Google web search and local search ranking algorithm updates over the weekend


As of around Friday, April 23, there appears to have been an unconfirmed Google search ranking algorithm on both the web search results side and the local search results side. There is chatter in the SEO forums coupled with the automated tracking tools detecting big changes, it looks like we’ve had some sort of unconfirmed update.

To be clear, the product reviews update ended on Thursday, April 22. Could it be related to that? I do not think so. Also, there was a lot more gossip with this unconfirmed update than the product review update in general – so I don’t think the two are related.

I have to say that there has also been some significant discussion that Google is not indexing content recently. Maybe, just maybe, this is why Gary Illyes spoke out on passing the quality checks for indexing – maybe this update had an impact on what Google will index and what has the quality threshold been changed here? I just guess, I don’t know.

Here are some of the gossip in the WebmasterWorld forums; note, I have cited below include the son and articles on Google’s indexing issues, but more focused on ranking fluctuations – but they can be related:

Big drop this afternoon. Has anyone noticed any fluctuations?

Anyone else noticed that Google favors freshness right now?

You have a competitor who just repostes the same type of post every few days with a different title and redefines the content and skyrockets in the rankings and does well on Google Discover. The Fluff article just republished every few days.

My traffic in the US is down 24% today … the drop started at 2pm. Traffic from all other countries on average or increasing. I’m terribly fed up with my traffic in the United States being strangled for half the day …

Exactly the same. At 2 p.m. the fall began. It is becoming commonplace every day. Yesterday was more important.

I saw a big drop yesterday too. Still very low today …

I was up over 30% yesterday from the same day last week. Last Saturday was lower than usual but not significantly. It is up 20% from the previous Saturday. The good fortunes continue today as traffic continues to trend.

I ended the day yesterday with -18% on USA traffic. Meanwhile, Google sent much higher than normal traffic levels from Germany at + 100% yesterday and + 300% today … it’s now going on for about ten days. The United Kingdom and Canada also made strong progress. American traffic continues to limp and has never recovered from the decline of 2/13 and the even larger drop of 3/15. The drop also seems to target my most important and profitable landing pages and keywords, like Google is crawling your most important content and cutting traffic … it’s amazing how accurate they are.

I was 75% yesterday and generally expect 60-80% so okay but today with 5 hours of Googleday I’m 54% and it seems slow on all sites.

And as usual, huge drop in traffic after 2 p.m. G limited my traffic earlier today: – |

It seems like once you’re hit with a major update, every little update just makes it worse. When you get a major update, most smaller updates are beneficial.

There is more chatter on both the ranking fluctuation side and the indexing side.

Here are screenshots of the tracking tools; most show changes as early as the 22nd or 23rd.


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SERP metrics (watch this dive):

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Advanced web rankings:

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Cognitive SEO:

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And like I said, it’s also on the local side, see BrightLocalstool:

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I have to note that this was the 9th anniversary of the Google Penguin update on Saturday the 24th – coincidence? 😛

In summary; I doubt this relates to updating product reviews, it could be a quality change made by Google that could impact indexing as well as local search. Google hasn’t confirmed anything yet.

Discussion forum at WebmasterWorld.

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