Google Search Algorithm Ranking Volatility Around May 17th (Unconfirmed)

May 18, 2023 - 7:51 am 73 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Google Algorithm Update Explosion

For the past couple of days or so, maybe starting as early as May 16, 2023 through today, May 18, 2023, I am seeing significant signs of another unconfirmed Google search ranking algorithm update.

I am seeing these signs both from SEO industry chatter across the forums and also based on the automated tracking tools. Some were a bit late to spot this volatility but I believe the bulk of it began on Tuesday, May 16th and then more noticed yesterday, Wednesday, May 17th and now we are still seeing it today, May 18th.

Just a reminder, we had a couple of unconfirmed updates recently, one around May 10th and the other around early May. Some are saying this reversed the ranking drops or increases they saw from those earlier updates.

SEO Chatter

Let's start with the chatter, which the earliest I saw was rumblings starting late Monday night, May 15th but it picked up over the past couple of days in the WebmasterWorld forums:

After several days of extremely low traffic levels at 07.00 UK time this morning my global site suddenly had a few more page loads and then from 08.00 until 13.00 completely normal page views making it already +122% v my new average ... No doubt that's just killed it

Yesterday everything snapped right back into the old traffic pattern and all of the sections of my site which were down 40%-80% since Easter were back to their old levels. It seems to be holding thing morning, but USA and CA traffic has not fully recovered. Traffic from Europe, UK, and AU is roaring. This does coincide with higher ranking, but not a big move upward and certainly not enough to have caused this much higher traffic level.

With the reversion back to 'normal' traffic I have had my first new customer inquiry since May 5th! One cannot make a business on Google destroying your traffic for half the month. Let's see how long this holds before going right back to the lower levels...

For my global site Monday had a pre-April 2023 average day which made a gratifying change. Our UK hotel venue site was 100% average which for a Monday was good.

As a global business several years ago I combined all my country and region-specific sites under one umbrella site however, because of changing business conditions, my current thinking is to return them to how they were.

Has anyone else done this kind of reversal?

Something must have happend over the weekend. Starting on friday with worst day saturday and going on till today we see a significant drop in traffic. User engangment is nearly zero. Complete mismatch.

I am also seeing things starting to come back. Visibility and traffic are returning to normal levels after a very slow past couple of weeks.

That is just some of the chatter...

Google Tracking Tools

The tools started to pick up the Google ranking volatility also, here are some screenshots of those charts.


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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Are any of you noticing any big changes, especially reversals of the earlier unconfirmed updates this month?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Update: The day after, Friday, May 19th:


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