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Large Google Search Ranking Volatility; Is It The Tail End Of The Product Reviews Update?



Large Google Search Ranking Volatility; Is It The Tail End Of The Product Reviews Update?

As of yesterday afternoon and certainly today, I am seeing signs of some really large Google search ranking volatility and ranking changes. The question is, are these fluctuations from the tail-end of the March 2022 product reviews update or is this some sort of new update?

I am seeing significant and some off the charts volatility and fluctuations being reported by the tracking tools. Some are literally as high as they can go. I am also seeing a spike in chatter from within the SEO communities and forums.

Google Product Reviews Update Related?

As a reminder, the March 2022 product reviews update kicked off on March 23rd, it was quiet for some time, we saw small tremors that day but it really spiked on March 31st. Then it went quiet again and I thought it was pretty much done. I even posted my big Google update data review on Search Engine Land. Because by two weeks out, normally with these updates, we don’t see too much change this late in the game.

So is this related to the product reviews update? Possibly. I did ask Alan Kent from Google for an update last night, but he did not reply. Instead, Lily Ray published a chart of her own, showing for one site she is tracking, that it looks like we are still seeing big changes, as recent as yesterday:

I asked Glenn Gabe to share some charts this morning as well and yea, similar:

SEO Chatter

So what kind of chatter am I seeing within the SEO community. I can share the public WebmasterWorld forums, where the chatter normally precedes the tracking tools and here is some of that chatter:

Traffic improved over the weekend, but UK traffic was way off on Sunday. Today traffic started normally but simply fell off a cliff at 11am sharp and has been very low all day. My home page is -54% today. USA -14%, Canada – 49%, Australia -63%. Referral traffic and social media traffic has been down for almost two weeks as well.

Google has started bloating my websites. The traffic spiked very high for the last few days, but I am not celebrating because I have seen it in 2020. The same pattern. High rise of traffic followed by complete crash about a month later for at least a year. And it also happened in April 2020. Anyone seeing something similar.

Anyone else getting weird numbers in GA realtime today? (Metric total looks right, but ‘right now’ is lower than it should be)

Same here, the realtime stats of active users is def not working correctly at the moment.
Started this morning around 07:00 AM (CEST).

So the chatter seems to just be kicking off now, but it is hard to know when Google Analytics may have had some delays?

Tracking Tools

If you look at the tracking tools, some are literally off the charts. Some are showing massive spikes in volatility and Google ranking fluctuations. Here are screenshots and I may update some of these throughout the day, as some tend to update later in the day.


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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Cognitive SEO:


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So what do you all think? It seems to me like it might be the tail-end of this Google product reviews update based on Google not yet telling us this update is complete, based on Lily Ray’s chart and based on all the recent volatility. But you tell me, look at your analytics and tools and let me know in the comments.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Marguarite Humphrey’s Career & Challenges Of Working With Large Franchises In Search Marketing



Marguarite Humphrey

Marguarite (Maggie) Humphrey worked at Cypress North as an intern back in 2019, then went to DAC for a few years, and then back to Cypress North after I interviewed her. Maggie was born in Rochester and met Greg Finn at an RV and Marine industry and Greg offered her an internship. Maggie credited Greg and Cypress a lot for her career, which is always nice to hear.

Maggie started her job at DAC literally a week before DAC closed the office due to COVID. She went fully remote for a full year and then returned to the office and it felt interesting but she is fully back in the office.

At DAC she started as an Account Executive and then became an Associate and has taken on a lot of responsibility for one of their biggest clients. DAC is based out of Toronto but has offices all over, even internationally.

Maggie does both SEO and PPC, so a nice mix of search marketing for this one brand. They manage thousands of locations for that brand, and these smaller franchises have to work harder to develop their own brands and she loves this type of work. Each franchise is owned by a different business and they are somewhat complete. A lot of it is targeting local-specific keywords for the different franchises. We spoke about some of the complications around this type of work.

You can follow Maggie Humphrey on LinkedIn and connect there.

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.


Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Rosh Hashanah.


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