Google Algorithm Update: Day 0 Reflection

Google Algorithm Update: Day 0 Reflection

The digital world is shaking. Mobile SEO rankings are crumbling. Sites are sliding into internet hell, aka page 2 of Google search results. Not even Star Wars offers a ‘new hope’ for redemption from #popupdoomsday.

OK OK, so we’re being a bit dramatic. At least for now...!

Google’s algorithm update affecting mobile SEO rankings is barely over 24 hours old and the effects are still unknown. We did predict that this update wouldn’t cause issues as serious as Panda or Penguin. Yet, we didn’t want to risk our clients suffering hits to their rankings that we could have helped prevent. Development of our mobile-first Portal proved a much-needed solution for Google’s 2017 algorithm update.

Results reflective of our raw Portal test link. Test courtesy of Google. Click image to test your site. 

Results reflective of our raw Portal test link. Test courtesy of Google. Click image to test your site. 

Many blogs and digital marketers contributed their thoughts (Moz, HubSpot, GSQi, Practical Ecommerce, SERoundtable), including our partners (Oracle, Blue Acorn, Bronto). The industry has been buzzing with serious concern for any marketer who ignored Google’s fair warning.

We sit at our computers waiting for any signs of change, asking ourselves: Will this update be worth discussing months from now? 

There’s currently no data available to help us answer that question, so, for now, we look to two of Glenn Gabe’s articles on GSQi that offer speculation on potential update impacts. The articles break down results he saw from when Google first tested this update randomly in November and again in December 2016.

Gabe’s first article outlines changes he noticed to a few site’s search visibility around 11/10/2016. Using Search Metrics, Gabe noticed that sites whose traffic had been negatively impacted had connections to previous quality updates. On the flip side, strong mobile sites saw a positive impact to traffic.

Sites that surged are dropping back down and sites that dropped are recovering. This supports my theory that the mobile-first index was being tested.
— Glenn Gabe

The majority of sites hit the hardest on 11/10/16 had a lot of mobile issues. Gabe updated his first article stating that on 11/18/16, he saw Google’s impacts reverse and sites recovered. The article’s comments section suggested otherwise. Post rollback period, site owners were still reporting, on average, a 50% decrease in traffic and rankings with no signs of recovery. 

Gabe’s second article outlined even more substantial site declines and increases to traffic on 11/30/16 followed by a recovery on 12/13/16. He did mention that not all sites were reverting to “their pre-November levels...Some have stayed at their new levels, while others have surged more or dropped more.” This article supported Gabe’s claim that Google had been testing the mobile-first index.

If the late 2016 updates are reflective of what this update will bring in 2017, the development of Portal as a solution will have been 100% justifiable. Even if there is no connection between testing, our Portal is still an incredible mobile-first product update and strong contribution to the eCommerce ecosystem advancement in mobile-centric marketing.

We’ll be following this change closely, so check back regularly for more updates!
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