SEO News You Can Use: An Early Analysis of the July 2021 Core Update’s Impact

SEO News You Can Use

The July 2021 Core Update – part two of the June 2021 Core Update – completed its rollout on Tuesday, Google announced on Twitter. The latest half of this global core update consisted of the improvements that weren’t ready for release with the first half. And as is customary with these updates, the consensus is that it affected site owners either a lot or not at all, depending on who you ask. 

Google had already warned that the two-part release would increase the possibility of content that saw drastic changes in June simply reversing in July, which added an unwelcome extra element of confusion and uncertainty. But if the June update caused a drop in your rankings and you haven’t seen any bounce back yet, it’s safe to say you’ve been hit. The dust has settled, and enough time has passed for SEOs to gauge how they have been affected. 

Search Engine Journal’s (SEJ) Roger Montti looked at speculative and anecdotal observations and evidence to determine what the effects of the update have been. This is what he found:

  • Excellent optimization is paying off: Montti said sites that have put the time and effort into stellar SEO practices, both on-page and off-page, have, for the most part, been rewarded with stable or improved rankings. SEO professionals that have maintained their success on search engine results pages (SERPs) believe their lack of reliance on low-quality links is the reason.
  • There might be an increase in spam: This is unexpected because Google’s two-part spam update recently rolled out, and Google has been vocal about its war on spam. But several SEOs have reported seeing an increase in, shall we say, questionable results on SERPs. Check out Montti’s blog to see what everyone’s talking about.
  • Low-quality sites seem to be ranking: In another strange twist of affairs, several SEOs – in the U.S. and other countries – have reported an increase in low-quality websites on SERPs. An SEO specialist based in Italy commented on Twitter that Google search results were “disastrous” post-update.
  • There’s less ccTLD crowding in search results: SEO expert Lily Ray tweeted that specifically Pinterest ccTLDs, which had seen an increase in visibility throughout 2020, suddenly took a dive. This could mean that domain crowding (when the same domain ranks repeatedly in search results) have lost some of their power.

Right now, these results are a perplexing outcome. But it’s important to remember that Montti’s findings are anecdotal, and we can’t yet say for sure what the algorithm change has done. But if you’re one of the websites that saw a drop in rankings with this latest update, it’s helpful to know what other SEOs have been seeing. Of course, before scrambling to make any site updates, a good idea might be to wait until the end of August. When Google’s Page Experience update has also fully rolled out, we’ll be better equipped to know exactly where we stand.

More SEO News You Can Use

This Yandex SEO Guide Could Transform Your SEO Strategy: It’s called “search engine optimization,” but sometimes it feels like it may as well be called Google optimization. Let’s face it – most SEOs focus solely on Google, and with a market share the size of Google’s, that’s no surprise at all. But there’s a wealth of search engines out there with untapped users yet to be reached, and Yandex is one of them. Yandex is by a huge margin the most popular search engine in Russia and the second-most-popular in many other countries, so there’s a strong case to be made for adding Yandex to your SEO strategy. If you don’t know where to start, check out Dan Taylor’s ultimate guide to Yandex SEO for SEJ. Taylor covers just about every aspect of SEO from a Yandex perspective, including technical, image, local and mobile. It’s never a bad idea to broaden your SEO horizons! 

Google Has Partnered With GoDaddy To Help eCommerce Merchants Get Found: In yet another win for eCommerce merchants in 2021, Google on Tuesday announced in a blog that it would be teaming up with internet domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy. This integration will enable GoDaddy merchants to show up on Google’s search results and be more easily discovered by consumers across Search, Shopping, Image Search and YouTube at no extra cost. GoDaddy provides several services for eCommerce merchants, from domain purchase and website building to hosting and site security, and the platform has over 20 million customers. With this partnership, lucky GoDaddy merchants can add products to Google in just a few clicks and promote them via a Smart Shopping campaign or create free listings. How great is that?

Here’s an SEO Secret – You Don’t Always Need a Meta Description: Old-school SEO tips and techniques dictate that every page on your site should have a meta description. Many of us have likely ended up in a situation where we’ve had to craft a seemingly endless list of missing meta descriptions after an SEO audit, and one thing’s for sure: few tasks are more tedious. But what if we told you that meta descriptions aren’t as important as you think? Just ask Stephen Watts, who wrote an SEJ article covering when – and when not – to write meta descriptions. In it, Watts makes a pretty convincing argument for (in certain instances) not writing meta descriptions at all. For the record, even Google, which has stated all pages should have meta descriptions, says it only “sometimes” looks at these tags. Watts highlights the instances where having a meta description is absolutely vital, but also a few where it’s a waste of time, so check it out and give yourself permission to let some of those missing metas slide. 

John Mueller Says There Are Instances Where Outreach Link Building Is Okay: In the latest Search Central office-hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller said (though not in so many words) that outreach link building is acceptable provided that a few lines aren’t crossed. This may come as a surprise because Google’s Webmaster Guidelines seem to indicate that all outreach-based link building is a violation of the rules. Granted, in true Mueller style, he managed to let this information slip without actually using the words “outreach” or “link building,” but it’s fairly clear what he’s implying. Mueller said it’s “generally fine” to contact people and tell them about a piece of content you’ve produced that they might appreciate for their own website. But he also reiterated that as soon as an exchange of money is involved, you’re going against Google’s guidelines. 

Apple’s iOS Leaves Facebook Advertisers With Inconsistent Data and Revenue Loss: The introduction of iOS 14.5 has forced iPhone users to take control of how their data is being shared. Apple’s controversial App Tracking Transparency feature introduced a window requesting permission to track user activity. The update has been live for almost three months now, long enough to give advertisers an idea of user sentiment towards being tracked by apps. The results are not that surprising: Users only give iOS apps permission to track them 25 percent of the time. Facebook advertisers, in particular, are struggling with this sudden decline in user data. A Bloomberg article suggests that major revenue loss could be an unavoidable side effect for Facebook. With many small businesses totally dependent on Facebook advertising, media buyers and advertisers are now questioning whether Apple’s privacy push is as noble as it initially seemed. Check out the article and make up your own mind.

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

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