Google's Algorithm Upsets Search Rankings

It may benefit brands to take a little power back from Google and Bing by building a direct consumer following, rather than relying so much on additional traffic from Google and Bing.

I’ve even cut my reliance on shopping through retail websites and going straight to the brand’s site. I've discovered that I would rather give my data to the brand than the retailer. They seem to appreciate it more.

Malte Landwehr, vice president at Searchmetrics, reminded brands in a post -- accompanied by data released Tuesday -- of the benefits to building an expertise in a topic, so users and Google trust the site. It should become one of the brand’s key investments for websites to create long-term user relationships.

It makes the website more independent of individual Google updates. More direct traffic means less dependency from organic search, he wrote.

Following Google’s first major algorithm update in 2019, which caused “major upheaval” in the global search results, Searchmetrics conducted an analysis of the types of sites affected in the United States and why. The Core Algorithm Update 2019 rolled out on March 12.



One of the clear trends, per Searchmetrics, is the ability to favor one website over another -- particularly when users search for sensitive keywords that provide a higher level of trust. These are pages with information that can have an impact on a person’s current or future well being, such as physical, financial or safety.

Those who benefit from the change in focus are websites with a strong brand profile and a broad topic focus. It also means that niche websites dealing with these topics have seen their rankings fall.

Searchmetrics also believes that based on the analysis, user signals will grow in importance. The data shows that Google’s algorithm increased its weight of user signals when calculating rankings. Interestingly, websites that improved their search performance following the Google Core Update have higher values for time onsite and page views per visit, and lower bounce rates than their online competitors.

Time onsite for “winners” came in at 2:29 with 2.7 page views per visit and a bounce rate of 58%. Time onsite of “losers” came in at 1:58 page views per visit, with a bounce rate of 65%.

Searchmetrics also views the algorithm change as having brought major changes for health websites.

Health websites that were among the overall winners of last year from Searchmetrics 2018 Google winners and losers analysis are now among the biggest losers of this latest Google Update. For example,, which came in among the top, suffered a drop of 9% in its SEO Visibility, and fell by 5%.



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