A February of Ambiguous Algorithmic Search Updates by Google

Ambiguous Algorithmic Search Updates by Google

Ambiguity with search engine algorithm updates is something webmasters and SEO professionals have got used to. Experienced digital marketing services prepare themselves for such sudden changes. The month of February was no different.

The Big Update of February 8 and 9

There apparently was a Google ranking update launched sometime around the weekend of 8th and 9th February. This did cause fluctuations in rankings, and was observed by webmasters since that weekend. Google, as it happens sometimes, was quiet about it. There were no comments.

Google’s search results are changing. New pages get added to the index. Signals keep getting refreshed as Google makes changes each year. The chatter has increased recently among the SEO community, while the tools that check rankings have also reported it.

Rank Checking Tools Tell Some of the Story

A look at some of the screenshots from these rank checking tools reveal these fluctuations, and Search Engine Land reports that these don’t include the effects of the featured snippet deduplication update or user interface changes.

The following is the screenshot from Mozcast.

Rank Checking Tools

SEMRush reports the following:

SEMRush reports

Here’s what RankRanger reported:

RankRanger reported

So there really was some fluctuation that affected many sites. And the thing with updates like these, and particularly other core updates, is that there just isn’t any way you can fix the ranking drops. If you’re experiencing ranking issues with your site, you need to follow Google’s general guidelines on improving your site. It’s a constant and gradual process, which means there isn’t any immediate fix.

The Other Strange Updates of February

The month of February has seen other updates from Google too. It started right from the 3rd of this month, with Google updating its signals. This wasn’t confirmed either. February 9th saw another big search algorithm update. Search Engine Roundtable termed this update as “massive”. There was a widespread reporting of fluctuations from the webmaster community. This was unconfirmed too. The thing about the February updates was that the sites whose rankings dropped rose again.

Google’s Ambiguous Statement

Finally, on February 13th, Google responded with an ambiguous statement which said that they do updates all the time, quite a similar response to what he made for the update on November 2019. He was particularly responding to comments with regard to the February 9 update. But whatever those updates were, they just weren’t core updates because Google always says that it pre-announces broad core updates. Search Engine Roundtable reckons it was some kind of a bug that was released but was then taken back.

Efficient search engine optimization can help businesses prepare themselves for such updates though you really can’t always be ready. The best way is to follow the best practices Google has prescribed in the above-mentioned webmaster resources and continue the good work.