Is Google Rolling Out a Major Spring Algorithm Update? Probably Not…
Once again, word on the grapevine suggests that Google could be cooking up something fairly big behind the scenes. But as is almost always the case, they are refusing to offer any direct confirmation in either direction.
Talk of a major spring update was sparked a couple of weeks ago by a series of turbulent events that took place during the week of March 18th. SEOs and website owners took to the usual channels to voice their concerns, in relation to major traffic fluctuations and SERP instability.
While this was going on, some of those hit hardest reached out to Google directly, in hope of at least some semblance of a response. Which they got, but only in the form of Google’s reps denying knowledge of anything significant happening at the time.
Tracking Tools Indicate Temporary Turbulence
What happened over the course of that weekend (and the few days that followed) did seem to be temporary in nature. Several of the web’s most trusted SEO tracking tools showed some big changes between March 18th and 20th, but the whole thing was back to normal a week later.
Even so, concerned website owners have been taking to WebmasterWorld ever since, convinced something sinister is being cooked up. Still no official word from Google, but there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence doing the rounds.
“Traffic was somewhat lower this morning but dropped to zero between 10am and noon so far. Yesterday search was up but direct was down 40%. Today direct is normal but search is down 30%. It seems that a new pattern is emerging where Google just whacks your traffic about every third day mysteriously. Lasts an entire day and then reverts to regular to strong traffic for a few days,” wrote one WebmasterWorld used hit by the reported shift.
Websites Throttled Without Warning
Another went one step further, accusing Google of deliberately ‘throttling’ traffic to certain websites for no good reason.
“The deliberate and extreme throttling of traffic has been very obvious over the last week. Search engine traffic on Friday was down 87% week on week and it’s only getting worse. The vice like grip that has been applied only appears to be getting tighter as each day goes by,” they wrote.
“Traffic plummeted around a week ago and shows no sign of recovery. Yesterday, it was as if Google had decided I should only be granted 3,000 visitors and any social spike was almost immediately met with a reduction in search hits. This kind of control is always obvious but not always bad. On one day I have 100 visitors at any one time for an entire 24-hour period, the next day it’s 500 visitors constantly and the next 1,000. Yesterday, it was 10 visitors at any one time – consistently for the entire day.”
No major turbulence to report as of right now on any major tracking tools, but reports continue of unexpected and seemingly inexplicable traffic fluctuations.