Have your rankings been a little tumultuous lately? We here at Wikimotive pay very close attention to the minute fluctuations rankings can take on even a day to day timeline, and this past week has been especially puzzling. Well, it was puzzling anyway, until an announcement from Matt Cutts today shed some light on the search engine optimization roller coaster.
It turns out, Google is updating their page layout algorithm. According to Matt Cutts on Twitter, last week the layout algorithm was refreshed and it had probably made waves for a lot of people. He would not go into detail on exactly what percentage of searches were effected, but in the past, Matt Cutts said the update will mostly affect sites that have a large amount of advertisements above the fold. Sites that have a disproportionate amount of advertisements to content were probably hit the most heavily.
“If you look at the top part of your page and the very first thing you see front and center, top above the fold is ads right there, then you might want to ask yourself, ‘do I have the best user experience?’ Because we are working on an algorithm in the next iteration of that algorithm to try and catch some of that,” Cutts said in October.
Want to know if your website was hit in the update? There is a pretty easy way to tell. Look at your analytics for a period centering on February 6th. If there was a dip or a raise that is more or less starting on the 6th, then that is almost definitely the layout refresh at work.