Google Search Update FAQ's
Google Search regularly updates their search ranking systems to ensure they are showing the most relevant, helpful content that they can. For more information on the different update types see:-
What's the difference between a ranking system and an update?
Ranking systems are what Google use to generate search results. They use multiple ranking systems that do different things. See A guide to Google Search ranking systems that explains some of their more notable ones. Updates are when Google make an improvement to a ranking system.
Why does Google do updates?
Google use automated systems to rank search results, and like anything, these aren't perfect. They are always looking at ways to improve these systems to show better results.
Are google doing more updates than prviously?
They update Google Search thousands of times per year. They don't share information about all updates, because many of them are relatively small and make incremental changes. Google does share information about updates the think are notable (i.e. new features or changes that can affect current rankings).
What should I do if there's an update?
If there's an update, chances are, there's nothing to do for most creators who have already been working to create helpful, reliable, people-first content. That's what Google systems seek to reward. Those doing so will largely see updates come and go without notice, or they might find themselves performing better in search.
If a particular update happens, and you notice a change in traffic, look closely at the guidance provided by Google specific to that update and review this to see if there are improvements you should make.
If my traffic drops after an update, does that mean I'm spamming?
If you see a change after a non-spam update, it's not a spam issue. However, there might be other non-spam content issues to consider.
If you saw a change after a spam update, Google systems might have determined you were spamming or perhaps discounting spam links that might have benefited your site.
What Information on updates does Google share?
Google share when they think an update might be notable in some way, to give guidance in case sites see changes.
Why does Google sometimes have notable updates that overlap?
Google tries to separate notable updates, so that if they produce changes, site owners can better identify which system is involved. However, given Google has so many updates overall, it's not always possible. In addition, when an update is evaluated and approved because it will make Search better, they don't want to hold that back.
Does Google release updates over the holiday shopping season?
Google tries to avoid having updates during the late-November to mid-December period when possible. But it's not always possible. If they have updates that can improve Search, that have been developed over the course of several months, they release them when they're ready.
How does Google know that an update really works to make things better?
Google put all possible changes to Search through a rigorous evaluation process to analyse metrics and decide whether to implement a proposed change.