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Googlequake continues across all SERP sectors - is this a new normal in the world of AI search?

Red lines of volatility get even redder in almost every search category monitored by SEO and campaign data specialists Semrush.

by Rob Corbidge
Published: 12:20, 18 July 2023

Rob Corbidge is Head of Content Intelligence at Glide Publishing Platform, applying the latest knowledge about advances and ideas in the publishing industry to our own product and helping clients get the most from their content.

Earthquake by Stable Diffusion

Website search volatility across almost every sector of site categorisation has continued into another week, with the same trend seen across all the territories monitored by tracking experts Semrush.

The volatility levels of Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) according to Semrush Sensor is ranking in every sector above 9 on a 10-point scale, in areas as diverse as Shopping, Books & Literature, and Science. News is just as badly hurt and publishers worldwide have seen traffic reductions for at least a couple of weeks now.

The general level of turbulence has earned itself the status of 'Googlequake' from Semrush; Mobile and Desktop are similarly affected.

For site owners, it adds massive question marks over traffic figure changes, and makes tracking and understanding the whys of a traffic change far harder to calculate. That is notwithstanding of course actual traffic drops sites have been faced with as whole sectors get swept over by a change in search results: last week it became clear that News publisher sites with original content were being hammered while - ironically - syndication sites with the same content saw traffic rises.

In the void of concrete information, speculation has centred around whether machine learning systems could be a part of the puzzle, with such systems now being given greater latitude within Google search.

This also raises the possibility that such volatility is now the new normal.

Other SEO specialists have questioned the utility of such volatility data, given it has become such a common occurrence. One straw poll asked if such tracking tools were actually useful, drawing a majority of respondents to reply "Don't care" as to their use.

As ever, we don't anticipate any kind of detailed explanation from Google itself, other than the usual "read the documentation and do what it says". 

However, there is also the possibility that a core algorithm update could be announced. However, when you're running a business that partly relies on them, it's pretty tiresome to deal with Google's gnomic responses.

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