Google Search Ranking Algorithm Volatility Holiday Surge

Dec 18, 2023 - 7:41 am 433 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Google Algorithm Volatility Cold

You'd expect that the Google search ranking volatility would calm as we get closer to the holiday break, Christmas timeframe. But no. Google's search ranking volatility is ever so heated, or shall we say, cold, as we approach the holidays.

There are now well over 1,200 comments on my last post on this topic and the comments aren't slowing down. The ongoing WebmasterWorld thread is also superheated. And the Google tracking tools are almost all showing huge volatility as we end the 2023 year.

Why is it so heated, even as we approach the year-end?

It just seems like the volatility has surged after the end of the November 2023 reviews update. Again, we have had no confirmed updates since then and the search results have been incredibly volatile.

Google Tracking Tools

Here is what the tools have been showing over the past month.


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Cognitive SEO:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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SEO Chatter

Here is some of the selected chatter from the industry, via WebmasterWorld and here. The chatter has been going on for a couple of weeks now but here is some of the more recent chatter:

Huge volatility for my keywords, talking about bouncing between position 3-20, dropping and re-appearing etc. Out of 150 tracked keywords, 100 have been experiencing this volatility over the past 3 days.
And the ranking falls again. You can really do what you want, it just doesn't change anything. In the past few days it went up a bit, but since yesterday it has been in free fall.
Same here. Yesterday huge drop. It looks like it's going to be even bigger today...
Our editorial travel-planning site's low point for the year is usually in early to mid-December, but that doesn't explain the roughly 50 percent year-over-year drop that I'm seeing right now.
Is anyone else noticing a huge drop today?
Traffic drop here. Started yesterday after a nice 2 days traffic increase, I am now -35%.
80% of sites have a drop of traffic. Do you realize that now only big and already very wealthy sites selected by Google are making much, much more money than before? Search has become only for the rich. Google has become a reverse Robin Hood
Yes, USA is - 46% and Canada -58% at 11:45am
Huge Drop today, I have noticed they usually do major tweaks on fridays .
We had our best day (year over year) in several weeks, but only by a little, and mostly because of one page that occasionally jumps to the top from out of nowhere. We don't even benefit from that page, because it's on a topic that advertisers tend to shun.
Fluctuations still continue, I'm seeing drops, recoveries, and drops again on a scale that's befitting a full-blown core update. Talking about 8+ position fluctuations, with some keywords going back pages and returning. Yesterday it was 60% of my total tracked keywords, today it's 90% of them.
Here also - 50 % down since End of November... Today again huge drop... Visibility decreases according to Semrush.
Since yesterday evening at 6 pm an article (6 weeks old, not unique, rather a side note, therefore very short) has been going off like a suppository. Today at 12 noon until 6 pm the usual normal traffic was back, since 6 pm the same article has been really taking off again on Google. That's completely illogical ...
Another sudden drop from numerous visitors to zero within one hour on my site. This seems to be the new norm...traffic goes normally until about 10am and then suddenly drops to zero and stays very low for a few hours. Could be that people are out and about but this is a highly exaggerated pattern of steep drops.
Our pageviews were up 9 percent today (compared to the same day last week) but were still down 44 percent from last year. We've had a couple of days of slight improvement, which isn't saying much even in this era of diminished expectations.

Omg, did something happened today?

My traffic for this entire morning is just... awful.

Barely 10% of the usual! That means 90% drop!

This is another one of those HCUs like happened on September 17th, that suddenly all of our traffic drops off a cliff (I dropped 60-70% pretty much overnight on Sept 17, plus another 30% on Friday), yet NONE of the volatility trackers seem to pick up on these HCU updates... What is it about these HCUs that they fly under the radar, yet in reality have a much greater impact than any other updates or algorithm changes that do get picked up and cause an "earthquake/storm/whatever else the volatility trackers call it"?

It has been a wild ride since the end of the November 2023 reviews update.

What do you all think is going on?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.


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