We will start by saying that this is referring to a desktop Google Update we are looking at, not the Google Mobile Update that rolled out on the 21st April (or if you look at some metrics even a day or two earlier than that). This is an update we first notice this last weekend on the 24th April, which based on our own rank tracking may have been reverted Monday, but then tested again periodically since then. Of course, roll-outs of any algorithm change by Google can take time, and effect certain Google Datacenters before others, so it is possible the fluctuation we saw is just that. As of now, though, at least looking at changes on our own sites either the algorithm has been tweaked so as not to be so draconian, or it has been partially rolled back.
There has been many other new changes this month in the search, and it could be that the fluctuations were related to the Doorway Algorithm (although we got the impression that this had already fully deployed), or simply something new.
Let’s take a look at the Serp Tracking Signals
As you can see from their SERP tracking, there is some volatility, but it is perhaps not as widespread as we feared. Just for comparison, you can see their mobile serp tracking below show the impact of the Google Mobile algorithm update:
As you can see, there has been much volatility for the Mobile serps from around the 17th or 18th April, slightly earlier than the advertised 21st April #Mobilegeddon.
As you can see, there was a clear spike of SERP volatility on the 24th April, but it seems to calm down after that. The chart data shows up to the 27th April (Monday), so it is possible there is further movement in the last day or so.
The spike on the Algaroo SERP tracker seems to peak on the 26th April which is quite interesting, and indeed if we take all the charts together it is clear the movement takes place over several days, which is in line with what we are seeing ourselves.
So What Are People Saying in the SEO Community?
Surprisingly, there is not a massive amount of chatter regarding this update, but in the ongoing April Google Update thread at WebmasterWorld it was noticed:
Well, April is wrapping itself up as the WORST month ever, not just for traffic but mostly for conversions. […] What happened to desktop traffic? Is it really human or have the Zombies returned? Very, very odd patterns indeed. Time to go back to basics, pounding the pavement and pressing the flesh to get customers. Google land is a joke.
Dr Pete Meyers at Moz also noted the changes, and confirmed that it was unrelated to the mobile update on the 21st April:
Hotter algo temps across both desktop and mobile (~79 deg. F), but no real difference and no new signs of #Mobilegeddon.
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) April 25, 2015
Any co-incidence this update hits exactly 3 years after Google Penguin was introduced?
On the 24th April 2012 Google introduced “Google Penguin”, an algorithm specifically designed to target webspam. This took into account various factors including keyword stuffing, over-optimized backlinks, link schemes and other black hat link building techniques.
This makes us think that the latest Google Update could have something to do with Penguin, or some other related algorithm. Of course, at this stage that is just speculation.