Is a Google Update Brewing? — September 2016

There is a lot of chatter in the SEO community that a large Google Update has just been rolled out, with some SERP trackers showing significant movement.

There is a lot of chatter in the SEO community that a large Google Update has just been rolled out. While some of the SERP trackers such as the Rank Risk Index, or MozCast haven’t yet updated, the Google Grump Rating shows the volatility as furious, with Algaroo also showing significant movement.

It is unclear at this stage what the update might be affecting, but typically we find that most of the core algorithm updates target content quality in some way. The best way to avoid being susceptible to these kinds of updates is to focus on only publishing high quality content on your website. This means doing much more than the standard 500 word blog post that was all the rage only a couple of years ago; you have to provide real value to the user.

The SERP Trackers

Before we look at the community chatter, let’s first take at the SERP trackers to gain an inclination as to the scale and impact of the update:

Google Grump

Google Grump.
Google Grump. © Accuranker.
The “Grump” rating has been specified as furious. The chart clearly shows a significant rise in volatility on the 2nd September 2016.


Algoroo SERP Volatility.
Algoroo SERP Volatility. © Algaroo.
Algoroo appears to show increasing volatility over the last three days. Again the scale of the volatility looks significant.

Google Update Community Chatter

It is evident, at least from a SERP tracking perspective, that the update is fairly significant. As such you would expect a substantial increase in chatter among webmasters and SEO specialists. Let’s take a look at some of the community forums:


As of the time of posting, two different comments have been made, specifically mentioning the UK SERPs, but this is probably due to the timezone difference. This is what they had to say.

User Jez 123 commented:

I’m seeing some decent changes on UK Google this morning. Are they real or has Google lifted the filters to apply some new patch? Interesting to see if we all get a spike in converting traffic as on 1st / 2nd August. Is anyone else seeing anything or is this an isolated occurrence?

User Imbenking commented:

A noticeable move in our vertical over night in the UK. (Classifieds). Almost all large players including ourselves took a hit in page 1 visibility. We’ve noticed over time more and more national players are being displaced with strong local websites (e.g. local newspaper classifieds etc).


James Perrott, Strategy Director at ZazzleMedia said:

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any indication what may be causing the fluctuations, and we suspect it may be a few days until there is enough data to analyze to come to some conclusions.

Glenn Gabe, Digital Marketing Consultant at G-Squared Interactive has not seen anything that indicates there is an update.

Local pack changes

However, in one post on the 31st August, a user on the Local Search Forum there was an indication that some changes were being made to the Local Pack in the Netherlands.

I’m seeing a lot of ranking changes in the Local Pack here in the Netherlands on numerous of keywords I’m tracking. Anyone else who’s seeing a lot of movement?

This could account for the Algaroo volatility being shown over a few days. It doesn’t appear to account for the more recent chatter, and the Google Grump rating being specifically high today.

What does Google have to say?

Despite a few tweets being directed at John Mueller today, so far there is no comment from him. Gary Illyes, another active Google spokesperson, is away on vacation, so it is unlikely any response will be forthcoming from him.

As soon as we get any further news, we will provide an update.

Jonathan Griffin. Editor @ The Webmaster

Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.

Jonathan Griffin is The Webmaster's Editor & CEO, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all our publications. Jonathan writes about Development, Hosting, and SEO topics for The Webmaster and The Search Review with more than nine years of experience. Jonathan also manages his own SEO consultancy, offering SEO developer services. He is an expert on site-structure, strategy, Schema, AMP, and technical SEO. You can find Jonathan on Twitter as @thewebmastercom.

Read more about Jonathan Griffin on our About Page.