Over the last several weeks, we have noticed quite a few changes in the Google search results. These fluctuations started very mildly and then became much more exaggerated. In late August and early September 2016 we started to notice some drastic changes in the Google Local 3 Pack map results. Some of the businesses showing up in the local pack had very few or no reviews. They happened to also businesses that came out of nowhere as they didn’t rank on the first five pages of organic search. Some were calling this the Google “Possum” update as some business were hiding and instantly showed up.
After two or three weeks of the local pack changing on a daily basis we started to see the organic results change as well. In one particular vertical, we noticed some “new to the scene” law firms ranking on the front page for highly competitive keyword phrases. These law firms did not slowly creep up in the rankings from page 8 to page 5 and then to page 3. They came out of nowhere to rank at the top of page 2 or even on page 1 for keywords that cost as much as $125 a click on Google Adwords.
Why is this the case? Are law firms, orthodontics offices and mortgage brokers that are dropping in the rankings doing something wrong? Did the new algorithm update him their websites and they have to adjust their strategy? Likely not. Remember, Google is constantly tweaking their algorithms and this might be a month stretch to flush out the websites and SEO companies that are truly gaming the system. This is something that often happens.
Websites will see a huge spike in traffic for a few days, or a week, and then will get hit hard be a Google algorithm penalty. This has been well documented over the last decade. If you own a website that ranked on the front page and you have seen your rankings drop to the second or third page do not fear. The more worrisome situation would be not ranking at all and immediately jumping to the front page basically overnight.
It takes a significant amount of content, high quality links and proper backend coding to rank on the front page of Google search. This takes a quite a bit of time and effort. If you are a personal injury law firm, orthodontics practice or loan company you cannot expect to see your rankings immediately jump in a matter of weeks or even months. Just like it takes years to built a strong business, it takes years to build a very strong website.
If you have any questions about a Google Algorithm update in September 2016 feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to rank higher in Google search with proper SEO reach out to us as well. We offer monthly SEO and content packages that can help your business grow by getting clients, customers or patients from your website.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update you if we find any information to confirm there was a Google Penguin or Panda update in September 2016.