Improve Content: Recover from Core Updates by Google

There has been a lot of points covered by Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, during the Search Central SEO office-hours hangout last October 8th. One of the questions raised was how to recover from a Google Core update when a website has lost significant page ranking scores on the SERPs.

John Mueller said,

“With the core updates, we don’t focus so much on just individual issues, but rather the relevance of the website overall. And that can include things like the usability, and the ads on a page, but it’s essentially the website overall.

And usually, that also means some kind of the focus of the content, the way you’re presenting things, the way you’re making it clear to users what’s behind the content. Like what the sources are, all of these things. All of that kind of plays in.”

It is therefore very clear that quality content creation is key to ensure you get to Google search rankings and stay there—for good. But just how do you do that? We explore some of the improvements you can make below.

How to Recover from a Google Core Update

Don’t do updates during the middle of a core update

Google core updates usually take a couple of weeks to finish. There will be several temporary changes in page ranking, often referred to as the Google Dance. Doing updates while an actual update is happening can be counterproductive and disastrous to your page rank. In other words, stay put until an update is complete.

Identify content pages for improvement

Once the update is complete (and after confirming it among SEO peers), it is time to identify which of your website pages need improvement. Use Google’s Search Console and Google Analytics to know which pages suffered significant traffic drops—these are your problem pages and the ones that you should focus on.

Approach a content update from a relevant perspective.

John Mueller said during office hours that Google lives by this standard when it comes to ranking websites:

“They’re (Google core-updates) designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.“

Basically, your “problem pages” are now being tagged as Google as being less relevant and authoritative than your competitors. So, when you update, make sure to do the following:


  • Look at your existing ‘problem pages’ and correct outdated or inaccurate information
  • Cover topics in-depth— ‘long form’ blog posts always tend to do better than ‘thin’ content.
  • Write with humans in mind. It can be counterproductive to write with an SEO perspective first. Your goal for creating content must always be geared to the idea that humans will be reading it. Make sure it will be helpful.
    • Content needs to be easy to read
    • Avoid keyword stuffing. Insert keywords naturally, don’t force it.
    • Make it easy to scan and navigate. Include headers, bullet points, and graphics, if needed.
Refresh and check for technical SEO

It’s also time to do a basic review on on-page SEO. Perform a technical SEO audit on your content and make sure all SEO setup is good to go.  Consider making improvements to:

  • Page loading times
  • Headings, page titles, and meta descriptions
  • Navigation structure
  • Links are not broken/redirects are working
  • SSL, XML sitemaps
  • txt files

Prioritize Quality Content in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

As per Google, ’s advice, it only demotes a website because it is less relevant and authoritative than it could be or once were. Make sure to prioritize content updates when mapping out your marketing strategy. Consult with a white hat digital marketing agency to know more about standard SEO best practices today.


Mustafa or Mr. SEO began his career in Dubai’s biggest radio and television network – Channel 4. Nine years later he founded IBA Advertising Dubai, a digital marketing agency. Mustafa loves sharing his knowledge in marketing and IBA slowly became one of the leading SEO agencies in Dubai. Introducing highly converting and innovative campaigns for the healthcare and restaurant businesses.

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