are three of the major factors that Google considers when ranking websites. The latest March 2019 Core Update was pretty harsh on websites with low E-A-T, which suggests Google could have updated the way they treat backlinks in the algorithm.
If you were hit by the August 2018 Update, you were probably Impacted by this too
Reports are suggesting that websites hit by the Google Medic Update in August 2018 were also impacted by the March 2019 Core Update. A lot of the websites affected by both updates are Your Money or Your Life websites, that typically focus on the health, wealth and financial sectors.
There are a lot of spam websites in this sector, which makes sense why so many websites with low E-A-T were impacted. It looks like websites that were hard hit in the August update are showing gains while websites that survived August unscathed are now getting penalized. This suggests that Google attempted to level out the playing field after it’s latest update.
There’s no way to “fix it”
Unlike previous updates where websites could remove spammy rankings or thin content, Google has announced that there is no way to fix websites in order to reclaim lost rankings. Instead, Google recommends that people “remain focused on building great content”.
Google has reiterated that the March 2019 Update is far from the biggest they have done. But that, of course, depends on whether you got affected or not.