The April 2018 Google Core Algorithm Change

April 2018 has been a crazy month, at least for weather. It’s still snowing in the northeast. It’s bone dry in the south central part of the country. Oklahoma has no tornadoes. Here in North Carolina, I just planted my big, epic garden today, weeks behind when I’d normally start it. I’m still waiting for the ocean to warm up; the sea temperature should be 70 by now but it’s 61 and the fishing is terrible. Although I did manage to catch a nice Speckled Trout on a river near the ocean.

This week, things brightened up a little when a couple of my side project websites received quite a surge of traffic. I was surprised to see them on page 1. I knew they’d get there, but they both popped up the same day. Was there a Google update?

I logged in to Google Analytics and saw some swings, then I went on over to Rankranger, my favorite place to track search engine volatility, and yes, it was confirmed, there was indeed a Google update.

April 2018 Google Core Algorithm Update

I don’t think this tweak merits a name, however, if I were to name the March 2018 algorithm update I’d call it the Google “When the heck Will Winter End?!” Update.

Key dates most people will see movement in their rankings / traffic would be April 16, April 17, April 18 & April 19. However, it is worth noting that websites in different geographic regions and even in different niches see the affects of an algo change at different times.

On April 20, 2018, Google commented on the update in a statement about them working to improve search results for users and to keep on creating great content. They stated the rollout occurred April 16th. (Their rollouts may affect US sites 48hrs later).

Google’s comment is vague, but correct. As I’ve said here for many years, Google wants to deliver the highest quality results possible to their users. That’s because if they continue to deliver good results, people will keep using them, and they’ll keep making money. That said, webmasters should focus on quality.

This was a “quality” update.

A few things I know for sure:

  1. Some of the sites affected by the March 2018 Google Algorithm Change were again impacted by the April “quality” update. Some websites lost rankings and traffic, others gained rankings and traffic. Some sites which already lost or gained lost or gained even more!
  2. Websites displaying rich snippets and review stars were impacted yet again (some positively, some negatively).
  3. Backlinks were definitely a factor in this last algorithm change.
  4. Unfortunately, many spammy sites maintained or even increased their position in search.

I do hope that Google keeps refining their algorithm and rolling these out frequently. I remember back in about ’92, there were about 50 sites and no search engines. Back then, people evaluated site quality. I can’t imagine trying to get an algorithm to do it all, especially with the tremendous number of new pages hitting the web daily.

Identifying site quality

Google uses many factors to attempt to identify site quality. Two big quality factors include the content on a site (even old content), and, of course, the backlinks. There is much more to evaluating “site quality” than these two factors which I’ll cover in an upcoming article in the near future. There are just a ton of variables here – think: what makes a bank’s website a quality site?  What makes an electronic review site a quality site?

I will say that most people who reach out to me who have been negatively impacted by a quality algorithm had poor backlinks, or annoying popups, poor ad placement, a slow site and/or just a bad user experience.

Update: April 25 and April 26 Algorithm Change

At this point I’m not sure if it makes sense to try and make heads or tails of all of these updates. But I do know that some sites impacted March 9, 2018 or on April 18 are seeing swings again on April 24, April 25 or April 26, and I also know that both of those updates were related to “site quality”. I am seeing some rankings changes reversed. Unfortunately, I am still seeing many spammy sites doing quite well in search results, too.

As always, here’s a screenshot from RankRanger which shows the most recent change. Note that the April 25/26 change affected even more sites than the April 18 change.

Were you impacted by one of the April 2018 Google Algorithm Changes?

If you noticed and increase or decrease in rankings or with your featured snippets appearing in search engine results pages (SERPs), please feel free to comment below.

Len

President at Telapost
I create content and do SEO for law firms, small businesses and companies worldwide. I have been generating traffic online since 1992. I have owned multiple successful companies. I'm an organic eater, nature lover and German Shepherd owner. Feel free to contact me here.
11 Comments
  1. Hi,
    Last month till this date sales on my website till this date was $10000 with good rank. But in this month the sales till this date is decreased by about 6o%. What changes should I do to cop up with this problem?

    • AR15 and other firearms accessories is a really tough niche to be in. CheaperThanDirt, Midway, Palmetto and LuckyGunner have destroyed the firearms niche by either having sales or epic content which receives hundreds or even thousands of backlinks. It is practically impossible to compete in a white-hat fashion with a small eCommerce store.

      I can say, however, that by glancing around at your site that if it were mine I would drastically increase the amount of content on the page. For example, this page of yours has only about 20 words of text on it, and they’re duplicated from 223handguard.com. You really need unique content- a factory description on an eCommerce site is a death sentence. Check out HotSauce.com for ideas- I love that place and their content game is strong.

      Your URLs are out of control, too. Eg: https://ar15handguard.com/collections/stainless-steel-ar15-muzzle-brake/products/copy-of-1-riser-8-slot-high-riser-weaver-picatinny-scope-mount-rail-ar15-223-5-57

  2. Hi,
    My website lost its ranking and traffic came down to almost 50%. What are the best possible ways to recover from this “quality” update.

    • A lot of eCommerce websites like yours are getting whacked due to content quality problems.

      I visited one page on your site (Pack Of 2 – Car Vacuum Cleaner & Hd Vision Night & Day Glasses) and it just contained a manufacturer description. That same little strip of content is found on other sites as well, word for word. This is thin content and it is also not unique content.

  3. Our site got whacked, lost about 30% of traffic. I don’t really understand why. We lost positions on all our top keywords. Like we only lost 1 position, but it hurt, bad. CTR plummeted. Google is putting in this box on top, like telling people what they should click on, of course they are going to click on the box – it’s bolded and prevalent, why would they bother to scroll down the page? Ugh. What can we do?

    Do you think ads have anything to do with this April 18 update?

    • Ohh.. It sounds like a Featured Snippet is stealing your traffic. 🙂 That is the “box” on top. Even if you rank well, a lower ranking page can get the Featured Snippet. I could help you go after the Featured Snippet; I have obtained hundreds of these. I’ll email you shortly.

      • Hello! Could you also email me about stealing those featured snippets please?

        Thank you in advance,

        Gabriel

  4. hi, our web design company has lost 30% of its traffic since its April website update. We regularly add quality and SEO-compatible content to my website. What do you think we can be missing?

  5. We’ve been loosing traffic steadily in the last months, and this last update maybe took away about 10% of the traffic, any advice on how to fight this? – we always write unique content, both or own content and also our own text when commenting other news everybody else talk about.

    • Hi Jose,
      A 10% drop in traffic could be from something such as 1 site outranking you for 1 single phrase. I would need significantly more information. I am, however, seeing a second site with your content on it and am wondering if you’re publishing the same content to two websites or if someone is stealing your content. Actually, I am seeing a few sites with the same word-for-word content on them as you have on yours. I am not sure if this is plagiarism or not but you definitely have a content related problem. I will send you an email in a few.
      Thanks,
      Len

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