Late last week, most of the automated tracking tools that monitor the Google search results fluctuation reported huge spikes and changes in the Google rankings. Often that would symbolize that there was an algorithm update at Google but this time, I don't think so. I should clarify, I do believe some sites may have seen ranking increases or declines but this was not at the level of a Penguin, Panda or Fred or one of those Phantom updates - in my opinion.
What more likely happened was that Google changed something with the features showing up more often and that caused a lot of these tracking tools to light up. I spotted very very minimal webmaster chatter about ranking changes and webmasters complaining and rejoicing about these changes. I did spot some chatter but not significant levels.
Here are the tools that went off late last week:
Pete Meyers from Moz did tweet that there was a huge jump in the knowledge panels showing up. Mozcast features showed a 7 point jump:
RankRanger showed a significant jump in those types of results showing up in Google as well:
So if I had to guess, that is what set off these tools - or most of them.
I do not think there was a major algorithm change late last week because the community at large is not complaining that much.
The ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has people simply talking about the tools but not any ranking changes. Black Hat forums also have very little chatter of recent updates.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.