Google Update September 2016: Quick Thoughts

By September 4, 2016 September 9th, 2016 News, SEO

Post updated on September 9th

You can read the original post below this updated section, but here’s the quick summary:

  • All major Google turbulence trackers detected massive fluctuations around 1st to 3rd September
  • Google has since said it was not penguin related
  • The more spammy sites with unbalanced anchor text profiles got a massive boost (profiles with high % exact match keywords)
  • I predicted a rollback as it’s a pattern I’ve seen before…
  • which is now underway as seen in the below screenshots of my own rankings.



Original Post

If you’re doing any kind of SEO and are actively tracking your rankings, you might have noticed massive fluctuations in your serps recently (around 1st to 3rd September). You’re not alone, all major Google turbulence trackers are reporting huge fluctuations!



And while both Search Engine Land & Search Engine Roundtable have reported on the surrounding chatter of a possible update, I haven’t seen anyone dive a bit deeper into what’s happening… hence this quick post.

The following analysis is done for my own niche in Web Design, this might differ for different markets/niches but you can pretty much assume it’s going to be pretty similar across the board (aside from the niches that report no turbulence at all).

IMPORTANT: These thoughts are obviously just that, thoughts, personal opinions.

So, looking at the most common keywords in my niche, there are quite a few newcomers in the top 10, and even the top 3. Upon closer inspection with ahrefs, all of the newcomers with massive ranking boosts have 1 thing in common, their anchor profiles are VERY unbalanced with high % going to exact/partial match keywords… an exploit Google patched quite a while back. This is part of a pattern I’ve seen before. With the push of bigger core algorithm updates (not all of them), there’s a temporary period where spammy sites get a massive boost, before getting slapped back into oblivion by a partial update rollback a few days/weeks later.

Have a looksy at the following 3 anchor profiles taken from sites that are suddenly ranking very well for decent volume keywords in my niche.



As you can see, these percentages are pretty insane. The fact that these sites are ranking on top should give those that were slapped down a bit of peace of mind, as it’s part of a familiar pattern. Within a few days (maybe weeks, but hope not) there will be a rollback, putting you back where you were (or a bit higher/lower) <- this statement is aimed at those that know their seo practices are decent. If you’re doing spammy stuff anyway, you’ll probably lose a few spots.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. Expect more turbulence in the coming days/weeks!