Did Google Introduce an Unconfirmed Algorithm Update? SERP Volatility on the Rise

Did Google Introduce an Unconfirmed Algorithm Update? SERP Volatility on the Rise
20 July 2023
Since July 12th, the SERP volatility has skyrocketed – websites’ ranks in Google change swiftly and unpredictably, although no updates were confirmed. Does it mean that Google introduced an unofficial one?

SERP volatility is the fluctuation that can be observed in search engines, for particular keywords, over a short time. If it’s high, it means that the rankings change frequently and abruptly. We can observe this situation right now, with the volatility reaching levels far from normal.

What Can Cause SERP Volatility?

There are two main reasons for high SERP volatility – changes in your website or updates to Google’s algorithms.

The former might result from updating the content on your webpage or introducing a new one. Google often tests whether the site is truly relevant by increasing the ranking at the beginning and seeing how the website performs. If users indeed access and spend time on the webpage – you’re good to go. If not, the rank drops. However, these changes are only relevant to in-page volatility – but what if it happens among whole industries and globally?

This usually happens when the second cause appears – Google changes its algorithms. There are some quite remarkable examples, such as the September 2019 core update, which turned the YMYL (Your Money Your Life) SEO completely upside down. This poses a question – did Google unofficially update its algorithms now?

High SERP Volatility – Not as Recent as It Might Seem?

The rise in SERP volatility can be observed for much longer than just the last few days – during the last month, there were quite a few periods of time when it reached a high level. These were often significant, with the WebmasterWorld forum users reporting even a 70-position drop. Yet, Google remains quiet and does not confirm any changes.

Very high SERP volatility according to Semrush Sensor in June 2023

Source: Semrush Sensor

It is also worth noting that although the volatility for both mobile devices and desktops is high, the former suffers a bit more. The overall scores are also higher for the US than for the rest of the world, yet the main volatility rises are visible in all cases.

SERP volatility for the last 30 days according to Semrush Sensor

Source: Semrush Sensor

Did Google Modify Its Algorithms?

The short answer is: we don’t really know. Something is up – although Google upholds a position that they would inform if an update was introduced, so many rises in volatility should cannot be a coincidence. Perhaps, the US giant is still to confirm the update, yet seeing that high SERP volatility could be seen throughout the last whole month, we should not expect an official announcement. So, what should we do? Wait for the situation to stabilize and reclaim our ranks.

Milena Fietko
Milena Fietko

SEO Strategy Manager

She specializes in industries that require an out-of-the-box approach to the process, or cover topics that others would not. She has been working at Delante since 2016. Privately, she loves dancing to Caribbean rhythms.

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