With every update Google makes on their search ranking algorithm, we don’t just ask ourselves “Did any of my websites get hit?”, but also “Did anyone else get hit?”.
Knowing how broad each update gets and how many websites got impacted helps us better understand Google’s search ranking strategy. It helps us get an overview of how SERPs are evolving with every update and how we keep up with the new trends.
In the lack of transparency from Google, we’re left to get this information on our own.
The data is available for free, to anyone, through AWR’s Google Algo Changes Tool.
With the latest enhancements added, the Google Algo Changes Tool enables you to:
- Track & compare SERP volatility across 29 countries
- Monitor algorithm changes on both mobile and desktop
- Access 5 years of historical data on algo changes’ impact on SERPs
- Set your own preferred time frame for the analysis
- Get SERP volatility stats for both organic and SERP features
- Receive email notifications for high SERP volatility
In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the tool’s functionalities and draw out how the most recent Google search ranking algorithm updates have impacted the SERPs.
Let’s dig in.
March 2018 Google Update was larger than Panda, Penguin or the Mobile Friendly Update
Let me give you a bit of context here.
One of the most important things you’ll need to understand about using the Google Algo Changes Tool is how the daily volatility score is calculated.
The formula is pretty straightforward. We look at hundreds of thousands of SERPs and track daily the amount of position changes that take place in top 50 Google results. And that gives us a daily SERP volatility value.
However, that will not be the score that you see on the charts.
On the charts you will always see the daily score on a scale of zero to ten, where 10 is assigned to the highest volatility value within the selected time frame, and zero would be for no SERP changes.
Therefore, by looking at the entire data set, from 2014 until 2019, we’ll see that the highest SERP volatility score recorded in this time interval was on March 18th, 2018 a couple of days after a Core Google Algorithm update.
As compared to that update, which gets the full 10.0 volatility score, Panda, Penguin and Mobile Friendly updates fall behind:
- 7.7 Volatility score on Mobile Friendly Update
- 7.4 Volatility score on Panda 4.2 Update
- 3.6 Volatility score on Rank Brain Update
- 2.8 Volatility score on Penguin 3.0 Update
Now let’s switch focus to the more recent Google algo updates, and change the time interval for the tool to the last 6 months:
For the new time interval we selected, a new 10.0 volatility score will be determined: April 8, 2019. That’s when the most SERP changes occurred during one day, for this 6 month time frame, and therefore it’ll be a 10.0 volatility score.
In this timeframe, all 3 algorithm updates that Google confirmed – Valentine’s Day Update, Florida 2 and the latest, Core Algo Update from June 3 – determined some immediate SERP movements, but the apex of SERP volatility was recorded each time, a few days later.
SERPs appear to be more turbulent on mobile than they are on desktop
Since search results are conditional upon the search device they are performed on, it’s always a good idea to find volatility stats that are specific for the device – mobile or desktop – you are targeting. Sometimes you’ll find that the differences between the mobile and desktop SERP changes, are quite consistent.
For example, when we compare SERP volatility between search devices, we get to see that over time, mobile results appear to be more volatile than those on desktop:
And if we zoom in, for instance, on the data around the Mobile Friendly Update, we see that the peak in volatility was actually on mobile:
RO and MX – highest volatility levels during June 2019
And just as with devices, the SERP dynamic is distinctive for each national search market, Google algorithm updates having different impact on each of them.
With the AWR free Google Algo Changes tool you can track SERP volatility in 29 countries and stack them up, one against the other, on the same chart, to compare their evolution.
For example, we see that June’s 2019 Google algo Updates have had the greatest impact on the Romanian and Mexican search markets, with double or triple the amount of SERP volatility recorded on the US search market.
Please note that serp volatility data is available in the Google Algo Changes Tool for US, UK and DE since 2015, while for the other 26 countries, statistical SERP volatility data has been computed since June 2019.
As compared to the US, we’ve also seen sizable volatility values during the same month, June 2019, in the Indian and the Finnish search markets.
Stay updated when the daily volatility score spikes
I’m going to stop there but I encourage you to explore the countries and time intervals that are relevant to you and see what you can take from this tool.
Also be sure to keep an eye on the volatility score we compute daily. It shows the global SERP volatility score from the data we gather, determined in correlation with the last 30 days.
The “Today” and “ This week” changes panels also help you get a quick understanding of the SERPs recent movements, or better yet, you can subscribe to get email notifications whenever SERP volatility spikes and be sure not to miss anything big.