Did Google Do An Algorithm Update Yesterday?

Mar 26, 2014 • 8:46 am | comments (107) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Update BrewingWe've been noticing a steady and consistent level of chatter in the forums and social networks from webmasters and SEOs around Google's search results fluctuations. The steady an consistent level of chatter is actually higher than the typical, but it is steady and consistently asking if there was shifts.

As you know, Google has been active on manual actions recently around a lot of link networks, so I first suspected the chatter and reactions were around sites being impacted by that. It still may be but it seems the chatter has slightly increased over the past day or so.

Here are some posts from the WebmasterWorld thread that tracks these things:

Seeing huge movement since saturday. It seems to be the "softer" Panda update. Unfortunately it looks more like a hardend version, since almost all small websites in my niche (including mine) went down a few spots and many big brand sites with low quality content are ranking much higher than before.

We've seen some negative shifting here, down 5 - 10 positions for most of our main terms. Bad times again spooned out by Google.

My small niche site's traffic has doubled since last week. I did get a big link last week and added rich snippet breadcrumbs the weekend before and google is now showing the review score snippets finally, so don't know if it's an algo thing or any of the latter.

The search results tracking tools all report heavy activity over the past couple days, this includes Mozcast, SERPs.com, SERPMetrics and Algoroo. Here are screen captures of those charts:



Search Metrics


Truth is, my internal signals from all of this makes me believe there wasn't a major algorithm update but I can be wrong. I just think there is a lot of manual actions going out this past week or so and a lot of SEOs and webmasters disavowing a lot of links, thus shaking up the search results.

I can be wrong but that is my gut feeling.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: A Google Manual Action We Should Worry About & Learn From


Josh Zehtabchi

03/26/2014 12:50 pm

I'm with you, Barry. I didn't feel or suspect much of a change. But maybe that's a good OR bad thing?

Andre Buxey

03/26/2014 12:53 pm

that would be a good thing if you not experiencing any of this. The previous algo updates i felt nothing, over the past week my rankings are dropping rather badly just after i done major updates, so i thought it was the updates but reason on other client websites shows me that its def an algo update.

Soni Sharma

03/26/2014 01:03 pm

Yes the change is noticed. The Big/Huge websites are up and small websites with high quality content are down in ranking again.


03/26/2014 01:09 pm

Seeing a bunch of very generic PDF's moving up on a ton of product related search terms. Love to see PDF's in the top 10 rankings for commercial products!

Spam Cutts

03/26/2014 01:10 pm

Seeing lot of movement Barry across many SERPS, I think your right on this one! Penguin maybe? Normally around MAY!


03/26/2014 03:12 pm

Seeing lots of movement too and also noticed a change in knowledge graph for brands - anyone else seeing that too?

Durant Imboden

03/26/2014 03:19 pm

I haven't seen any change. (Of course, if it were a Panda update, it could take a while to roll out across the Web.)

Prince Polly

03/26/2014 03:41 pm

I see no movement at all, even on a spammy term like 'international movers'. Site that got hit must be really bad or spammy...


03/26/2014 04:04 pm

They do 600 updates a year. Of course there was an update yesterday.

PM Fiorini

03/26/2014 04:08 pm

I believe so. They named the update the "Grim Reaper"...

Barry Schwartz

03/26/2014 04:10 pm

Always the wise guy.

Kyle Risley

03/26/2014 04:40 pm

You think a mass disavow would get processed that quickly? Google needs to recrawl all of the links disavowed before it discounts them. I doubt that a spike in disavowals would either have the number of links required or be crawled already to disrupt the SERPs to this degree. Mass manual action is possible, but for a single day? I'd expect to see more activity last week when the MBG penalties were handed out along with Portent and other sites I know of. I say algo.


03/26/2014 04:44 pm

There was definitely an update and a major one at that, I've seen dramatic (positive) ranking changes on at least half a dozen sites that I am involved with.


03/26/2014 05:08 pm

yes its true i see also much results poors on the top how ebay products. pdfs poor content,

Alexander Hemedinger

03/26/2014 05:26 pm

I am gonna agree with you here Barry. I think a lot of disavowing is affecting things honestly....

Alexander Hemedinger

03/26/2014 05:27 pm



03/26/2014 06:01 pm

This seems to be a data refresh update. I'm seeing strong increases of organic growth. So if you're doing everything that you're supposed to be doing, you should've been rewarded for it over the last few days. If you're seeing negative signs, then you're doing something wrong!

F1 Steve

03/26/2014 07:25 pm

I agree with Durant, he hasn't seen any change :)


03/26/2014 07:55 pm

Your comment sounds like rote learning. If you have truly noticed this, please provide examples, to add something meaningful to the discussion.

Random Guy

03/26/2014 10:23 pm

What if there is no changes in traffic what so ever?:)


03/26/2014 10:24 pm

Andre, I made some important changes about 3 weeks ago, including H1's, description and some URLs, and saw some negative variations. Have you seen any improvements from your changes? Are all your other client's rankings dropping?

Chris Everett

03/26/2014 10:56 pm

Organic rankings are holding steady over here. No real movement for any of my sites, or my clients.

Ross Crawford

03/26/2014 11:33 pm

my website which is 4 months old just spiked big for me in google in the last 2-3 days

Ross Crawford

03/26/2014 11:34 pm

all must be good here... seeing spike


03/27/2014 12:22 am

This is why I build quality sites AND spammy sites. The spammy sites jumped in the last 24 hours while the quality authority sites have bombed. A different kind of diversification that nobody talks about.

Ashley Stanf

03/27/2014 12:25 am

Omg another Google update. Who cares honestly about this pointless, worthless updates. With every update their search results get worse and worse, yet, they are on their high horse "battling spam" and everyone telling them how great they are. Common, let's be real. Because of my school I do a lot of research, so I always look for a question to get an answer. I remember 2-3 years ago, I would type in something like: "How much does it cost to build a dating app?" and I would get an answer. What do we get now? All bunch of unrelated stuff (see the image). If Google thinks that Passport Fees and Patents are related to dating apps, then I don't know what to say. I don't even want to touch any local results, it's owned by yelp. Just type in "garage door repair los angeles" and see for yourself. Realeste niche owned by big guys now. I can go on and on about it. I'm simply stating here my personal user experience. As I said, I do a lot of research online and honestly, Google is the last search engine I go to anymore. I remember when I used to type in a programming question and I would get exactly what I needed within 1st 2-3 results. Now I have to go to the 3rd or 4th pages just to get something CLOSE to what I'm looking for. Seems like Google got caught up so much in chasing sites that buy links that they don't pay attention anymore to their own user experience. With every update they just looking for new ways to penalize everyone. There is a reason why their search share is dropping.

PM Fiorini

03/27/2014 12:36 am

Battling "spam" LOL! You are right, they should focus on search results. They keep on getting worse every update. I actually (unbelievably) used BING the other day - search results not bad - not bad at all...

Pedro Matias

03/27/2014 01:43 am

Quite a few sites and all pretty much steady not any major shift, that I could attribute to an update. Based on my past experience I think it is time to go and disavow a few more links from previous, spa... I mean SEOs.

Yogita Aggarwal

03/27/2014 03:01 am

Improvement in organic traffic ... No worries for this update.

Soni Sharma

03/27/2014 05:06 am

Hi James, Client's details are always confidential and shouldn't be shared in public forum. It is my analysis which I have noticed for my client's website with competitors. It is nothing to do with rote learning and just sake of commenting.

Jitendra Vaswani

03/27/2014 05:24 am

Same here yogita. Traffic is good

Jitendra Vaswani

03/27/2014 05:41 am

lol :)

Jitendra Vaswani

03/27/2014 05:41 am

Disavows are killing many businesses.

Patricia Janssen

03/27/2014 07:19 am

I check the http://www.rankranger.com/rank-risk-index and it's consistent with the indexes that you showed, I haven't noticed any major effects on my rankings but will definitely keep a close eye.

Andre Buxey

03/27/2014 07:44 am

Rankings have stabilized however one or two keywords are still in the gutter, as with you, i too have made new changes to H1, titles and URL structure.

Will King

03/27/2014 11:23 am

Seeing huge improvement in organic traffic since Saturday.

Neeraj Dudani

03/27/2014 11:45 am

Guys! I feel, people have started removing & disavowing links after the news of Panda Update that's why it seems like.. Google already said: Algorithms updates regularly twice in a day So we cannot take the plunge over here of their updates..;)

Neeraj Dudani

03/27/2014 11:47 am

LOL, Good change for Spammers then ;)


03/27/2014 12:23 pm

Hmm, But I wonder why i smell the Penguin 2.2? Seems its too close :)

Stuart David

03/27/2014 01:02 pm

A lot of Indian owned spammy/non-sense in my results, and seeing here with all the Indian's claiming gain, I imagine that's why. Results look similar right now to January 10th results to me

Pedro Matias

03/27/2014 02:42 pm

Do you mean SPAM business, those should die and shouldn't even be called business to start with!

Pedro Matias

03/27/2014 02:50 pm

At least :)

My Luit

03/27/2014 03:02 pm

@stuartdavid:disqus ..spammy/non-sense/stupid links whatever we say are not welcome and these are from across many regions , not necessarily Indians- we have lotsof experience.


03/27/2014 03:15 pm

Location: France, Average rank increased by 5 positions on 26 March.


03/27/2014 03:25 pm

Brandon - that isn't always true, a few months ago I had a site on the second page for some keywords only to take a dump to page 6-8 and now it has returned to the second page. The thing is I haven't done anything to the site, based on your theory I was doing things wrong and got hit in one of the last updates and now I'm doing things right when I haven't done anything to the site during that span it was on page 6-8.


03/27/2014 03:30 pm

I understand google's desire to improve their search results but with the constant changes and tweaks at some point it's going to start being counterproductive and I think we are at that point.

around the world in 80 days

03/27/2014 03:40 pm

India will be a 1st world country by the end of the day at this rate of improvement. Anyone anywhere else apart from India seeing massive gains?


03/27/2014 03:51 pm

I've noticed a slight increase in traffic - not much, but at least it's an increase rather then a decrease. But the one big thing I've noticed and that is really worrying me is my indexed urls are getting less and less by the day and this started 1-2 weeks ago. When I search google for site:mysite.com my website They were at 3700 for the longest time and each day there is less and less and now today there are only 2650. I checked in webmaster tools my sitemap and it shows indexed 5300. I can't make sense of it or if this has anything to do with an update.


03/27/2014 04:52 pm

Agree with you

Random Guy

03/27/2014 04:59 pm

I've noted the same thing Lisa. I bet 90% of your search traffic would land to about 200 to 300 of your top pages. I don't really think if lighter fluctuation in total number of pages indexed in Google would matter so much. Just take a deep breath and continue what you're doing. You're on right track.


03/27/2014 04:59 pm

Saw some improvement in traffic over the last few days (4-5), Id say 25-30%. Things seem to be getting back to where they were before whatever update there may have been.

Random Guy

03/27/2014 05:01 pm

I might be wrong though ;)


03/27/2014 05:10 pm

The experience for my website has been the opposite. The last update pushed my smaller website down below all of the big/huge sites that provide subpar content. Now I'm back to where I was before that after this latest update.

Dillip K Mohanty

03/27/2014 05:24 pm

That is going on for last few days and as far as the effect is concerned; it is not intense but widest. I mean it may nothing to do with any particular range of niches or keywords or region. It seems that every type of sites and queries are affected by it to minor extent. May be some type of minor tweaks in their algorithm.

Ashish Ahuja

03/27/2014 06:21 pm

I am seeing something like a silence before the storm. No action and movement on any sites its freakishly still for sites I am tracking.


03/27/2014 06:33 pm

You're kidding I hope. All my pre-penguin sites still rank very well under Bing and its allot of spam

Stephane Brault

03/27/2014 07:18 pm

About 15% increase in traffic, lots of rankings went up on my site.


03/27/2014 08:31 pm



03/27/2014 10:33 pm

True, just update your sitemap and resubmit it. Then try to fetch the home page in Google webmaster!


03/28/2014 04:19 am

My site was penalized on the January 9 update. It lost 98% of it's traffic, yes 98% and flat-lined ever since. Since this recent update, we've been growing every day for the first time. This is a very good feeling of relief but I still don't trust Google.


03/28/2014 08:09 am

I think that this update is foolish! We lost many position and many sites with fake outbound links increased their position..it's a nosense, google shouldn't say that "content is the king" because it's not true! It's not possible in 2014 that our competitors with fake outbound links to important universities rise-up in the serp..it's not serious

Morgan Akchehirlian

03/28/2014 09:40 am

Google algorithm has been mainly based on Backlinks. No matter how much variable Google ads for making content and user experience, backlinks will always stay important. Its looks like panda update with time span spread over to several days and a wink for softer update.


03/28/2014 10:07 am

I finally see some traffic increase across all my sites/domains. I have 2 penalised subdomains for links since 2013, only those are flat, so there are some points for a Panda update...

Soni Sharma

03/28/2014 11:38 am

Yes its true... I have seen results on top with spam link building in latest update and in-fact the sites which have high authority and poor content webpages is coming on top.

Morgan Akchehirlian

03/28/2014 11:48 am

2 websites getting back. Looks like soft panda update not hard panda update.


03/28/2014 11:50 am

Saw some improvement in traffic. Always Follow White hat SEO Technic :)

Soni Sharma

03/28/2014 12:11 pm

But I have seen Spam websites on top. For example 1 website (don't name here) which has changed 3 domains in last 6 months for same website content because manual penalty and now it is coming on top. Seems link building from various sources helping again in ranking.


03/28/2014 12:23 pm

back hat work, you will get ranking few Days, After some time sure you Go down. :( you have any example URL, Provide me thanks

Soni Sharma

03/28/2014 12:27 pm

Hi ram, I am not doing that work one of one my client's competitor doing so. I know it is black Hat and I don't use Black hat SEO. I am sure that website will be punished in other updates.. :)


03/28/2014 12:36 pm

tit for tat for your competitor,

Drew Rigler

03/28/2014 01:11 pm

Definely an update. The Mozcast weather this week was crazier than Philly weather lately, and some interesting changes in the SERPS noted, for better or worse. Google's Polar Vortex has come in and moved things around for sure.

Christos Ntourziotis

03/28/2014 07:12 pm

Hello, I lost my organics result. My website disappeared from google search and I lost my organic result. I dont have any message in webmasterstools. Anyone can help please!

Dominikos Pritis

03/28/2014 11:12 pm

I lost nearly 30% of my traffic the last two days in both techingreek.com and macingreek.com it looks like an algorithm update to me

Stuart David

03/29/2014 02:11 pm

Results are the worse looking in a long time, even opened Bing up today to see if I could get a real result!


03/29/2014 10:10 pm

No matter how much variable Google ads for making content and user experience, backlinks will always stay important. Its looks like panda update with time span spread over to several days and a wink for softer update. http://qr.net/rtcX

Andy Lighter

03/30/2014 05:05 pm

Well over the 50+ domains our company manages, there is a large drop in traffic starting March 30, 2014. These are white hat (as white as the driven snow). However, we always run gray hat and black hat tests to see which way the Google winds are blowing. The gray/black sites are doing much better this time around. So much for their "quality user experience".

Stuart David

03/30/2014 05:32 pm

We're seeing tons of spam results too, been 3 days now and its getting no better, black hatters are winning on this update

Andy Lighter

03/30/2014 05:55 pm

Did you know your short link just goes to an Amazon product page for a router? Was that intentional - if so ROTFLMAO.

Joshi B

03/31/2014 11:42 am

I have also got a boost on ranking for most of my sites.

Michael W

03/31/2014 06:36 pm

It's March Madness...


04/01/2014 08:32 am

Google stopped indexing our web pages starting March 25th. It has been 8 days, and not even a single new web pages has been indexed by them? WTF?


04/01/2014 08:52 am

Softer Panda for one week, now back in to the pit... (pre 25 March levels, even lower)


04/01/2014 10:44 am

Dropped from 200 pages indexed to 159 pages in one day, March 26th. Site traffic has lessened by 90% yet my niche ranking moved up a notch. What gives?


04/02/2014 09:41 am

Same here, but given the interval of only one week I'd say it wasn't Panda (which I found hard to believe anyway, given the content)


04/02/2014 11:43 am

Google is broken after the this week modifications! Traffic is low, Adsense is frozen, Adx is a day behind and Analytics is not to be trusted...


04/03/2014 01:50 am

Was there a Google update last March 30? Our traffic drop drastically, about 47%! http://screencast.com/t/PR2Bfj2PtYk


04/03/2014 09:44 am

Has anyone noticed in Google webmaster tools a surge in impressions from Brazil on the 26th March with no CTR?


04/04/2014 01:39 pm

I've seen some of my keywords drop, and a few get bumped a few spots... seems like something weird is going on. I think I'm just gonna spam now. Seriously, how does Google just expect people to randomly start linking to your site? All the quality content stuff is fluff.

Nikolaos Bogioglou

04/05/2014 11:49 am

I just stumbled upon this... I marked the day and I remember it but, contrary, I noticed a boost on my sites that day and on! Nice!

Wasim Memon

04/07/2014 07:01 am

i lost my 30% traffic after this update on www.androprogrammer.com. shit..

Jean Peter

04/08/2014 08:50 am

My traffic halved from 26 March 2014. What happened? What can I do? Help please!


04/26/2014 05:35 am

my website suddenely went to 2 page of search result keyword is SATTA MATKA my website http://sattamatka.org please tell me what to to now my previous position was 1 page no 3

Seriously Spain

04/26/2014 01:38 pm

Stop using Google for anything and do all your searches on Yahoo and Bing. Any small website owner that still uses Google search is a fool, IMO, as Google has proven they are going to continue to push mega-corporations in search over anyone else. Support Yahoo and Bing and take some of our power back, as the better these two engines do, the better the rest of us do.

Seriously Spain

04/26/2014 01:39 pm

It's been like that for the last two years. The only results in Google now are either black hat sites, mega corporations or garbage. I don't touch them with a 10 foot pole now, and do all my searches on Yahoo and Bing. Much better engines and not being bought out by mega corporations - yet.


04/26/2014 03:21 pm

ok thank you sir is this becouse of panda new update or deprecated html i have used


04/26/2014 07:36 pm

use google referrer for your website like i am using https://www.google.co.in/url?q=http://sattamatka.org/&sa=U&ei=XghcU-q7EpGE8gXoqoCIDg&ved=0CEcQFjAG&usg=AFQjCNHaEsP71OeRlPrfmpWkR4jMsQbRDg google ranking will be increasing i think

Rani Thakur

04/28/2014 07:46 am

I lost my 50% traffic after this update on www.blossomsquare.com plz help me what we do ........


04/29/2014 02:05 am

You need to have more content on your home page as it is filled mainly with images. Google reads text better than images. Also ensure that all your product descriptions are unique and original - NOT duplicated elsewhere.

Rani Thakur

04/29/2014 10:07 am

Thank you ... nielpet


05/01/2014 02:31 pm

A complete waste of time. We are on page 1 of Yahoo/Bing for our top keywords and we get no conversions because there is no traffic as everyone is typing queries into Google. Simple.


05/14/2014 06:38 am

I am lossing ranking, but i can see that those persons who use footprint on other sites are still on top. can any buddy tell me why?

Krishna Moorthi

05/20/2014 08:48 pm

To me it all seems perfect when you have a blog, but what if what you have is not a blog but an online store, and share databases, which provide you with the manufacturers and distributors, with the rest of your competitors? The product descriptions contained within those databases, are obviously the same for all, no one copied anyone, but all have the same items for sale. There can not be original, especially when you have a large number of items, which also change quite rapidly.


05/21/2014 05:18 pm

Last night may 21st 3pm (local Dutch time) i noticed a drop of 70% less visitors. Has there been a big Google Algorithm change?

zubair waheed

05/27/2014 07:19 am

I lost my 60% traffic after this update on www.newfashincorner.com

Ayaz Ahmad

05/28/2014 10:22 am

I have lost 15-20% traffic of http://www.hafeezcentre.pk/ but when I checked and evaluate my keywords traffic via analytic I found more keywords traffic than last months. I am confuse why it is happened keywords gone positive but traffic fell down....any idea from your side?


06/08/2014 04:25 am

Yes this wa Panda very havy


06/27/2014 02:47 am

My traffic lost 2/3 on 26th March 2014. Did you find out what happened?

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