Google’s Latest Broad Core Ranking Update: Florida 2

Kyle Freeman, SEO Team Lead

Florida 2 Algorithm Update

What’s Going On?

On March 12th, Google released what is being referred to as the Florida 2 algorithm update. Website owners are already noticing significant shifts across their keyword rankings. While Google’s algorithm updates vary in terms of how often they receive broad notice, the Florida 2 update is one that every marketer needs to be paying close attention to.

Who Was Impacted by the Florida 2 Algorithm Update?

Google makes several broad ranking algorithm updates each year, but only confirms updates that result in widespread impact. Google did confirm Florida 2, and there are SEOs out there already calling it the “biggest update [Google has made] in years.” Unlike last August’s Medic Update, Florida 2 isn’t targeting a specific niche or vertical, which means the entire search community needs to be paying attention as we try to better understand the changes Google is making to its search algorithm.

While it’s still too early for our team to pinpoint what exactly is being impacted by Florida 2, we’re going to keep a very close eye on where things fall out over the next several days (and weeks).

Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

  • Indiscriminate swings in site traffic & ranking, with some websites reporting zero traffic after the update.
  • Evidence of traffic increases for site owners who are prioritizing quality content and page speed.
  • A worldwide impact – this is not a niche specific or region specific update.
  • Potential adjustments in how Google is interpreting particular search queries.
  • Backlink quality possibly being a very important factor.
  • Short term keyword ranking changes (declines in ranking that then back to “normal” after a few hours).

My Rankings Took a Hit. What Can I Do?

In short? Nothing. But don’t panic.

As with any Google algorithm update, websites will see increases or declines in their rankings. There is no quick fix for sites or web pages that experience negative results from the update; don’t make the mistake of aggressively changing aspects of your site without fully understanding the broader impact those changes will have. If you are being negatively impacted by Florida 2 (or any other algorithm update), your best bet is continuing to focus on offering the best content you can, as that is what Google always seeks to reward.

For advice on how to produce great content, a good starting point is to review Google’s Search Quality Guidelines. For recommendations on copywriting tips and strategies check out the copywriting section of the Portent blog.

We’ll continue to update this post as we gather more information.

Update: Google officially named the algorithm update ‘March 2019 Core Update.’ Webmasters of several websites characterize the March 2019 update as more of a rollback, as it appears sites that were negatively impacted by recent algorithm updates are now recovering lost traffic. Google has long held the stance that pages that experience adverse effects from an algorithm update aren’t inherently flawed, but Google spokespeople on Twitter have noted that this most recent update focuses on benefiting pages that were “previously under-rewarded.”

In other words, there are no specific changes you can make to your website to quickly remedy your rankings (other than stop relying on old SEO tricks). It would be best if you continued to focus on creating high-quality content and optimizing for keywords around the user’s search intent. These are the things that Google rewards, and you can learn more about what’s considered high-quality content by reading Google’s Search Quality Guidelines. For recommendations on copywriting tips and strategies check out the copywriting section of the Portent blog.

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