Alterations in Google: When Rankings go Crazy

Sometimes your SEO rankings plummet as it happened in August 2018. Do you know why these alterations occur in Google? 

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Sometimes your SEO rankings plummet as it happened in August 2018. Do you know why these alterations occur in Google?

Since the beginning of August there has been a huge upheaval in the SEO world. Pages that had good rankings, from one day to another plummet, while others rise in the same proportion, what is happening?

Alterations in the SERPs

The first thing that must be made clear is that this is nothing new. Google and the rest of the search engines spend their lives touching their algorithm to try to adjust the relevance of their results to the maximum.

The result of these adjustments is that SERPs (also known as result sheets) become volatile and unstable as they are coupled.

We can not forget the fact that Google is a private company and that its business is searches (actually the advertising that appears in them), they do not have to give us any explanation and they have total freedom to change the rules of the game.

Upset? Can it be a serious problem even for the viability of a company? Obviously, and their praxis is not the best, but do not forget that we as websites are not your client, if you hurry us we are closer to being your product because we will always have to pay.
Why do they change their algorithm so much?
You already know that we also refer to SEO as organic positioning, right? If we look at the definition of organic or natural. For algorithmic changes what they seek is to preserve that naturalness.

When we do SEO, in the eyes of Google, what we are looking for is to alter the organic order of the results and they do not like anything in Mountain View.

If you know a little about the subject, you will know that Google has been bringing to light some filters with the intention of penalizing those users who try to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the software. They are the ones that had the most impact:

  • Panda: emerged as a filter that pursued duplicate and low quality content. In this way the pages that created different URLs with almost identical content just to position fell into their rankings.
  • Penguin: as Google uses the external links that a page receives as signs of authority, they decided to put some order and penalize those pages that were forcing the obtaining of these links.
  • Fred: another update that pursued the poor quality content and the generated texts automatically. This update is quite similar to Panda but puts the focus on quality.

Over time, filters such as the Panda and the Penguin end up being integrated into the core of the algorithm and act more efficiently and stop seeing peaks like when an update is released.

In addition to these recognized by Google, there are others that do not say much but have an effect. This is the case, for example, of the so-called Phantom Updates, of which no explanation was given.

Sometimes there is also the case of updates that are aimed at niches and specific areas of activity in which there is a high SPAM index. A case of this is called Payday Loan (eye that is already in its version 3.0) and affects pages that try to position with black hat techniques words related to the game, certain drugs such as Viagra or sites of pornographic content.

Who is affected by the August, 2018 update?

Not to lose the habit we can say that Google has been quite opaque and, when asked, stick to good practices.

For what the SEO community has been able to infer contrasting different projects, it seems that the “graceful” have been basically some sectors such as health and finance.

During this research phase, two acronyms that are precisely in the guidelines of Google have sounded:

  • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life): those pages that can affect the health or happiness of the user (topics related to “your money or your life”). Here we include on the one hand financial services, loans, investments … and on the other, the health side.
  • EAT (Epertise Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness): Pages that have a great authority when generating content on any topic, but especially in the cases of YMYL pages.

The conjunction of both aspects means that the pages included in the YMYL categories that do not have a good EAT have suffered large falls. It sounds a bit like tongue twister but it is understood.

How can I stay up to date with these changes?

If your business has a high dependence on SEO you will find out as soon as they are released. Before it is impossible because they do not warn.

In general, when you monitor your rankings, you notice abrupt changes in the results. This does not always happen for an update, it may have just entered a very strong competitor in your niche. A good way to have at least a first idea is to consult Mozcast, a very simple Moz tool that, as if it were the weather forecast, shows you the records of the last 30 days.


It is not that the information is very extensive, but it helps you to detect if the trend is global or is another factor that only affects you.

Another good indicator is the visibility index of the Sistrix tool. In this case we talk about a payment software but that usually publishes any significant change both in their social networks and in their blog. If you have access to the control panel you can measure yourself and your competitors to know who are the winners and the losers.

And the basic recommendation: enter Twitter which is where most SEO move and where more information flows (although sometimes a little confused).

How are your rankings? Have you noticed any fall at the beginning of the month?