Google: ‘We do updates all the time’ — somewhat confirming February update rumors

Earlier this week, we reported on an unconfirmed Google February search algorithm update. In response to questions about an update, Google’s Danny Sullivan said on Twitter Thursday morning, “We do updates all the time.” He then referred to the company’s advice given around the November update, which Google has described as “several updates.”

Google’s response. Sullivan responded to several questions around the rumors of a February update on Twitter early Thursday morning. Here is one of the responses, but they were all the same:

Was there an update? Well, yea, Google said, “we do updates all the time.” But this was not classified as a “broad core update.” Google generally now pre-announces those core updates. But that does not mean Google didn’t release an update (or updates) last weekend that impacted core rankings in some way. The data from the tool providers and the SEO Company community reflect big fluctuations in rankings from about February 7, 2020 to February 12, 2020. We illustrated and summarized a lot of that in our original story.

Google’s previous statements. Here are the previous statements Google made about that November update:

Nothing actionable and nothing to fix. So with these updates this week, Google is again saying there is nothing actionable you can do or fixes you can make to adjust things. Which has me a bit concerned about the 25% decline TechTarget experienced with the November update. The company told us it is making technical changes to try to address them, but will it matter?

What was this update? This is the big question. It lasted longer than most other unconfirmed updates. In fact, in some cases, it looks like Google may have pushed out an update or a few updates Friday night and then maybe reversed it a few days later. Of course, I do not know for sure, it is just a guess. But I’ve seen several charts of specific sites hit that seem to have recovered. Here is one:

You can see a drop in traffic the 7th and then an increase on the 12th.

There was an update. So yes, there was an update of some sort, but again, we have nothing actionable to give you from Google. For now, you just know that if you saw a lot of ranking shifts this past week, you were not alone.

Why we care. Sometimes with Google updates, Google may give us some advice or areas to look at. Other-times, Google will tell us there is no advice, just go make your site better. In any event, it is also good to know that there was a larger update that impacted a lot of other sites and maybe there is nothing you specifically did to cause your rankings to go up or down in the Google organic search results.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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