The end of September saw a flurry of Google search engine activity! Those updates spilled over into the beginning of October, and we’ve been tracking them for you in our monthly installment of the MozCast Google Algorithm Review.
Ever wonder why your website’s rankings dip or swell? The answer is that Google’s engineers are always tinkering with Hummingbird, Google’s core algorithm, and its individual components. Since no one besides Google truly knows what is being done or the goals of the updates, we bring you the search engine world’s best guesses!
Our friends over at Moz put together a daily MozCast that tracks fluctuations in Google’s search engine by using 1,000 hand-picked keywords and grabbing the top ten organic results every 24 hours. The hotter and stormier the forecast, the more changes Google is likely making. Moz says, “Think of the severity as the at-a-glance view and the temperature as the refined view.”
How “hot” was it in October 2018, according to MozCast?
October was “cooler” overall than September by about one degree, and seems to be following a cooling trend in the Q4 months as we head into the holiday season. Though it’s rarely winter in California (and seems to never get cold at the Googleplex in Mountain View), we might be seeing fewer big updates at the end of the year.
That said, there was one additional stormy day in October, but whatever the changes were this month, they were probably related to the “Google Birthday Update” from September 24th-27th, confirmed by Google. Though Google said this was a “small” update, for many websites, it felt big.
Here’s how Moz broke down the month of October:
October 1 – 85° rainy
October 2 – 87° rainy
October 3 – 93° stormy
October 4 – 100° stormy
October 5 – 90° stormy
October 6 – 87° rainy
October 7 – 85° rainy
October 8 – 97° stormy
October 9 – 81° rainy
October 10 – 82° rainy
October 11 – 94° stormy
October 12 – 92° stormy
October 13 – 83° rainy
October 14 – 82° rainy
October 15 – 110° stormy
October 16 – 97° stormy
October 17 – 95° stormy
October 18 – 83° rainy
October 19 – 82° rainy
October 20 – 79° cloudy
October 21 – 80° cloudy
October 22 – 81° rainy
October 23 – 79° cloudy
October 24 – 81° rainy
October 25 – 83° rainy
October 26 – 80° rainy
October 27 – 79° cloudy
October 28 – 81° rainy
October 29 – 83° rainy
October 30 – 87° rainy
October 31 – 93° stormy
On October 15th, Moz noted a spot of HEAT! Could it be another broad core update on the way, like the Medic update on August 1st? Online SEO experts and commentators noticed this #Googleupdate around the middle of the month as well. Marie Haynes reported, “At this point we think that this is an update in how Google assesses trust. Unnatural links can be a sign of low trust, but there are many other possible trust issues that Google looks at as well.”
Average temperature: 86.81
Storm index: 10 days
Storm index change from September: +1 day
How “grumpy” was Google in September 2018, according to AccuRanker?
AccuRanker, like Moz, keeps track of changes in organic search results. They look at 30,000 randomly selected keywords, 50% on mobile and 50% on desktop, and compare the top 100 spots to the previous day’s with a ranking from “chilled” all the way to “furious.” The Grump says, “The grumpier the mood, the bigger the fluctuations in rankings.”
AccuRanker agreed with the MozCast that most changes in October were at the beginning of the month, and were just trailing the “small” core algorithm change in September. Though the Grump noticed some ranking movement around the 17th-18th of October, same as Moz, it didn’t get quite as angry as it did on October 10th. This mid-month meltdown was also believed to be related to how Google grades a site’s trust flow; its trustworthiness for users based on quality backlinking.
Days of fury: 11
Change of fury since September: -8
How “high” did Google SERPs bounce around September 2018, according to Algoroo?
Algoroo is the least excitable of the three tracking sites that we refer to, but even the Roo noticed a bounce on October 16th for a “high roo” of 2.57, showing that a “detected event” took place—probably Google looking at how to evaluate websites’ backlinks, or links leading from another site back to that website. The Roo monitors around 17,000 keywords to 100 search positions deep daily and looks for up-and-down movement in the SERPs. Algoroo even shows the biggest gainers and losers for the week!
Days of high roo: 1
High roo change index since September: 0
Could it be that a calm is coming in November?
We don’t think so. At SLS Consulting, we have been doing search engine optimization since Google first began in 1998. After more than 20 years of doing Internet marketing exclusively for lawyers, we can tell you that Google will never stop tweaking its algorithm. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison, recommends always following the General Guidelines to create user-centered content that Google aims to reward with a top spot in its SERPs. These guidelines, though created to train Google’s Quality Raters to do manual checks on the search engine results, are very helpful for website owners and their marketing companies. Legal marketing is included under “Your Money, Your Life” pages, because the information law firms present to users—the facts on divorce, criminal charges, business laws, or personal injury—matters more than a recipe for chicken soup.
This is what we have been telling clients all along: well-written content is king. From the General Guidelines, page 25: “Highest quality pages and websites have a very high level of expertise or are highly authoritative or highly trustworthy.” This is called E-A-T in the SEO world, and it’s becoming more and more important to Google.
Play by the rules and give readers E-A-T, and though Google may move things around behind the scenes, the algorithm is intended to reward you.
Want to learn more about legal content marketing? Give SLS Consulting a call at (323) 254-1510.