Google updates their algorithm hundreds of times each year with only a few being big enough to be named or even announced by Google themselves. When we in the search realm see major shifts in traffic we dive into a checklist for our clients. This looks like an “algorithm watch mode” where we wait for an announcement from the search-powers-that-be to shed light on our data. August 10th the SEO community saw a lot of shifts and even enough interest to get a SEroundtable article regarding the shift as well as many on Twitter commenting about their shifts:
It was pretty significant for many sites. But only for a few hours. pic.twitter.com/9xHNKaPedw
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) August 11, 2020
We also saw some shifts in our client’s traffic as we can see here:
“[These two graphs] show that most of the impact was seen with a shift of roughly ~1-10 ranks meaning they were slight shuffles vs complete drops.” – Colton Miller, Director of SEO for Boostability.
We were watching the situation unfold in real time along with everyone else but Google’s Gary Illyes explained what was happening and that the shifts we were seeing were just a glitch in with the indexing system Caffeine. Here is the thread where he explains in more detail:
The indexing system, Caffeine, does multiple things:
1. ingests fetchlogs,
2. renders and converts fetched data,
3. extracts links, meta and structured data,
4. extracts and computes some signals,
5. schedules new crawls,
6. and builds the index that is pushed to serving.
— Gary 鯨理／경리 Illyes (@methode) August 11, 2020
With so many updates and shifts it can sometimes be daunting to digest them all and what it can mean for your clients or business. Ever since 2019, with Google announcing their Core Algorithm Updates, they has been more and more transparent with what is happening behind the scenes. We will update this article as more information comes to light.