Data collected from Glenn Gabe at G-Squared Interactive shows strong evidence that a Google algorithm updated occurred this month. Throughout the month of June, Gabe says he has seen some major volatility in search rankings, with some websites soaring in rankings and others falling.
“It’s pretty clear that Google rolled out a major algo update in June,” says Gabe, pointing to specific dates where has has seen the most movement. June 1, 8, 21, and 26 are the dates where the most volatility was seen, suggesting that the update rolled out at the beginning of the month with “tremors” occurring through the remainder of the month.
Gabe suggests that the update could be either Panda-related, or it could be one of Google’s quality updates. Whatever the case may be, the update appears to be targeting websites with obvious quality issues. These issues can include: poor content quality, user experience issues, an over-abundance of advertising, and so on. Conversely, the update appears to be rewarding sites that have worked hard to clean up the quality of their content.
These are the top issues Gabe found when analyzing sites that have dropped in rankings as a result of this update:
- Burying content below sponsored posts: A site that included a number of link thumbnails to sponsored content at the top of articles ended up getting hammered in the search results.
- More ads than content: A site that featured two thirds ads, and one third content, ended up seeing a significant drop in search results.
- Thin Content: A site focused on Q&A ended up seeing a drop in search results, most likely because it contained many pages with thin or irrelevant content.
- Generic Content: A site that provided very generic content for the topic it covered ended up seeing a drop in search results. Content consisted mostly of rewrites of information that could be found elsewhere on the web. It probably didn’t help that the content was filled with ads as well.
- Indexing Issues: One site that saw major fluctuations in search results is one that had indexing issues based on the site’s robots.txt file. This could have led to Google not being able to properly crawl the content on the site.
Gabe ran into an unusual issue where a site ended up climbing in rankings after enhancing the user experience of its mobile website. By Gabe’s estimation the site provided a horrible experience on desktop, but received a boost in rankings after redesigning the mobile version.
An algorithm update associated with Panda has not been since since March. According to the time frame, and the evidence presented by Glenn Gabe, there’s reason to believe what we’re seeing is another Panda update. At the very least, it’s likely one of Google’s “quality updates”.