Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update February 4th

Emma Grant

Head of SEO

Results-driven Emma heads up our SEO team. A champion of best-practice SEO strategies for search engine success that lasts and delivers best value, Emma’s work focuses on boosting clients’ online visibility with the ultimate goal of increasing sales. Emma applies her extensive skill and experience to create strategies that pay off quickly for faster results. She knows precisely what to do to reduce clients’ paid ad spends for greater profits, and how to boost organic leads for better long term return on investment. After close of business, when she’s not organising exciting travel adventures, you may hear Emma strumming classical guitar tunes or working on her jazz riffs.

SEO communities were awash recently with news of a potential unconfirmed Google search ranking algorithm update which started around 3rd February and ran till 4th February.

February Google algorithm update

This latest February Google algorithm update, which follows three others reported in January, also unconfirmed, led to tracking tools such as Google Analytics showing huge spikes and fluctuations, and numerous SEO agencies confirming unusual movements in organic traffic.

Reports ranged from positive to negative effects, with some website owners saying they’d seen traffic increase, then drop right down to zero. Some commented that they’d all of a sudden ranked for keywords they hadn’t ranked for in years, whilst others said their top ten ranked keywords had dropped to #100.

Why does Google make updates?

Google uses algorithms to harvest data from its search index and deliver results that match user search queries. These algorithms, together with various ranking factors, are what rank web pages by relevance on the search engine results pages (SERPs). And it’s these algorithms and ranking factors that are the subject of Google’s updates.

In the early days, Google only ever made a few updates here and there. Nowadays, however, it makes thousands of changes every year. Some go unnoticed, whilst others are considered major and come with advance warning, and a heads-up on how not to fall victim to the forthcoming changes so that you can prepare to weather them.

Major updates in recent times include:

Helpful Content Update – rolled out in August 2022, this update focused on removing content that Google didn’t consider fresh and original and useful to readers.

Product Review Update – part of a series with various updates hitting throughout 2021 and 2022, targeting low quality reviews that lack first-hand evidence of products or services actually being tested by the reviewer.

Link Spam Update – this 2021 update targeted spammy links that violated its best practice and misled web users as to the relevancy and quality of a web page.

Other significant updates include the May 2022 Core Update, the Page Experience Update and the Local Search Update. These are all the type of updates that come with advance warning.

What are ‘unconfirmed’ updates?

When website owners or SEO managers start noticing unusual trends in search traffic and rankings, the SEO community begins to chatter and usually cites an ‘unconfirmed Google update’ as the reason. So basically, an unconfirmed update is one that is reported by the SEO community, without any confirmation from Google.

The problem with unconfirmed updates is that, because they don’t follow an official announcement from Google, there are no guidelines as to what could be causing the traffic and ranking issues. This of course makes it impossible to plan ahead and make sure your site isn’t impacted, or even to know what to do once something has actually happened.

This is why it’s so important for your SEO agency in London to constantly keep on improving your website and ensure it meets current Google best practice, so that you don’t have to worry about these smaller, unconfirmed updates. If your site meets best practice, it shouldn’t really take a hit.

Best practice examples include keeping on top of any technical issues that could affect your site’s ability to be crawled by Google; publishing good quality, helpful content that aligns with user intent and addresses their needs; ensuring your site is user friendly, and avoiding any underhand SEO tactics.

Is your SEO agency on the case with Google updates, unconfirmed or otherwise?

At Figment, we go all out to stay on top of Google’s latest updates, so that we can ensure our clients’ businesses stay on track with their business growth plans. We also make sure our clients’ websites follow Google best practice so that they are more likely to weather any unexpected or unconfirmed algorithm updates.

If you’d like to discover more about how we can help your business grow through best practice SEO, please do get in touch.

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