Google Algorithm Updates in September and October 2021
It has been a busy few weeks for the SEO industry. It is suspected that Google has made two updates; however, these are unconfirmed. The suspicions have stemmed from reports of high and very high levels of volatility across all tracking tools during September and the first days of October.
• September 15th update
• October 2nd-3rd update
• More news on the title changes
September 15th update
The idea of an unconfirmed update comes from a week of high volatility. Volatility started reaching these levels on Semrush on the 9th of September. It was expected that these levels would normalise the following day, in line with the usual day to day fluctuations. However, many site owners saw a sustained decrease in organic rankings and traffic for almost a week. Levels returned to normal on the 15th. This is when it is suspected the update completed. It is not clear what changes Google made during this update.
The sustained high levels from the 8th to the 15th can be seen on the Semrush chart below.
October 2nd-3rd update
Each year Google has been updating more and more frequently. This could explain why, not very long after the September 15th update, site owners started to see another sharp increase in volatility. The Semrush chart included below shows the weekend of October 2nd to 3rd as having volatility levels of 9.0. Very high levels are usually only seen when core updates are made. However, again, Google has not confirmed an update. Was this disturbance in preparation for a core update?
The last core update was implemented in July of this year (link blog post). During this time, businesses saw lowered rankings and dips in organic traffic across all countries. It is too early to say when businesses will see activity completely normalise again, but by October 4th Semrush reported a normal level of 4.9. Despite levels reaching those seen around the same time as a core update, there have yet to be concrete reports published on what exactly Google changed during this unconfirmed update.
Titles changes – more information revealed
More has been revealed about what the title changes update from August 2021 entailed. Google has stated that they used to create the titles shown in the search results 80% from the HTML title tags. Now, they take 87% from the tags.
This quote is taken from the Google Search Central blog:
“We’ve further refined our titles system… now used around 87% of the time, rather than 80% before.”
This is a significant increase. It is useful for those in the SEO industry to have an exact percentage. Mainly because Google states that content from the title tags is the most likely to be used. Their main advice to site owners is to ‘focus on creating great HTML title tags’.Please subscribe to our blog to receive updates about critical SEO news and advice on topics such as algorithm updates.Contact our team if the algorithm updates have impacted your business or you are worried about the increasing fluctuations in volatility and drops in traffic. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and together create the best SEO business strategy for you.
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