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Major Google algorithm seems to have been rolled out

View profile for Chris Mundy
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Google has just confirmed another major series of search algorithm updates took place in mid-December 2017. In line with their long-admitted intention to ultimately shift search to mobile-first indexing, it appears that the largest impact on rankings did occur in mobile Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) rather than desktop.

The update appears to have hit on 12 December and rolled out over the next few days beginning in the US before hitting Europe. Google always avoids specifics, however within the SEO industry the chatter indicates that specific types of industries appear to have been hit more than others, and the “law & legal” sector was targeted specifically right from the start. As the update continued to roll-out, additional industries including “home & garden”, “science”, “jobs & education” and “hobbies & leisure” experienced wild fluctuations in rankings as late as 19 December.

Mozcast for 19 December 2017

Mozcast report for Thursday 19 December 2017

It is generally unheard of for Google to shake up the search results so near a major holiday period. As a result, few expected it to happen and the SEO industry chatter surrounding the event is only just beginning to take off. We expect it will be January 2018 before a consensus opinion is reached on the matter and any relevant lessons or strategies can be taken away. At the moment, it looks like sites with low quality “thin” content as well as sites with excessive ads as well as sites with pages targeting spam keyword combinations (doorway pages) have been hit most.

The SEMrush Sensor indicates that as of 20 December the volatility factor continues to be intense and the industries affected are listed to the left side of the table:

SEMrush Sensor 20 December 2017

So what can be said with certainty is that at least a week’s worth of rolling rollouts has swept from the US across to Europe and rankings for a large number of industry sectors have seen some pretty large effects.

We will monitor this situation closely and report back on our conclusions in the new year.

For more details on this update, you can read the following articles: The Maccabees Update, Semrush, and Google confirms mid-December search ranking algorithm updates

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