Boostability: March SEO Update

Boostability: March SEO Update

Boostability: March SEO Update

We can’t believe it is March already, and we bet you’re feeling the same way.  In 2017, we have brought you regular SEO updates direct from our own, internal software platform where we monitor over 17,500 client accounts for consistencies that would determine changes in Google’s search algorithms.  Through our own data, we are able to come to you first with updates that may never even make it to the sound board of Google’s search algorithm announcements.  With that, let’s get started on this month’s information.


February was an eventful month for ranking fluctuations. We had a few big spikes for the month February which is speculated as a Phantom Update. This is unconfirmed from Google but is being assumed based on those impacted, as well as past Phantom updates. (On a quick side note Phantom updates in the past have been correlated with quality of content. This is different from a Panda update where Phantom Updates tend to be more focused on the intent/action of the content vs the thin/duplicate nature.) We saw this within our data around 2 days later from initial murmurings on 2/7.

Subsequently, we saw ranking stagnation during the middle of the month with another spike around 2/22. Not a ton was mentioned around that time of anyone seeing a ton of movement. We also see (as you can see in the graph below with a red box) that the movement we saw was primarily from keywords on page 2-3 moving to page 10+. We believe this was a potential error with our ranking process but nothing was flagged with any errors.

As we begin to move into March we are seeing more continual fluctuations, although nothing massive. It has been mixed so far (positive/negative) which we will continue to monitor as usual.

Stats and Graphs

(This graph shows the % of https results that are on the first page. This continues to rise as expected but if you look at Real-Estate they see spikes in https.)

(This graph shows overall for daily movement which days were more positive vs negative. We had 17/28 positive days for the month of February which still leaves us net positive for rankings.)

Key Articles

As always here are a bunch of read-worthy articles from the last month. Nothing hugely impacting to our client base but good to know or at least have a pulse on.

  1. Google Hates “Read More” Content Barriers – Basically Google doesn’t penalize for having your content hidden behind “read more” screens but they also don’t understand why you should hide content from being seen/crawled. (Source)
  2. February 7th Update – Unconfirmed but a Phantom Update is suspected. This as best the industry can tell targets content quality (mainly from a user standpoint) which is a bit different from a regular panda update (which targets thin/duplicate content).
  5. Hire an SEO – Google’s Maile Ohye released a new video explaining in detail what Google recommends when looking to hire an SEO or Agency. (Source)
  6. Emojis are back in SERPs – J Google has brought emojis back that can be included in URLs and content. (Source)
  7. SERPs for “Best SEO Company” – A carousel has been added to “Best SEO Company” to show results better. Woot! We’re #1! (Source)
  8. HTTPS continues to Rise – As we can see from our own data above, others are noting the continued rise of secured websites in the SERPs. (Source)
  9. Bye Maile Ohye – Maile Ohye from the webmaster team at Google bids farewell to Google. (Source)
  10. Google and Directories – Google’s John Mueller noted via twitter that Directories GENERALLY don’t provide value. This is to note that they don’t often attribute a bunch of value. This is fairly well known which why we try to use these for link variety and domain variety and not a performance correlated task. (Source)
  11. Google Answers and Rich Cards – It was announced by RankRanger that over 50% of the SERPs they track now have rich cards or Google answers. (Source)

Colton Miller
[email protected]

Colton is the Director of SEO Strategy at Boostability testing and defining the products and processes that make Boostability's customers successful. He has been a part of Boostability for over 7 years. Colton loves hanging out with his family and gaming. He runs a personal blog over at where he discusses gaming, life, and SEO.