Good morning, Marketers, does it feel like our relationship status with Google is “It’s complicated?”

Looking at our headlines today, it sure feels like that. On one hand, as search marketers we have real affinity for the platform our livelihoods are tied to. But there’s real strain in the relationship right now. Tools are being taken away, rules are changing and for the most part, we’re the last to know. 

The latest example is the SEO community’s reaction to the surprise core update this week, on the eve of Black Friday. Google reps seemed caught off guard by the pushback and offered the usual mix of “it isn’t new” and “most sites won’t be affected” defenses. But later Google’s John Mueller tweeted a rather audacious statement when he said: “​​I’m curious — would you prefer we just mentioned them afterwards, or not at all?”

Allow us to throw a flag here. There is very little transparency regarding what is in these updates. In fact, the science of SEO is often in trying to piece together what an update contained since we never get that info.

John’s done a ton for the community. But since he’s asking, let’s just agree that what we’d really prefer is some kind of breakdown about the changes in a given algorithm update. What percentage of queries are impacted? What areas might see volatility or the most gains? Most software companies at least offer patch notes. 

Let’s not pretend that naming it “November 2021 Core Update” is at all descriptive.

Henry Powderly,
VP, Content



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