Google’s latest algorithm update: did anything happen and what might it affect?

google-changes

Friday was an exciting day for search, as the ‘chatter’ around a core Google algorithm increased dramatically.

Here we’ll take a brief look at how the speculation arose, and what this means for search marketing right now.

Why the speculation around an algorithm change?

The evidence came from a few different sources…

MozCast is a tool from Moz that anyone can access, which measures Google algorithm ‘turbulence’ over the previous day. “The hotter and stormier the weather, the more Google’s rankings changed.”

The temperature on Thursday 2nd September was a sweltering 108 degrees.

mozcast

Dawn Anderson, a digital marketing strategist who provided so many useful tips in our guide to SEO tools, also noted the following peaks in her own monitoring.

The Mozcast temperature has now dropped down to a more bearable 78 degrees, and as Dawn Anderson carefully says above, you shouldn’t necessarily trust monitoring tools for updates.

There’s been no official comment from Google just yet.

So what has changed?

Organic search has fluctuated up or down for many SEOs and according to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land, it looks like there has been two separate updates.

1) Google core search

Webmasters from across all verticals are experiencing changes in their organic traffic. Barry seems to think this isn’t a Penguin update, rather a change to the core search algorithm.

2) Google Local Pack ranking quality

Slightly more concrete is a change noticed by the local search community.

According to Barry Schwartz, this is related to a quality update based on Google removing spammy local results, which will naturally shift and alter the look of the local SERP.

But… did the algorithm actually change?

Here’s where the fun begins. Just sit back and watch SEO experts on Twitter asking people like Google’s John Mueller for comment and then receiving very cagey replies.

For context, the following exchange is based on the fact it’s currently Labor Day in the US…

So it’s not a conformation, nor is it a rebuttal. Those diplomatic wizards!

Why the excitement around Penguin?

As you can imagine, SEOs, webmasters and search-news journalists have been in a state of cat-like readiness for Penguin 4.0 to shake things up since the previous update in 2014.

Penguin is specifically meant to filter out (or penalise) websites spamming search results, with inorganic links bought or traded through shady link schemed.

The prior update hit 12 billion search queries.

A new update, Penguin 4.0, was expected in March 2016, but it never arrived. We’ve been waiting nervously ever since.

However, there’s no real reason why you should be so nervous. As long as you’re keeping a nice, clean, legit backlink profile, and bloggers are no-following any links for freebies, then everything should be fine right. Right?

We’ll update you on any further developments and changes.

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