This Is What You Should Know About The Changes In The Search Results

Search Results

In a recent Webmaster Hangout session, John Mueller from Google provided an explanation regarding what SEO professionals and site owners can do to get their websites, that lost rankings, back on track. He clarified that it’s not really possible to offer a piece of particular advice for this without him checking the actual website. Luckily, Mueller was kind enough to give some tips for this.

Question Regarding Significant SERP Changes

One person during that Hangout stated that changes took place in the SERPs and he would like to know what he can do to get his website ranking again.

There seems to be a very significant change that took place on January 14th. My traffic and revenue have been negatively affected despite no penalty or notification of any problems.

While I’m used to ebb and flow of traffic and revenue… are you able to give any advice on specific things to focus on to get back on track?”

Update Last January 14, 2020?

With regards to the talked-about special update that presumably happened last 14th of January, Mueller clarified that he doesn’t know about this. Instead, he just provided a caveat.

So first of all I’m not aware of anything specific that happened on January the 14th. So I don’t really know exactly what you’re pointing at there.

I also don’t know your site so it’s really hard to say what might be involved there.

Feedback on the Significant Changes in SERPs

Mueller stated that there could be various reasons for the significant changes in the search traffic. However, he made it clear that not all of these are related to any update. With that, Mueller is trying to hold back the publisher, encouraging him to look at the big picture on the reasons why the search engine patterns can vary significantly.

It’s The Searchers’ Website, Not Yours

Mueller’s reply:

In general I think there are a few things to keep in mind. On the one hand there are lots of sites in the search results so it’s never the case that everyone is demoted and like no longer visible in search because there are always sites that come up as well. It’s not that we don’t show anything in search.

So these kinds of changes are generally pretty normal and they can come and go and that can be due to changes in our algorithms, they can be due to changes in the way that people search.

So if a topic suddenly is no longer as interesting then maybe you’ll start to have less traffic for those kinds of queries just because it’s something that people don’t search for anymore.

It Is Your Website

Another reason provided by Mueller is that a website losing its traffic can either be caused by changes in site quality (often relates to changes made by site owners), or changes on the side of Google (wherein Google changed the way they determine quality).

Mueller’s answer:

It can also be due to changes in quality on the website or the perceived quality of a website based on our algorithms.

But all of these things are really kind of hard to guess at without knowing your website.


Changes in the SERPs

The SERPs are in a state of change. This may happen for two reasons: one, a competitor is getting more active online, and two, there are new competitors surfacing. That’s why you should not expect that the SERPs will not change in any way.

Change in Searchers

Indeed, the search traffic changes once the search habits changes as well.

In the offline community, for unidentified reasons, a lot of stores don't have soy milk, but they are stocked with various brands of oat milk. It is entirely possible that “traffic” to the supermarket for “soy milk” is declining, causing them to stop carrying it.

In a 12-month Google Trends graph showing the popularity of soy milk v oat milk, you can see an explosion of search activity for oat milk, double the soy milk’s search trends.


The supermarket provided more oat milk in order to cater to consumer demand.

In the same way, it is recommended to try to keep track of customer usage of keyphrases. One reason could be a change in consumer popularity. So if there’s a change in tastes, then it’s time for you to be on the same path of the users’ interests. Indeed, this can lead to a negative change in search traffic.

Changes In Websites

Occasionally, a significant change on websites may lead to Google to understand it less. In a hypothetical instance, once a business card website starts to publish content related to marketing, Google might also start to view the website as less authoritative when it comes to business cards.

Changes In Google

At times, Google changes the way it interprets web content and search queries. This is one thing that is continuously changing over the past couple of years (BERT, Rank Brain, and many others).

So to find out why the winners are winning and why other’s don’t, make sure to check the search results. Also, don’t seize on the obvious reasons as those could just be red herrings.

What We Know About The Possible Search Ranking Algorithm Update

Another possible (still unconfirmed) Google search ranking algorithm update has been happening this week. Such update may have begun last March 16th (Monday) and is still ongoing.

Here’s this week’s chatter at the WebmasterWorld about it.

I do see some recovery after huge thursday/friday drop, but i was still down about 10-15% yesterday VS same day 2 weeks ago (because last sunday was short due to summer time, so no point comparing to it)

A couple of hours further on and my UK sites are still at 10% and 0%

Today is a disaster. Traffic is down to what it usually is between Christmas and New Years (the slowest time of year).”

We've seen a small increase in rank, but a massive drop in traffic... Thinking it must be corona related

I don't know whether mine is Covid-19 related, but now 36% increase and going up. Getting all my traffic I lost since March 2019.

This SEO UK blog came from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-reasons-for-serps-changes/355854/  and https://www.searchenginejournal.com/being-different-helps-rankings/361362/. Want to know more? Check out these links.

Boosting the rankings and improving the overall quality of your business website is not that easy. Luckily, there are highly experienced SEO experts out there who can happily work on that for you. Find out how we can help by going to the Position1SEO homepage today.

Author: Jason Ferry
Jason Ferry is an SEO specialist based in the United Kingdom. Taking pride in his many years of experience in the search engine optimisation industry, he has honed his skills in various digital marketing processes. From keyword marketing, website auditing, and link building campaigns, to social media monitoring, he is well-versed in all of them. Jason Ferry’s excellent skills in SEO, combined with his vast experience, makes him one of the best professionals to work with in the industry today. Not only does he guarantee outstanding output for everyone he works with, but also values a deep relationship with them as well.

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