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What’s the Deal with the July Google Search Ranking Updates?

by Steven Finkelstein
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The SEO Industry is Abuzz About the Google Maverick Update

Those who are in the SEO industry always keep an eye on the Google search ranking results, since they’re indicative of emerging trends. Between July 11th and 18th of this year, they picked up on some serious volatility. Analytics tools from various platforms confirmed the shakeup. But what did it mean?

Though various SEO publications and sites have reached out to Google, there has not yet been any official response. John Mueller of Google, usually the figurehead who speaks for the company, has been tight-lipped about what is going on.

What Do the Tools Indicate?

For those companies like Insignia SEO that drive up website rankings for their clients, any significant fluctuation is a reason to pay attention. That’s because a ranking shakeup is indicative that Google may be implementing an update, and every time that happens, SEO strategies will need to be adjusted.

Several analytics tools, including RankRanger, Algoroo, Moz, and SEMRush, all show that in the middle of July, a seismic change occurred in Google. The fact that the Google brass hasn’t come right out and said that this is a major ranking update counts for little because they haven’t denied it, either.

John Mueller stated in a video hangout on Search Engine Land, “Updates. I don’t have any update news. I saw a lot of blogging and tweeting on updates, so I don’t know what is specifically happening there. I don’t know. We will see. I haven’t chatted with Danny (Sullivan) about that. So, not quite sure. But we always do updates. I think it is more about if this is one of those core updates and which month will it be called after.”

More on this Possible Update from Data Providers

Those who are interested have done some more digging with data providers, like RankRanger. The consensus seemed to be that the fluctuation wasn’t following any patterns that were easy to identify. For instance, the rank fluctuation increases couldn’t be said to be taking place specifically in niches like food and drink, retail, finance, health, or travel. SEO companies need to keep an eye on all of these since many of their clients for which they are creating content are likely to fall into these categories.

What Can Be Made of this Latest Update?

For SEO companies, it’s probably best to stick with the conclusion put forth by RankRanger and SearchMetrics. Both entities feel that this shakeup in ranking indicates that an update did indeed take place to the Google algorithm. It was more significant than one of their routine tweaks, but perhaps falling short of one of the massive “core” updates that get an official name from Google.

Google might still release a statement at some point on this “Maverick” update, as some SEO companies have already dubbed it. For the moment, though, any SEO company should at least be cognizant of what is happening, because the website ranking for many of their clients may have changed. That’s what matters most to SEO companies, of course, and that’s the reason to monitor Google so closely.

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