Is Google Updating Its Algorithm Around January 14th, 2015?

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

There has been a lot of chatter since last Friday of Google updating its search algorithm. The exact nature of the update is not yet known, but we are keeping a close eye on the chatter and will bring further details as and when we get them.

Whenever there is a Google update, it is always worth paying close attention both to your traffic, but also the fluctuations in the SERPs more generally.

This way, if a traffic drop ever hits you, you can start to identify if it is a particular algorithm that is effecting your website so you can begin to take action to recover.

Google SERP Fluctuation Monitoring Tools

Firstly looking at SERPmetrics, a tool that shows turbulence in Google rankings clearly shows some movement starting around the 14th January 2015..

SERPmetrics Flux, January 14th 2015.
SERPmetrics Flux, January 14th 2015. CREDIT: SERPMETRICS.

Chatter Around the Web

Here is a selection of the chatter left by some webmasters:

Webmasterworld.com

Seeing big changes in SERPs. First 10 results are only brands now. Related or not. Smaller ecoms are complete out of range now. In my niche Amazon took a nice noise dive. eBay outranks Amazon in many cases now. Conversions are non existent at the Moment, even for PLAs. Something Major is up.

Agreed, from around 3 am uk im down around 30% per hour. Fasten your seatbelts Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we are in for some turbulence.

There has been some noticeable shufffling in my sector (in which SERPs have hardly been affected at all by changes in the last couple of months). My site has moved from #27 to #15 for main key term, and a couple of other sites have moved up or down by varying amounts.

Seroundtable Comment:

One of my website started to gaining traffic around 15th Jan and was highest on 18th and then after back to 15th state but it is still significantly higher then 14th.

Our Thoughts

It is tough to tell what is going on at this time except that initially, at least it seems to be mainly European webmasters reporting fluctuations.

It could very well be that we are due for another update, with the last significant Google update being back in December and related to the Penguin Algorithm. Indeed, we are well overdue a Panda Refresh.

UPDATE: It is NOT Google Panda or Penguin (27th January)

John Mueller, in a recent Google Hangout has confirmed that “I don’t think it is related to Penguin or Panda at the Moment.”

You have to bear in mind that Google makes many changes each day of varying intensity, so John Mueller could not say what might be the cause.

Check out what he had to say:

Video Transcript:

JOSH BACHYNSKI:

Very recently, Barry has mentioned that he is seeing an uptick in changes in the Google Search, as if there was some kind of algorithm release. I’m just wondering if you could– I know if it’s Panda or whatnot, you cannot confirm. But I was just wondering if you could confirm if it was Penguin, and if Google still has plans to run Penguin on a monthly basis, or if those releases will be announced.

JOHN MUELLER:

We make a lot of changes in our algorithms, so that’s really hard to nail down to something specific. I don’t think it’s related to Penguin or a Panda update at the moment.

JOSH BACHYNSKI:

But it’s some kind of algorithm release? I’m just wondering if you could I don’t know if it’s Panda or…

JOHN MUELLER:

We make tons of changes, so it’s really tricky. I can take a look at what Barry wrote up, and maybe he has some sample URLs that we can look at and sample queries.

But we make hundreds of changes every year, so you’re bound to see some fluctuations. Some sites are bound to see these fluctuations a little bit stronger than others.

And maybe that’s just, like, one of the many updates that we’ve done this year is something that these specific sites are seeing. But it’s really hard to say.