Google Search Ranking Algorithm Tremors Continue & It's Big

Dec 19, 2021 • 9:30 am | comments (51) by twitter mastodon | Filed Under Google Search Algorithm Updates
 

Are you dizzy yet? The Google search results are still super volatile and we are seeing high levels of chatter spike back up over the past 24 to 48 hours and the tracking tools are also running incredibly hot. There is just so much going on right now in Google Search for an SEO that taking off for Christmas might not be an option for many.

This story was originally published on December 17th at 7:50am ET but I wanted to add more data through Sunday, December 19th. In short, the chatter and fluctuations have continued and they actually spiked in a big way on December 18th. I have added a new section below for what is new with the volatility.

Just when you thought we had enough, we didn't. As I mentioned just before, we had tons of updates this past year, both confirmed and unconfirmed Google search algorithm updates. It seems like this is ongoing volatility from earlier this week and it is hard to say if it is all directly related to the ongoing product reviews update or not.

SEO Chatter

The ongoing chatter at WebmasterWorld is spiking like said. Many SEOs are talking about the results bouncing all around, like you'd see with a big update. Here is some of that chatter:

Feels like something big happened today. I was having minor improvements the past couple of days and then today we had a fairly significant drop. This update seems to be much bigger than the most recent "core update" they released. This "product reviews" update seems to go way beyond products because the losses we took today have nothing to do with products whatsoever.

Traffic went up 20+% on Dec 10, but dropped down 35% on Dec 15. Definitely some big thing happened today. I saw several people reporting big drop the same day.

Looks like something new is being rolled out. What I learned about these updates is that even when your site or sites benefit from a certain update it will not last for a long time. If you happened to receive a huge boost make sure to capitalize it in any way you can because it will end soon. It can be a day, a week or a few months down the road.

Huge drop this morning...

I was having higher and more stable traffic for a month, until December 3rd. It dropped off and seems to remain at around -15% USA traffic since then, mostly concentrated on traffic to my home page. Both search and direct traffic are down and USA can start the day down 65-70% these days and struggles to recover all day. This coincides again with major swings on a daily basis in ranking...I can lose 10 top ten terms in one shot and recover them the next day. All of this has resulted in very few new inquiries and of course zero new sales. The only sales I have had are from return customers.

One company that I work with is also experiencing major ranking swings on a daily basis. It is most noticeable in Search Console when you only select rankings. This seemed to start in April around the time of the Product Review Update. It isn't an affiliate site, but it does have a lot of in-depth informative content around their products and the situations in which they are used.

"The Grinch" update continues, as does zero traffic and sales. This looks like the last year for the site.

I was also hit, pretty hard. I managed to attain global reach, initially google ranked me mostly in the US. The problem that I came with it is a huge drop in keywords. Now these keywords are coming back very slowly but ranked very poorly. If for example a keyword was ranked in 4 now it is at 94. And it's not improving. The new update they started rolling out today will hit me tomorrow so I am really hoping for some improvements.

If you are on the wrong end of the stick with the current core update (Im not buying the product review label) this will hurt.

Traffic down 35% today...both search and direct. USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia...all way down. I've never seen such a large single day drop in my 17 years of doing this so hopefully it's not some new and permanent terror Google is unleashing on us. One way or another Google is making sure to make all the traffic from organic search go bye bye at an accelerating pace.

For the past 12 months, I have been hit by each algorithm update. Today once again 15% down and now overall down 70% YoY

Shocking traffic since Friday

Been hit.

Literally Exhausted of updates of google. Actually we were recovering very well in early of November almost we were going to reach our all-time high ranking & this core updates almost push back up to the 20-25% drops. Pls suggest what i should, i do next

It goes on but I don't want to just copy and paste all the chatter there.

Tracking Tools

The tracking tools are also really hot right now, virtually all of them are showing significant volatility over the past couple weeks and it spiked again over the past 48 hours. Here are some screenshots from these tools.

Mozcast:

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Semrush:

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RankRanger:

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Accuranker:

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SERPmetrics:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Algoroo:

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So yes, a lot of signs point at a big update but what exactly is this update is hard to say for sure, there is a lot going on. It can be core update corrections, it can be the product reviews update, can be some unannounced spam effort or algorithmic shift or something else.

Recent Confirmed Google Updates

So let's summarize the confirmed updates we had recently:

And actually more confirmed ones and plenty of unconfirmed updates.

I do hope your stress levels are manageable before the the upcoming holiday season.

Updated On December 19th

So like I mentioned above, we are seeing a spike in chatter and fluctuations on December 18th, this past Saturday.

Here is the updated chatter on WebmasterWorld:

Today traffic returned to normal trend until 11am EST sharp, when it fell off a cliff and stayed down the rest of the day until now. I'm 28% lower on the day now so it was a sudden and dramatic drop again.

It looks like the current weekend update is about backlinks. Sites with high authority that were pushed down earlier this week are now up again. Im quite confident this is what is being assessed now by the algos.

An interesting observation that shouldn't be a big surprise, but an insight as to why we see no traffic... Today, while running two FB ads and being on page one, position two on the Google SERPs, I am watching GART and it is showing zero visitors, yet seconds later, an active signup comes in. I have a cash register sound on my phone that lets me know when a sale is made. So, it's pretty clear the use of VPN's is really blinding us from actual traffic. The only way I am getting any sales is by resorting to FB ads. Not a fan, but whatever works. At the end of the day though, I'll probably spend more on ads that I make in sales. SMH

Traffic turned off @ 11am sharp again, just like the previous few days

Some of the slowness we're seeing has to be from the holidays. Last week, and likely the week before, offices began becoming ghost towns and especially this upcoming week due to the holidays. This is probably why some of us see discrepancies with maintaining positions (somewhat) in semrush/ahrefs, but traffic is still dead.

A very unusual Saturday with valid-looking traffic at 92% of my weekday average PVs however so far today, Sunday, the vast majority of "visitors" have been single-page US bots, loads and loads of them from all over the USA.

My global site rankings still appear to be unchanged.

Could be a knock-on effect of the turbulent weather. There are about half a million homes without electricity (or walls) across the US today due to tornadoes. There are many thousands more people trying to assist those folks, so not as much 'shopping as usual' for the season. Areas not affected will have holiday travel this weekend. It is bound to affect online traffic.

This is not a normal holiday drop at all. I just calculated my clicks in GSC for the period 12/3/2021-12/17/2021 to the period 12/4/2020-12/18/2020...which is Friday to Friday. There is a 35% decline in clicks this holiday period vs. last year same period. For most terms, clicks dropped to one or zero during this holiday season.

This is almost all due to Google's manipulation during the prime holiday sales season...presumably to boost ad conversions and send sales to ads instead of organic. I have never seen this kind of drop in the 17 years that I have been doing this.

The tools have remained super hot also:

Semrush:

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Advanced Web Ranking:

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Accuranker:

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Cognitive SEO:

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SERP Metrics:

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Algoroo:

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RankRanger:

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Mozcast:

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Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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