What Caused The Recent Google SERP Volatility?

As we return back to SEO normality once again. It’s worth taking a look back over the previous few weeks of turbulence in search results to analyse what has gone on.

Whilst we look at a number of data sources here at DOM Marketing, let’s have a look at the ever-reliable Algoroo. At the time of writing (Friday 5th February 2016) the service is reporting a low level of flux, with a roo rank of 1.06

As you can see clearly in the graph from our marsupial friends, there have been a number of recent updates. Notably the search quality update and a huge 2-day spike they have christened the Burj Khalifa (above) in reference to the Dubai landmark that towers over its surroundings. We have already spoken about the search quality update, but these first signs of a major update were dwarfed by what followed.

Algoroo Image

Google has remained silent about what exactly it has done, but what we do now know is that Panda has now been integrated into to the core-ranking algorithm. However, this is not quite the ‘rolling auto-updating’ version that most SEO’s have been expecting. We have also seen much of the changes roll back, so it would appear that some serious testing has taken place. The question remains, however, “is this a taste of things to come?”


What Is The Google Panda Algorithm?

Google Panda assesses your site quality, and then based on the assessment will assign it a site score. This site score then remains unchanged until a further data refresh is carried out. This can mean a lengthy period between your site score being reassessed.

Gary Illyses, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google’s Zurich office has suggested that the changes to integrate Panda have resulted in a real-time data collection, but with only small amounts of the data being released into the search results at any one time, and mostly as a result of manual actions. It is unclear as to the speed of the data gathering or how often these changes have any impact that can be seen in the SERP’s.

The answer from at least one representative of the Big G gives away relatively little about what is occurring, other than that an algorithm is now a part of what they do on a daily basis rather than a tool brought in as and when needed.


High-Quality Content Needed Suggests Google

However, with Google reiterating advice around high-quality content, it would suggest that the changes to the engine are designed to focus on improving the quality of the pages that the site is able to provide to end users.

This message to SEO professionals was strengthened in an interview given by a person credited as a “Google Spokesperson” who recently spoke with industry blog, The SEM Post. The post cleared up confusion around the purpose of Panda stating that “Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall. It measures the quality of a site. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.” Whilst not adding in-depth information, it again focuses on the quality issue.

We all await the next move from Google, especially the likely move to auto-updating.