Did a seismic Google algorithm update happen at the weekend?

Posted on May 25, 2021


On his Search Engine Roundtable blog, search marketing whizz Barry Schwartz writes that he detected an “off the charts” update to Google’s search algorithms on Saturday, May 22nd, while also noting his surprise that few in the search engine optimisation (SEO) community appeared to be talking about it.

Schwartz compares the impact of whatever Google was doing to one of its Core Updates, the last of which happened in December 2020, and he even likens it to the much talked about Panda and Penguin updates of the early 2010s.

Google confirmed three Core Updates in 2020, which were in January, May and December, so that kind of timeframe suggests another one could be due imminently. However, the regularity of the updates does appear to be slowing down, with Search Engine Journal’s timeline recording three of them in the space of five months in 2018.

Schwartz suggested the lack of discussion in SEO community about Saturday’s fluctuations could be down to it happening at the weekend. However, as of Tuesday morning, there has no confirmation of an algorithm update from Google. Usually, the @searchliaison Twitter page run by Google’s Danny Sullivan is the best port of call for learning about the search engine’s algorithm tweaks, but the account has made no mention of any algorithm activity in recent days.

Sometimes, changes made by Google can have an immediate sizeable impact that gradually settles down over time. It’s also not uncommon for Google to make changes but not announce them until quite some time later, such as back in January, when Google announced it had been using a subtopics ranking feature since last year. We can only speculate that perhaps what Schwartz registered was the result of Google changes yet to be announced.

It’s an inevitable consequence of SEO that rankings fluctuate, but high-quality, engaging content and a well-designed website will always be key to an effective online marketing campaign. If you’re concerned about your rankings or are looking for more business from your website, get in touch with Engage Web.

John Murray
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