Did you feel that, too? Earlier this month, Algoroo and other SERP monitoring services reported significant volatility and flux in the search engine results pages (SERPs) starting August 7 and continuing through Friday, August 15. The degree of volatility was similar to that experienced in the Panda 4 update in May, leading some to speculate it was another Panda refresh, but Google has neither confirmed nor denied a major algorithm update.
We looked into this issue, and checked BrightEdge data collected during the period of the flux you see in the Algoroo chart above. We searched for instances of major fluctuation where a large number of keywords had an average rank change by more than 10 positions, week-over-week. According to our data, we didn’t see a higher-than-average number of websites experiencing significant fluctuation (and we looked at thousands); in fact, the number we saw affected is smaller than average based on a similar sampling we did from three other weeks of the year. Once we weeded out false positives from our sample of impacted websites, we were left with an even smaller sample to explore. If this were a major algorithm update, we would expect more websites to have experienced a bigger shift. At the end of the analysis, it looked like some of the samples we took had already reverted back to what they had been the week prior, which leads us to believe that Google had been performing aggressive testing. The following screenshots show a couple of websites that took a dip due to the fluctuations. The keywords that dropped off seem to have returned to previous ranking, for the most part. Next week’s data should confirm whether that return persists.
Here at BrightEdge, we’ll continue to monitor the issue. We’re looking at a set of keywords daily to track the intraweek changes to validate further. The results of this analysis aren’t to say something isn’t on the horizon, but we’re not seeing a pattern or evidence of exactly what that is yet. Do you have anything to share about the SERP fluctuation? Tell us about it in the comments if so.