New Google algorithm to blame for rankings disruption?

Happy New Year!

You may be recently back after the Christmas break, looking at how your rankings are doing and noticed some changes or fluctuations. Whilst the following may be a little ‘old news’ many of us will have had other priorities during December and perhaps we have taken the eye off the ball as far as following our rankings is concerned.

During the middle of December, Google applied another algorithmic update which was described by them as a small improvement and change to ensure that the industry remains regular, and routine. Research shows that the main impact seems to be around keywords and sites which use so called ‘doorway’ pages.

Research has been done over the last few weeks to see the full effect of this change, and how it may have impacted webmasters and owners. One piece of research followed the search engine results pages by Google in six different countries, and looked at the results for both mobile and desktop search. It is worth noting that some industries or websites behave very variably at the best of times, and therefore these may not give an accurate indication of any changes which have happened. Researchers have developed a clever algorithm which even takes this into account, and as far as this ‘change’ is concerned, found that volatility in SERP was very high recently – (as much as 9 out of 10 on their scoring system.) This almost certainly means that an update has been applied, and that it has affected the SERPs.

The update is rather unusual in that it falls out of line with traditional updates. Usually December is a very quiet month for algorithmic change because it is the holiday season and this is a big time commercially. Anything which could cause an upset is normally left to bring some stability to an otherwise frantic time.

Although we know a change has occurred, we don’t fully know yet what this exactly relates to. This will become apparent over the next few weeks so it is a very good idea to make notes in your diary to regularly check for further news on this update. It will probably be that you will have some adjusting work to do to ensure your rankings aren’t negatively affected by this. In the short term however, if you haven’t checked your rankings lately then now is certainly the time to do so and see what status you are at. If you can identify any patterns or trends with your own keywords and data, then this should make it a little easier to apply any tweaks or alterations later.

Tip: As always when these situations occur, try to avoid vast knee-jerk reactions in terms of making changes. It is better to play the long game by taking a more measured approach, waiting for further information and getting an idea of how others are responding.      

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