Google fails to end speculation over search algorithm update

Google is yet to end speculation that it has updated its search algorithm beyond stating that it is always “tuning” algorithms to improve its result relevancy.

Rumours that the search giant had made some alterations to its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) began to surface last week, with Google telling Search Engine Land that it was “continuing to make tweaks” but had yet to offer any insight as to what those were, an issue that was no further forward after The Drum contacted the company to ask for clarification also.

A spokesperson for Google explained to The Drum that it was aiming to “give users the most relevant answers as quickly as possible” and that meant the “constant tuning of algorithms” but that there not nothing “big” to be announced.

A blog by Marcus Tober, founder of Search Metrics, aimed to prove that changes had been made to its SERPs and explained that those affected keywords for big brands that had been misspelled, such as “Addidas”, ecommerce keywords for retail brands and price comparison sites as well as data searchmetrics affecting mobile search rankings.

“The pattern is dominated by losing just a few rankings, which of course is reflected in traffic losses,” explained Tober who went onto highlight warnings sent by Google to non-'mobile-friendly' sites as an indicator that changes were taking place.

He also admitted that it was probably too early to draw any definitive conclusions as to the impact that any changes might have.

“Things seem to not have calmed down yet, therefore be careful driving conclusions. We cannot speak of a Google update yet. What we have noticed is an impact on e-commerce keywords that affects brands and retailers, shops, price comparison sites and even (small) ad sites,” continued Tober.

“Brands seem to profit from the development, while other have lost a good chunk of rankings, e.g. sites in the fashion industry. Google seems to be optimizing brand searches. An interesting side effect: for keywords with typos the SERPs seem to be strongly edited – and adjusted to the ‘correct’ SERP.!”

Last week, Google announced a partnership with Twitter which will see tweets appear within its search results.

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Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak is editor of The Drum, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day running of the content produced for the various platforms run by the publication. Over the years he has interviewed agency network bosses such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Maurice Lévy and Arthur Sadoun, as well as Cindy Gallop, Kim Kardashian, film directors James Cameron, Spike Jonze, Richard Curtis and Lord David Puttnam. With a keen interest in media and breaking news, Lepitak has been with The Drum since 2005 and is based across its UK, US and Asia operations.

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