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Google: Timing Of September Core Update After HCU Not Coincidental

Google's Danny Sullivan explained why the September Core Update closely followed the Helpful Content Update

Core Update Timing

Google’s Danny Sullivan answered a tweet that questioned the timing of the September Core Algorithm Update soon after the Helpful Content Update.

Dr.Pete Meyers tweeted that he had a hard time imagining that the two updates coming one after the other was a coincidence.

He tweeted:

“Hard to imagine that a September Core Update right on the heels (literally zero business days later) of the Helpful Content Update is a coincidence.

These aren’t spontaneous events Google just wakes up Monday morning and decides to kick off.”

Pete  followed up later on with another tweet to clarify his meaning:

“My tweet may have come across more conspiratorial than intended — I wasn’t suggesting that one was meant to obfuscate the other so much as speculating that a Core Update might be a natural, planned follow-up to the new signals introduced in the HCU.”

A core algorithm update following by days the end of a targeted update like the Helpful Content Update (HCU) feels unusual.

So Pete had good reason to speculate that the timing was not coincidental.

And though it felt unusual that one update followed another so closely, it wasn’t unprecedented.

For example, Google rolled out a total of six updates from June to July 2021.

Why Core Update Followed Helpful Content Update

Danny Sullivan, who is Google’s Search Liaison, answered Pete with a series of tweets, confirming that the core update was not a coincidence, that there was reason for one following the other.

Danny tweeted:

“Just saw this. We’ve worked very hard to keep updates separated from each other, or as little overlap as possible, to help creators understand more.

So no, not coincidence we are due a core update but said let’s wait on that until the helpful content update has rolled out…”

Danny then addressed the idea that Google released the core update in order to obscure what was going on with the HCU.

He tweeted:

“I get some folks are trying to read more into things that aren’t there, and that’s always going to be a fact of SEO life.

But if the point was to purposely confuse or whatever, we could roll multiple update on the very same day.

We’ve worked to do the opposite…”

Danny followed up by stating that sometimes it’s going to be inevitable that updates will follow one after another.

He explained:

“It’ll be unavoidable that some updates might overlap as we can’t hold things we believe will help improve search back. But I think we’ve done more to communicate more about updates we do, when they happen and what they involve than ever, including our page”

Danny continued:

“And when it’s unavoidable for updates to overlap, we have worked to space them apart as much as possible so people might have a better idea of what might have caused a particular change (and for many sites, updates cause no change at all).”

No Connection Between Two Updates

According to Danny Sullivan, there was no connection between the two updates.

The reason for the core update was simply that one was due to be released.

Danny said that Google is able to roll out multiple updates simultaneously, which meant they could have released the core algorithm update at the same time as the HCU and not mention the HCU at all.

But Google decided to announce the HCU and purposely postpone releasing the core update until after the HCU was finished, thereby spacing them out.

Featured image by Shutterstock/mialapi

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

Google: Timing Of September Core Update After HCU Not Coincidental

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