Is a Google Update Brewing? — September 2016


There is a lot of chatter in the SEO community that a large Google Update has just been rolled out. While some of the SERP trackers such as the Rank Risk Index, or MozCast haven’t yet updated, the Google Grump Rating shows the volatility as furious, with Algaroo also showing significant movement.

Editor’s note: We have posted two updates (2nd Sept. and 5th Sept.) which you will find at the end of the article. The second update provides an indication that the update may be related to site \ content quality.

Before we look at the community chatter, let’s first take at the SERP trackers to gain an inclination as to the scale and impact of the update:

Google Grump

‘Google Grump’ Rating Check Google’s Ranking Mood by AccuRanker

The “Grump” rating has been specified as furious. The chart clearly shows a significant rise in volatility on the 2nd September 2016.



Algoroo appears to show increasing volatility over the last three days. Again the scale of the volatility looks significant.

Google Update Community Chatter

It is evident, at least from a SERP tracking perspective, that the update is fairly significant. As such you would expect a substantial increase in chatter among webmasters and SEO specialists. Let’s take a look at some of the community forums:


As of the time of posting, two different comments have been made, specifically mentioning the UK SERPs, but this is probably due to the timezone difference. This is what they had to say.

Jez 123 commented:

I’m seeing some decent changes on UK Google this morning. Are they real or has Google lifted the filters to apply some new patch? Interesting to see if we all get a spike in converting traffic as on 1st / 2nd August. Is anyone else seeing anything or is this an isolated occurrence?

Imbenking commented:

A noticeable move in our vertical over night in the UK. (Classifieds).

Almost all large players including ourselves took a hit in page 1 visibility. We’ve noticed over time more and more national players are being displaced with strong local websites (e.g. local newspaper classifieds etc).


Sam Underwood, Search and Data Executive at Zazzlemedia said:

And more:

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any indication what may be causing the fluctuations, and we suspect it may be a few days until there is enough data to analyze to come to some conclusions.

Furthermore, Glenn Gabe, Digital Marketing Consultant at G-Squared Interactive has not seen anything that indicates there is an update.

Local pack changes

However, in one post on the 31st August, a user on the Local Search Forum there was an indication that some changes were being made to the Local Pack in the Netherlands.

I’m seeing a lot of ranking changes in the Local Pack here in the Netherlands on numerous of keywords I’m tracking. Anyone else who’s seeing a lot of movement?

This could account for the Algaroo volatility being shown over a few days. It doesn’t appear to account for the more recent chatter, and the Google Grump rating being specifically high today.

What does Google have to say?

Despite a few tweets being directed at John Mueller today, so far there is no comment from him. Gary Illyes, another active Google spokesperson, is away on vacation, so it is unlikely any response will be forthcoming from him.

Google Update September 2016 Video Summary

Update: 2nd September 2016

Dr. Pete Meyers, Marketing Scientist at Mozcast, confirms that they have verified that there was an update along with the following:

  • MozCast temps of 108 degrees
  • No signs of https change.
  • Some local pack dropped two nights ago.
  • Some keyword parsing changes.

Unfortunately, while interesting, it doesn’t get to the bottom of the update. You see his original tweet below:

Update 2: 5th September 2016

It is useful to post the weather graph for Mozcast.  This shows that the volatility started on the 1st September and continued to a more limited extent on the 2nd and 3rd September.

MozCast The Google Algorithm Weather Report

John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, has made several comments on Twitter confirming that he is not aware of anything special, but they are always rolling out updates.

Glenn Gabe, Digital Marketing Consultant at G-Squared Interactive, tweeted a picture of a website that has shown some improvements with the latest update.  What is interesting is that the same website also showed improvements in the last November quality update.

Our gut feeling at the moment was this was a quality based update.

  1. Reply cleaninggoldersgreen September 29, 2016 at 8:33 am

    This is how shmooogle is killing the web

  2. Reply Michael September 22, 2016 at 3:19 am

    In the press release distribution and service industry, a few of us at have seen a HUGE shake up! From the top credible press release sites showing up on top to now articles and sites that make no sense showing up… Hopefully they will put in
    some filters and get this sorted out! Other industries are a mess as well. Doesn’t make sense…

  3. Reply Richard Crowly September 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    The latest up-date made it so that, when highlighting a site in FAVORITES, it no longer turns to Blue but is a very pale Gray. This is barely visible. Would prefer if it could be changed back to BLUE!

  4. Reply Web Desin September 17, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Huge fluctuated problems for me (hence my search for getting in the know with it all) so this is terrible for businesses potentially having to use more Adwords over organic.

  5. Reply Davidson September 9, 2016 at 11:38 am

    thanks , i hope it will be ok

  6. Reply Vijay September 6, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I have also Faces some changes that made to Google SERP, as I am working on a site and there I have faced some changes on it. As previously it was placing at 21 positions and now it is showing on 30 or 33 positions.

  7. Reply jasa website jogja September 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    The latest updates have a major impact in Indonesia

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