Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Signals On January 3rd & 4th

Jan 4, 2023 - 7:51 am 121 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Chalkboard4 Google 640

As the Google December 2022 helpful content update and link spam update continue to roll out, I am now seeing more signs of volatility and chatter within the SEO industry in the past 24 hours. It seems like there is another Google algorithm update, or maybe a continuation from the previous ones, taking place on January 3rd and 4th (and the 5th).

I am not sure if the volatility and fluctuations in the Google search results are related to the helpful content update, the link spam update or something completely different but there is renewed volatility and fluctuations over the past 24 hours.

Google Tracking Tools

Let's start with the tracking tools (note, I updated these charts with new data from January 5th at 5:45am ET):


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Cognitive SEO:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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SEO Chatter

And yes, I am seeing some early chatter from within the SEO community. The chatter is now at WebmasterWorld and in the comments section here, here is some quotes from those sources:

Sharp traffic drop since around 13:00 GMT. USA Semrush sensor rising.

Traffic is still very wobbly, but nothing out of the ordinary, especially in e-shop space. January is always notoriously slow, both traffic and customer-wise. Anyone who thinks it receives zombie traffic or whatever needs to realize that unless their website is niche enough to not be in sync with the general population's behavior, it is seeing a general seasonality affecting the vast majority of websites. What I can comment, however, is that during the holidays, there was a big shift from long tail to general keyword searches, causing many keywords to appear as they are losing SERP positions, where the reality is that many people's search results are in their "personal search bubble" and when they stop searching for what you rank good for _to them_ it seems as if positions took a nose dive.

Keywords Ranking Going down from 1st page to 4th page

Massive drop today. Semrush on high range... here we go again :-|

My organic traffic also relatively increased yesterday, however, it was useless traffic, the majority is coming from irrelevant countries.

Same here. Although only up from 50% to now about 65% percent of where it wss just prior to this update that throttled traffic exactly in half.

Hopefully, that trajectory holds for everyone who arbitrarily took a hit with this total BS update, even if very slow.

Am I the only one that saw a big boost in organic traffic yesterday (Jan 2)?

A new fluctuation has started in the past 24 hours, however, waves have become much bigger at the moment.

What are you all seeing and do you think this is related to the helpful content update, link spam update or something new?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Update: Danny Sullivan from Google said it is both of these updates - he said on Mastodon, "Both the updates are continuing to rollout. Normally these types of updates would have concluded by now, but rollouts can slow or pause when we get into the holiday periods."


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