The June 2019 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update impacted the rankings of websites in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages. Several aspects of the algorithm were changed which caused some sites to gain visibility and others to lose visibility.

Generally speaking, sites negatively impacted will see a drop in rankings for many or all of important keywords or key phrases which they used to rank well for. This is usually first noticed by a sudden dip in traffic. Sites positively impacted will see the opposite.

For example, here’s a traffic estimate for, which was negatively impacted and is now experiencing an organic traffic loss:

While I do not have direct access to their actual data, it is safe to say they have had a significant loss in traffic. That’s because they’re no longer ranking highly on page 1 of Google for terms such as “Keto Diet”.

The June 2019 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update impacted sites across the web, however, I am personally seeing the most impact on News and Health sites.

What is a Core Update?

A “core update”, also called a “broad core update”, is when Google makes several changes to their main (core) algorithm. These updates include a variety of factors such as:

Broad core updates are different than the other tweaks Google makes to the search results hundreds of times each year since they are “broad” and encompass several ranking factors.

Quality metrics in these major updates throughout 2018 and 2019 have had a dramatic impact on websites which could impact someone’s health or financial well being. Some of the niches which have felt the most impact are:

June 2019 Core Algorithm Update – Live Timeline

This section will be updated as the algorithm rolls out.

Learning from Winners & Losers.

I really dislike “winners & losers” sections of articles like this.


There is definitely information to glean from websites which have benefited from improvements made to their websites. Of course, that’s tough to gauge unless you’ve been tracking them. And, if you spot a bunch of sites which have lost traffic, you can analyze them for correlations as well.

That said, let’s start with the big winners and losers. Sistrix documented the largest visibility gains and losses. Here they are:

Biggest wins:

Biggest losses:

What can we learn from those? Let’s take a look at one of them, Mercola.

** 6/25/2019: Sorry for the lack of updates to this article – I am away but have much more to add. Below are some thoughts on Mercola as they recently mentioned this article. **

Mercola’s Traffic Loss

11/12/2019 Follow up: I respond to Mercola’s article about Google algorithms here.

A great Chrome Extension I use often called NewsGuard. NewsGuard offers “Nutrition Labels” for websites. NewsGuard gives Mercola a very bad report card. The NewsGuard website states that “This website severely violates basic standards of credibility and transparency”. The NewsGuard page goes on to state that the site acts as a health website but pushes false claims about things such as vaccinations. The page also states that Mercola has been criticized by physicians and scientists and sanctioned by regulatory agencies for promoting unsubstantiated theories in their articles.

When looking at Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines for E-A-T signals, it would be pretty easy to conclude that Mercola pages could be giving out misleading information. In fact, Google says the lowest ratings should go to a “YMYL page with inaccurate potentially dangerous medical advice”.

What’s YMYL? Google says “Some types of pages could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users. We call such pages “Your Money or Your Life” pages, or YMYL.”  … “We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low quality YMYL pages could potentiallynegatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”

YMYL content includes medical content. According to Google: “Medical information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc”

In Google’s guidelines, they actually use “Stomach Flu” as an example of medical content:

And what’s Mercla been discussing on their site? Stomach Flu (please note, I didn’t read this article in particular but it’s a relevant example).

Now to be fair, I haven’t ever been on Mercola’s site, and I have no clue what’s on it. But I am indeed seeing a high correlation of sites punished by Google’s algorithms for low E-A-T signals which have negative pages on Wikipedia. Here’s Mercola’s page:

If that’s the case, Mercola has very small chances of recovery.

Additional Examples:

eCommerce site example:
I can’t mention it’s name, however, this site has a wide variety of content problems & technical problems. Additionally, they cover medical content and I’m not so sure the site has the “authority”. There are just a wide variety of issues here that correlate with a low quality site.

A legal site positively impacted:
This is actually a client of mine and they were positively impacted. I have not yet taken a close look at the traffic, but I suspect they are ranking better than they were for a handful of key phrases and possibly getting an extra featured snippet here and there. We’ve been doing almost everything right on this site, so I suspected it may remain untouched or see a small gain.

A Note on the Quality Rater Guidelines:

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the 2019 Google Quality Rater Guidelines. Google has been releasing the QRG just before major algorithm updates.

There’s 200 pages of useful information in the QRG. If you weren’t aware, Google hires quality raters to evaluate websites found in search results. According to Google, the rater’s ratings do not directly impact search results, but correlations from their findings may be used to influence future algorithm updates.

The latest QRG focuses more on “page quality” and determining if a page fulfills the user’s search query.

News Websites:

I am seeing a variety of news websites which lost/gained traffic. While news websites are not my personal area of expertise, I think a few of the things that can harm news websites could include:

Were you affected by the Algorithm Update?

If you were impacted, please comment below.


4 Responses

    1. Thanks (again) DJ! This is looking very “Medic-y”. Lots of Quality / Trust signals here from on page to backlinks. They have twisted many of the same knobs they’ve been playing with in the past. I’ll be sure to update this as I discover more and when I have more data.

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