Google’s November 2021 core replace hit quick and arduous; here’s what the information suppliers noticed

On November 17, 2021, Google began introducing the core update from November 2021. This happened about four and a half months after the core update from July 2021, i.e. about one month after the core update from June 2021. So in 2021 we had a total of three comprehensive Google Core updates.

We asked several data companies that track Google search results to send us their impressions of this update. The results of this data showed that this rollout was hit hard within the first 24 hours of the announcement and then quickly slowed down. Note that Google has not yet confirmed that this update will be deployed. Most reports show that there is evidence that the November 2021 update was more extensive than the July 2021 update.

The facts. Google started rolling out the core update from November 2021 on November 17, 2021 at around 11:00 a.m. This update has not yet been completed and, to our knowledge, is still being rolled out. However, we expect the majority of the effects of this update to be felt around the first day after this update, although there may be some residual effects that may linger for the next week or so. The timing of this November core update leaves many of us a little blind as it was released just before the busiest time for most ecommerce sites.

The core update from July 2021 began on July 1, 2021 around noon and was completed on July 12, 2021. The June 2021 core update began, as we previously reported, on Wednesday, June 2, around 6:30 p.m. ET. Like all core updates, this was a global update and was not specific to any region, language, or category of site. It’s a classic “Broad Core Update” that Google releases about every few months. The previous core update before the consecutive June and July core update combination was almost six months long, while the core update from December 2020 took place on December 3rd.

Other Google updates this year. This year we’ve had a number of confirmed updates from Google and many that have not been confirmed by Google. In the last order we had the core update from July 2021, Google MUM was introduced this month, then the spam update from June 28th, the spam update from the 23rd update, the core update from July 2021, the link -Spam update from July and the spam update from November plus some unconfirmed updates.

Previous core updates. The last previous core update was the July 2021 core update, which was rolled out quickly (kind of like this one), followed by the June 2021 core update, and that update became slow but a big update. Then we had the December 2020 core update and the December update was very big, bigger than the May 2020 core update, and that update was big and comprehensive too, and it took a couple of weeks to fully roll out. Before this was the core update from January 2020, we had some analysis of this update here. The previous one was the September 2019 core update. This update felt weaker for a lot of SEOs and webmasters as many said it didn’t have as much of an impact as previous core updates. Google also published an update in November, but it was specific to local rankings. You can find more information about previous Google updates here.

Data provider for the core update from November 2021:

Semrush. Semrush data showed that the November 2021 core update was hit hard and then slowed down very quickly in terms of its volatility tracker as pictured below or you can see the Semrush sensor tool live.

“This is similar to the introduction of the July update, but the return to ‘normal’ fluctuations was even more dramatic here (ie less ‘slowed down’ period compared to July),” Semrush’s Mordy Oberstein told us.

The November update was “far more volatile” than what we saw in the July core update, the company said. In particular, the November update was 12% more volatile in desktop search results than the July core update and 23% more volatile in mobile search results. So if your into digging into this update, be sure to check out your mobile results, not just your desktop results.

Here is a graph showing the differences between the November and July 2021 core updates by sector:


You can see how the Healthcare Sector experienced 41% more volatility on both desktops and mobile devices in the November 2021 Core Update than in the July 2021 Core Update. Often times, the Healthcare Sector is more affected by core updates than some other sectors.

What’s more, 16% of the top 20 results weren’t listed in Google search results before the November update. That said, 16% of the ranking URLs between positions 1-20 were worse than position 20 before the update, said Semrush.


And here is a table of the winners and losers from this November 2021 core update from Semrush:


RankRanger. The RankRanger team also analyzed Google search results after this core update rollout in November. They also found that this update was rolled out fairly quickly, although it may not have been completed yet. RankRanger’s Shay Harel said, “This update is showing similar variability as the July Core Update.” But he said that is the case when you look at the top three and top ten results. However, the top 5 results showed significantly higher fluctuations, said Shay Harel. They also found that the average changes from the company’s top 20 positions were slightly lower than they were for the July core update.

This graph below shows the changes based on the top 3, top 5, and top 10 results:


Also, if you look at the Health, Finance, Retail, and Travel niches, RankRanger shows pretty even fluctuations, with the exception of the retail niche. It seems that retail has seen bigger swings in the top three and top five positions, the company told me.

Here’s a graph that shows that:


SISTRIX. The folks at SISTRIX, another data provider that is tracking the changes in Google search results, sent me their top 20 winners and losers for the November 2021 core update.


Here is a chart comparing some of the competing websites in the dictionary space. It seems like these four have made really big gains with this update:


SEO Clarity. Mitul Gandhi of seoClarity told us that there is a “large fluctuation of a few days” that he thinks is common with most Google core updates. The seoClarity team shared some of the biggest changes it has seen at some of the big brands.

In the e-commerce niche, for example, Wayfair and eBay stood out against seoClarity with the first data from November 16, compared to the analysis from November 18, with significant declines. But shortly after that, Wayfair and eBay saw a rebound for some reason. Here is a graphic of the search visibility of seoClarity of Wayfair:


Walmart and HomeDepot increased their keywords in the top 3 positions in Google search by 10% and 19% respectively, which is “a good sign for the holiday season,” said Mitul Gandhi. Bed Bath and Beyond saw a 45% increase in their top three positions in Google search. But the top retailers that sell shoes saw a decline, with Zappos in particular losing 23% of their top 3 rankings while DSW lost 25%.

In other areas outside of e-commerce, saw the strongest ranking improvements in the seoClairty data set. Between November 16 and the 21.11. they rank in the first three positions of the Google search for around 18,000 other keywords. While Skyscanner was driving the notable decline in the travel sector, it lost 23% of its keywords in the top 3 positions. appears to have lost 60% of its top 3 rankings while lost 19%. Cars and Drivers lost 11% of their keywords in the top 3 positions. And Pinterest lost 13% of its top 3 rankings, while Etsy gained 19% in the top 3 positions.

Mitul Gandhi from seoClarity told us: “Don’t panic! Initial swings aren’t where many will end, as Wayfair and Ebay have shown. ”Mitual Gandhi also shared some early data on Twitter last Friday, but the data above is fresher from her dataset.

More about the core update from November 2021

The SEO community. The November 2021 core update, as I said above, was quick and hard to feel. Not just in terms of ranking impact, but timing too. I was able to cover the community reaction in a blog post on the Search Engine Roundtable. It contains some of the early chatters, ranking charts, and social shares from some SEOs.

What to do if you get hit Google has provided advice on what to watch out for if you have been negatively impacted by a core update in the past. There are no specific recovery measures to be taken, and a negative impact on the ranking cannot indicate that there is something wrong with your pages. However, Google has provided a list of questions to consider if a core update affects your website. Google has said you can see a little recovery between core updates, but the biggest change you would see would be after another core update.

Why we care. It’s often hard to isolate what to do to undo an algorithmic hit that your website might have seen. When it comes to Google Core updates, this is even more difficult. With this data and previous experience and advice shown, these core updates are broad and comprehensive, and cover many common quality issues. The above data have confirmed this. So, if your site has been affected by a core update, it is often recommended that you get away from it all, take a fuller look at your entire website, and see what you can do to improve the site as a whole.

We hope that you, your company, and your customers have coped well with this update.

About the author


Barry Schwartz is an editor at Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a New York-based web consulting firm. He also runs the Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is called Cartoon Barry and can be followed here on Twitter.

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