Understanding Google’s Newest Change

Over the past week, people of the SEO community have openly discussed a noticeable fluctuation in the SERPs. Although it is common to see volatility in the search results from day-to-day or hour-to-hour, however, what was most interesting is seeing an increase in complaints built around these changes.

When did the changes start? The SEO community such as WebmasterWorld and Black Hat forums noticed strong positive and negative ranking changes around January 5th, 6th, and 9th.

Here are a few of the comments mentioned:

“Big changes happening in the SERPs since Friday for us. Anyone noticing an uptick or downward slide of long tail referrals? First time we’ve seen much since the big changes in August/September.”

“Just confirming that we are seeing some noticeable changes in the SERPs, especially today, Jan 9th.”

“Big uptick today, and I knew it was coming because on every update I get a sudden burst of inquiries from customers. If the pattern holds, this will be temporary and tomorrow or next day drop right back down….we’ll see”

While many (including us) believe that there was an algorithm update made by Google over the past week or so, Google has not officially confirmed nor denied any sort of specific update.

Do algorithm updates matter? You’re doing everything you possibly can to increase your search ranking and drive more traffic, but your site just can’t keep up with the algorithm change. Does it matter? Last spring, the following announcement was issued:

“Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.

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.”

So does it really matter? It’s a topic worth talking about after the SMX West conference later this month where a session on “Machine vs man: What really matters for SEO success” will be discussed. If we hear about any significant details worth mentioning, we will let you know!

Bottom line. Google will continue to make changes and so should you with your website. Don’t sit back and wait, future competitors who are on top of their game will eventually overtake what you should have continued doing.

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