Google’s Dec. 17 Holiday Shopping Algorithm Update

Google launched an algorithm update on 12/17/2013, which according to MozCast, had the most significant ranking shift since Google Penguin 2.0.

Mozcast Temp

To better understand the impact, Moz measures the impact by temperature. The hotter/higher the temperature, the greater the ranking shift from Google of the previous day. Example, Monday, December 16, 2013 saw a temperature of 67 degrees, on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 the temperature was 98 degrees. The result was a 46% shift in rankings in one day, which according to several industry articles caused a drastic drop in rankings. The timing of this couldn’t cause a greater panic for retailers as for many this was the last day for ground shipping.

PM Digital measured the day-to-day ranking shift from 12/17 – 12/18 of approximately 9,000 keywords and found a different and less negative impact in ranking compared to the Moz data. Some sites showed a growth in rankings (up to 4%).

page one rankings

Based on PM Digital’s data, the average percent shift in page-one rankings gained -0.38%. This is considerably less volatile than 46%. Based on the data above, the Google December 17th update isn’t a reason for alarm.

While algorithm updates from Google are valuable, it typically is not a reason for abrupt reaction.

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