There’s been much talk recently about Google implementing a broad core algorithm update.

A couple of weeks ago, webmasters started to notice changes to their search rankings which many suspected were due to an update to Google’s core algorithm. Google subsequently confirmed this via a tweet to its Search Liaison account, manned by former Search Engine Land editor and Search Engine Watch founder Danny Sullivan.

Google has suggested that this update has nothing to do with the quality of content, and instead focuses on improving the quality of the SERPs. At SMX West, Nathan Johns, a search quality analyst at Google, stated in an AMA session[2] that the core update was designed to “reward under-rewarded sites” rather than award penalties.

At Pi Datametrics[3], our data on organic search rankings would tend to confirm this, as the only real losses we’ve seen – while dramatic – were generally short-lived, and occurred in the run-up to the update itself.

However, if Google wasn’t testing quality, what exactly were they testing?

I turned to the SERPs to have a look, going back in time to the period just before, during and after the recent update. I asked Google a relatively simple question, then analyzed the results to detect any rumblings or suspicious flux.

Testing the Google broad core algorithm update

Google Query: What’s the best toothpaste?

Google’s Broad Core Algorithm Update - Pi Datametrics test 1


Google’s Broad Core Algorithm Update - Pi Datametrics test key 1

I’ve focused primarily on content that was visible on

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