Early last week, webmasters, marketers, and SEO professionals started seeing changes to both rankings and the appearance of pages in the search results. There was no official word from Google, but many suspected that a broad algorithm change was underway. Google confirmed those suspicions today, calling it a “broad core algorithm update.”

The problem with a broad general update such as this is that no one thing changed significantly. From what we are hearing, Google essentially fixes problems with the algorithm on a semi-annual basis, and this is one of those fixes.

The release itself confirms this in the release confirming the change when it says that there is nothing any site can do to improve positions. The statement goes on to say that if sites drop, it is because previously under-rewarded sites moved up the rankings.

Here is Google’s statement on Twitter:

“As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.

There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

The only course of action affected sites can take to compare metrics of sites that dropped and sites that moved up and look for clues on what changed in the algorithm. Then work on those assumptions and see if the rankings begin to improve.