Google Florida 2 Update

Why Has My Visibility Dropped? Google Update Florida 2

Ryan Roberts 7 months ago

Florida 2: What We Know Right Now

Another major update to Google’s algorithm has shaken up the SEO industry. Named ‘Florida 2’, speculation on what the update is targeting is rife.

Google's algorithm updates daily with minor changes, with the aim of incrementally enhancing the correlation between user intent and the results returned. This causes natural ranking fluctuations in the SERPs which, in themselves, can have a significant impact on a site’s ability to rank.

However, when a broad core update happens some sites can suffer excruciating losses, or equally incredible uplift. So we decided to dive into the data of some examples to establish any noticeable trends.

Success from the Florida 2 update

Whilst the update is still very much in the roll-out phase (this can take weeks to settle down) we’ve seen early signs that websites which were impacted by Google’s Medic update in 2018, are now starting to (fully) recover.

The site we analysed was hit by both Medic updates. Since late last year, there hasn’t been any indication of this site recovering from the core update.

This client joined Zazzle Media in early February to recover from both penalties.

Whilst there was an appetite for SEO, we focused solely on the key areas of the site which could give the greatest return on investment.

We focused on key technical areas such as:

  • A correctly implemented canonical strategy
  • Reducing index bloat
  • Internal linking
  • Removing duplicate content
  • Meta information (page titles, H1s)
  • XML sitemap updates

And the result?

The key part of this strategy was content. There were claims that the Medic update(s) was directly linked to Google’s perception of EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness).

How can you largely contribute to a user’s experience on your site?

Content.

We had plans to add incredibly well-written content to this client’s site to improve the user experience. It’s why we’re one of the best content marketing agencies in the UK.

However, if the foundation on which that content sits on, is fundamentally flawed, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Losers from the Florida update (and their common faults)

Not every site has been so lucky since the roll-out of Florida 2.

Google can sometimes mislead sites into putting all their eggs into one basket. By this we mean creating disruption in the SEO industry which forces people to respond with ill-informed judgements, like just focusing on content and overlooking best-practice technical fixes, for example.

Out of respect for the site, we won’t reveal the following domain, but they are in eCommerce.

We can, however, highlight a top-level overview of what has (potentially) caused the huge drop in visibility.

And, another eCommerce site…

Common faults

Unfortunately, eCommerce sites with serious technical issues are often treated with less leniency than a blog, for example.

The most obvious faults we’ve found by analysing several different sites are:

  • Index bloat
  • Crawler inefficiencies
  • Sitemap organisation
  • Under-optimised on-page content
  • General poor site design and experience

It’s incredibly interesting to see sites which suffered at the hands of Medic, have now bounced back. And vice versa.

What to do about the Florida update?

The hard truth about core updates is that sites who suffer the most are normally sites focusing on a single area of their site, rather than a holistic view. By making Google’s job harder through mixed ranking signals, spider traps, crawler issues and indexing bloat, you’re creating a huge deterrent.

So why would Google care about your content if your site isn’t maintained to a high-enough standard?

It will always be about best practice. If you’re not keeping with the simple guidelines Google continues to give us, you’ll continue to suffer from algorithm updates until, eventually, your site will be beyond repair!

The point we’re trying to make here is that a core update to Google’s algorithm doesn’t mean the SEO industry need descend into anarchy immediately.

Assess and address the obvious issues with your site; whatever they may be.

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