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Google Updates Its Ranking Algorithm — Again

It’s a well-known fact that Google is regularly tinkering with its infamous search algorithms. Google is always striving to achieve peak usability and search experience for users. Since July, the search behemoth has been slowly rolling out an update to the Panda 4.2 algorithm which, ultimately, has taken months to complete.

Over the past two weeks, the webmaster and SEO communities have been abuzz as numerous signals show that a potential algorithm update has occurred; much more than the average daily adjustments and tweaks. While the signs of change could possibly be related to the Panda update, or even the Penguin revision, many speculate this is not the case.

For those who are unfamiliar with Penguin, the primary objective of this particular update revolves around black hat tactics. Penguins seeks to ostracize sites that have attempted any manner of cheating. While the primary focus of Penguin is on unnatural links, there are many other factors that Penguin is eyeballing as well. The cardinal rule of staying on Penguin’s good side is simple: Don’t attempt any black hat tactics.

Panda, on the other hand, is a search filter that dates back to 2011 and is designed to identify and demote websites that house low-quality content. Penguin is about following the rules, Panda is about nixing horrible and unreadable content.

Signs of an Update

The first suspicious results surfaced on Oct. 14-15 as various automated tools reflected spikes in organic traffic for some and massive drops for others. This fluctuation is believed to be in relation to Panda, however the peaks and valleys are not isolated to these two days alone.

Oct. 20-21, more dramatic rankings changes were reported; this round is believed to not be associated with the slow rollout of Panda and is thought to be something else entirely. Some have taken a liking to calling the theorized update the “Zombie Update” due to the close proximity to Halloween. And if your rankings were gobbled up, it would seem that zombies are indeed responsible — it certainly makes about as much sense as most other theories when the truth is often weeks away from surfacing.

These variations in rankings have been seen in plenty of automated tools.. SERPS.com displays a spike on Oct. 19 that comes to its final crescendo Oct. 21, RankRanger and Advanced Web Ranking show a massive peak on Oct. 20, and Algoroo depicts the same type of activity Oct. 21 as well. These spikes essentially point toward an enormous keyword ranking changeover. And while this data is subject to a variety of variables, all signs still point towards an undisclosed update.

Google Has No Comment

With the two separate incidents taking place within days of each other, the WebmasterWorld forum has exploded with comments and debates on the issue; people are most certainly looking for an explanation to this activity. Unfortunately, however, Google has been unwilling to provide any insight into the matter.

Alex Graves of David Naylor reached out via Twitter to Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, for confirmation as to what folks were seeing take place. When he asked Illyes if the changes were related to the Penguin algorithm update, Gary responded, “Penguin is not ready for prime time.” Seeking to probe further, Alex then asked Gary if the updates are associated with Panda in anyway. Gary responded, “Sorry, Alex, we don’t confirm updates to our core ranking algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to it, this could have been one.”

So while nearly no information was divulged here, it would seem that the changes could be a part of a core ranking algorithm modification. If this truly is the case, then now would be a good time for site owners who were adversely affected to comb their websites in search of any factors that may be holding them back, as well as to ensure that only SEO best practices have been implemented; which is something that should be done regularly anyway.

Google will speak out eventually, but the fact still remains that some folks are getting lambasted by some level of algorithm shifts. Don’t waste any further time investigating what Google is up to; place all hands on deck to fortify your own site and guarantee white hat practices and stellar content.

This is the way of the SEO world: If you’re swimming in a reactionary space, you may never feel as though you can get the rankings you deserve. Stay proactive; test your backlinks regularly, constantly improve upon your content creation, overhaul your meta data, and stay on top of Google’s best practices. That way, when unexpected algorithm shifts hit the Web, you won’t notice, unless it’s to celebrate even higher rankings.

What tactics do you employ to ensure you’re never negatively impacted by one of Google’s updates?

About the author

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Tina Courtney

Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile

72 Comments

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  • Why Google Updates Algorithm again and again it’s for user safety or have to increase paid search PPC user for own benefit.you can google daily removing organic results from search engine by day to algorithm updating.
    What you say it’s good for SEO organic or not ?

    • I think its a routine roll by Google time time , which doesn’t mean that it will decrease organic for Paid user..both are the separate entity at all

  • Thanks for the information. It’s hard to stay SEO-tuned !
    I run a small site (ca. 45 pages on line, 5000 unique visitors par month), and the traffic is stable or slightly increasing over the past few weeks. What is surprising for me is that Google Search console says that I have now 0 pages indexed. The drop took 4 days to achieve, and now, I’m out of the radar. Except that the hits are going on.
    Any clue on what is happening ?

  • thanks for information. Constantly improve upon content creation is the best way to keep it up, writing for human, not for google algorithm 🙂

  • Hi it seems there will never be an end to this i run a small business and website and to be honest i have given up. All my keywords are silly prices per click on adwords and the first 4 pages that google shows are the massive company’s like ebay and staples

    It seems to me that google has the market and just keeps wanting you to pay.

    Sorry for the rant but that’s how i feel

  • CanLaw has never ever sought back links But we have something like 10.000 or more that linked themselves to CanLaw. We have been online since 1996
    We have no control over them and yet I suspect Google has penalized us even though every back link to CanLaw was created by the source with no contact with us ever

  • Hey Tina,
    An impressive and interesting information about Google Algorithm that how to influence of our websites, thanks for sharing a nice article.

  • Silverbug is The Top IT Outsourcing Companies in London & Milton Keynes offering best IT management services and Device Applications for customized IT outsourcing solutions.

  • You try any hat, white hat, black hat, grey hat or no hat techniques to make your site rank, it is no where written in stone that what you do cannot be considered spammy in future. So nothing is permanent as far as google is considered. Do what you feel best is for your website and your visitors, don’t go by what Google wants you to do. If you do so, that is a sure shot recipe for disaster.

  • I think this is just a routine updates, and not the major one which is expected to take place at the close end of the year.

    Till the year is over let’s see what Google is up to. But if you’re not involved in any shady blackhat tactics, like you mentioned in the article no reason to worry over Google major update.

    Thanks Tina.

  • On my niche are many poor quality sites and still dominate the rankings. What Google is no longer stripping to users . Sorry for my English is not my native language.

  • I haven’t seen any changes on my ranking, and I think it’s because I am doing everything the right way. It seems like Google comes very early with its updates compare with November of last year. Thanks for the post.

    • I agree 100%. Our rankings have improved coinciding with each change we have made in our coding and content to make the site better for users and SE’s while becoming more relevant overall. We have gone to great lengths to keep our coding up to standard, and to keep our keywords prominent, but not spammy. We try to keep content rotated regularly, and to keep content on target with our niche.

      Other sites in our niche have used (and are still using) keyword stuffing and spammy backlinks from non-relevant sites to promote their ranking and they have all but dropped off the map in the past year.

      I think we are doing it the right way as well, and it seems to be working.

  • Although there are signs that indicate changes in the algorithm and the results of some keywords rank websites, but google has not issued an official info regarding this issue ..
    Thanks for this info, I will analyze for the next few days ..

  • I think Google’s Marketing Strategy is the ultimate name of Google Algorithm which generates wealth for Google and that is why they always put twists and tweaking in their results and they name it Organic Search Results. I think it is pure business nothing else.

  • I think Google promote paid search PPC user for own benefit.you can google daily removing organic results from search engine by day to algorithm updating.

  • The real problem with this algo is that google lost the link to how people think and substituted this with an abstraction of what some google employees think that others think. The result is that they get more and more diffuse and unfocused. But it is the nature of most adults to be focused to get a good result. Diffused thinking is usual with kids / students etc. who just fooling around without serious results.

  • Hmm , Every time they have changed the algorithm means ,i will learn and move on to Pay Per Click Advertising otherwise.Google is smart nowadays.

  • As far as SEO is concerned Google will always have its ways but to play safe it is better to always go by Good SEO practice. For any site success online it is a fair thing to have a relatively good share of organic traffic and what can make this possible is good SEO practice coupled with refreshing contents at all times. Thanks for mentioning by way of summary the components of white hat practice. It is time to keep abreast with update info on SEO analysis making use of relevant online tools

  • Once again google’s ranking algorithm share with us, as a website development company we always keep in touch and up-to-date with google algorithm and its trends to keep our ranking higher and higher. Its not easy for us to find out but here

    Thanks to Site Pro News

    who always on top of the news.!

    Web Hosting Provider in Pakistan

  • Hi Tina,

    I had seen some fluctuations in SERP from few days. Just need to wait and see any official statement from Google comes out.

    Thanks for sharing this news with us. Cheers!

  • About my personal specialized niche tend to be a lot of poor quality websites but still master your search positions. Just what Yahoo isn’t any more time burning to help consumers. I’m sorry with regard to my personal The English language isn’t my personal indigenous terminology.

  • Yeah hell with google updates. Some of the sites got hit by it. However, some spam sites got boost by these updates. Dont know how these algorithms works really

  • The monthly or even daily battle with the algo is an effort in futility.
    SEO as we know it is dead.
    Don’t rely on one website, diversify is the key.
    Also, stay in the big G good book by not doing blackhat SEO.
    Content is king still apply.

  • Hi Tina !
    Well we all haven seen that the latest google algorithms have been hitting a lot of Spam sites, But i have seen sites that have survived to these updates even if they where spamming, and after I did a little research on them , a saw that they use diversity backlinks , like web 2.0, profile , social , media backlinks and a lot of spam comments, so what i am trying to say is if you can get backlinks from different sources you might not get hit by G algorithms. However, I have also noticed that Google keep updating little things without informing the public, but it seem that is trying to test them, and how they perform.

    Best Regards
    Emilio Rossi

  • I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post. Thanks for sharing.

  • in 2016 it no matter how many times Google seems to change the algorithm, so many blogs and websites that are not qualified finally shifted from its position, and the articles that you provide is very helpful, because it will be a picture for our readers. thank you

  • I think Google update must be there when it comes to spam tracking and quality websites on top. Most of the times these updates are affecting the websites which are not following the white hat SEO stuff..

  • I must say that overall I am really impressed with this blog.
    It is easy to see that you are impassioned about your writing.Nice post.

  • I’ve been following this site for a long time. Very useful articles. I publish my blog articles in your beautiful way. Thank you very much for everything

  • determining factor in order to appear on the first page of google increasingly tight, really qualified, can no longer rely solely on the web that many backlinks especially the one kind with existing web. but by doing so, while our website is useful to share it with social media can also affect these factors.

  • Your blog post is informative and updated my knowledge regarding artificial Intelligence used by Google. I have subscribed to your blog updates; your blog seems great and is easy to understand and follow.