Unofficial updates from Google are neither new nor unexpected. Search results have been changing over the last decade, and the only way to explain it is the continuous updates to the search engine algorithm. In the last few weeks, the topography of Google search results and webmasters have been going crazy trying to get their rankings back.
Why do SEO experts believe there has been a major update in Google search engine algorithm?
In the meantime, Google has denied the presence of any new updates that could have caused the major upheaval.
- The SEO weather reports show a change in ranking
- Major e-commerce retailers are aware of changes in rankings.
- The quality issues and their impacts on ranking baffle SEO experts.
- Black hatters have further lost ranking.
These are all indicators of major changes in the current algorithm. Several SEO companies have been surmising a Phantom Algorithm Update, but Google’s silence is not helping matters at all.
So, what is the truth? Has there been an update in the search engine algorithms? Is Google keeping the most recent algorithm update a well-guarded secret? Taking into consideration, Google’s practice of keeping updates under wraps until they make a widespread impact, experts may even be right about a new update in town. When the search engine giant introduced the Florida and Penguin updates, they waited patiently to announce these. Most of their major updates do not make as huge an impact as the ones we see over the last few weekends. Private networks are suffering incredibly due to the unknown and undeclared updates that Google may or may not have rolled out.
Keep an open mind towards competitor rankings
In reality, Google strategists and teams of coders refine their algorithm each day. To be precise, we are living in a world where Google updates the search engine algorithm twice a day and sometimes more frequently. This is mainly to combat black hat practices and to allow the SEO strategists a chance to climb the ranks fairly. It is quite true that SEO weather reports can be inaccurate at times and the Phantom Updates may not be actual updates from Google. The severe change in ranking signals can be a combined effect of a website’s new UX and the competitors’ efforts to streamline their SEO.
- Other websites might be improving their UI and UX.
- They are updating their pages as per customer demand.
- Competitors may be updating their link building strategies.
- They can be working on lead generation.
- Their pages may offer more value to individual users.
In truth, Google Rankings, SEO and website traffic rely on over 200 individual factors. It is impossible to determine if one of those factors are responsible for the slippage or if Google has introduced new measures that are jumbling the ranking efforts of websites.
Check your website updates first
Are you among the thousands of websites that have suffered a drastic loss of traffic due to a change in rankings? When a website drops from the first page to the second or third page, it is a direct indicator of a serious mishap. It can be a result of your most recent SEO activities or website changes. The best way to find out is to revert your most recent changes and see if there is any reversal in ranking or restoration of traffic as well.
In the future, always implement changes on your website UI after running several A/B tests. Running tests will help you understand what your customers want and what Google also likes. You need to keep an open mind during times of such crises. Sometimes, rankings drop due to a lack of update of ranking strategies and SEO strategies.
Google updates are far from perfect
On the other hand, Google algorithm updates are not infallible. Sometimes, they have bugs that are quite apparent from the long-tailed keyword optimization processes. These bugs did not accompany the last “update” rumors that were circulating since the latter weeks of January. So, it is highly unlikely that the drop of your website on the Google SERP is due to a bug in the algorithm or due to the introduction of a new algorithm altogether.
Google spokespersons have repetitively denied the release of a Phantom algorithm update last year and this year. Before you give up assuming it to be an aftermath of Google’s algorithm change, consider the new SEO changes, website additions and UX changes you may have introduced on your website. User satisfaction stands tall among the 200 factors that contribute to Google ranking and site optimization.