There’s been a lot of chatter as to a big new update that has hit Google’s search algorithm at the beginning of September, and we've seen quite a bit of turmoil in the rankings to prove this. The question though is, what was the update?
There has been no confirmation yet as to what Google has updated, but based on what we have seen from Google over the past couple of weeks, but we’ve got our own hypothesis - Google is amalgamating their mobile and desktop searches into one algorithm that will service all devices.
Why do we think this?
1) Static Layout Websites Dropping in Placement - When Google first made their large mobile algorithm update back in April that favoured responsive websites over static layouts, they claimed that this would not negatively affect static layout websites on desktop searches. Since the September update we have seen non-responsive websites get penalized in their rankings, averaging a drop of around 5 – 7 links. This drop has not been seen in responsive websites.
2) Google Removed the Right Hand Silo Ads – A few months ago, Google altered the traditional layout of their ad placement in the search results. They added one more link to the top tier ads, and removed the right hand silo ads. This meant that the search engine results were now showing up in a perfect column, so the display is the same on both mobile and desktop.
3)Mobile Is the Future… and Present – Since the majority of searches are made on mobile devices, it makes sense for Google to moving to a more mobile-driven model for their searches. By moving both desktop and mobile searches to the same algorithm, Google is able to simultaneously cut their overall resources while still providing relevant search results to their visitors.
We’re still waiting on confirmation from Google on what exactly changed, this is just our best guess based on what we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks.