Major Google Update Happening? — 4 February 2015

Algorithm Update, February 4, 2015
Algorithm Update, February 4, 2015 CREDIT: 123-RF.
Jonathan Griffin
By Jonathan Griffin, Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.

From all the tracking tools, it looks like one of the biggest Google Updates since June 2012 (at least if you go by the MozCast Metrics). Despite lots of forum chatter, there is no real indication yet of what this update is targeting.

One comment on Seroundtable shows tracking statistics that indicate that ranking fluctuations were seen on both the 4th and 5th February.

Looking at the chart they posted (see below), it isn’t very easy to know if Google was testing something on the 4th, and reversed it on the 5th.

It could just be that the update is rolling out over many days. It’s hard to tell.

SERP Changes February 2015.
SERP Changes February 2015. CREDIT: SCREENSHOT.

Another comment on that website mentioned that websites impacted by the Google Panda Penalty on a previous occasion do not seem to be affected. In contrast, someone else chimed in that a couple of Penguin Hit websites appeared to have made a good recovery.

SERP Tracking Tools

You can get a good scale of how severe the movements are with all the following trackers:

MozCast

MozCast - The Google Algorithm Weather Report.
MozCast - The Google Algorithm Weather Report. CREDIT: SCREENSHOT.

SERPmetrics

Search Engine Fluctuation Charts - SERPmetrics.
Search Engine Fluctuation Charts - SERPmetrics. CREDIT: SCREENSHOT.

What Do We Know?

This is where things get tricky, especially if the reports of a rollback on any SERPs Changes turn out to be true.

With the changes being so massive, but not a single SEO professional being able to determine the cause on websites they are tracking (i.e., Panda or Penguin signals), it may be that this update is attempting to do something new.

Furthermore, with fluctuations still happening (it has been known for some updates to be rolled out over ten days or even longer), we may not get a clear picture until the dust settles.

Glenn Gabe, a Digital Marketing Consultant, had this to say about the possibility it was a Panda update:

Marie Haynes posted images of two Penguin websites that are seeing good gains:

Two Penguin websites that are seeing good gains.
Two Penguin websites that are seeing good gains. CREDIT: SCREENSHOT.

Google subsequently released an update:

Thanks for checking in — as usual, we’re continuing to make tweaks, but we don’t have a specific “update” to announce.

So obviously, they are not ready to release information on this update. Usually, when something significant happens such as this, they are quick to make an announcement, but the lack of information seems to imply something new, or that they are still testing the changes and that they may not stick.

Wikipedia Affected?

There are some reports that Wikipedia is no longer dominating the search results like it used to:

Yes, there’s some re-alignment going on, and I’m not sure it’s finished just yet. Several SERPs are showing Wikipedia no longer the top, or near the top. Some may argue that’s a good thing, but when it’s a commercial website above it, it makes you think it’s not yet settled.

Have you been affected?

If you are noticing significant falls or recoveries, please let us know in the comments.