December 3, 2021

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Google search results are more volatile this year than last year, says data provider

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According to new data from Semrush, the volatility in the Google search results in 2021 has been much more intense and frequent than the previous year. Mordy Oberstein published snippets of data from Semrush on Twitter the other day showcasing this.

Desktop results 68% more volatile. The data says that on desktop Google search results from January 2021 through October 2021, there is a 68% increase in the number of days showing high volatility according to Semrush. High volatility is a score of 5 out of 10 through 8 out of 10 on the Semrush Sensor tool. This chart below shows 2020 compared to 2021:

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Mobile results 84% more volatile. The data says that on mobile Google search results from January 2021 through October 2021, there is a 84% increase in the number of days showing high volatility in the mobile Google search results, according to Semrush. This chart below shows 2020 compared to 2021:

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Very high volatility. What about “very high” volatility, which is higher than 8 out of 10 on the Semrush Sensor tool. Well, according to the Semrush data, over 50% of the days in 2021 thus far showing above normal levels of volatility on desktop.

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And on mobile search, it is just over 57%.

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Breaking down by intensity of volatility. Mordy Oberstein from Semrush also broke down the data by levels of intensity. Here are those charts, first broken down for desktop, then followed by mobile.

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I’m not crazy. Mordy’s conclusion is that I am not crazy, and what I mentioned in the newsletter last week about the insane levels of unconfirmed Google algorithm updates are indeed what the data shows for 2021.

Check out the full stream of data and insights starting from this tweet.

Why we care. While it is probably not healthy, nor helpful, to obsess over all the confirmed and unconfirmed Google search ranking fluctuations, it is useful to know when these happen. It is useful because it may give you something to work off of. It may help you mentally know, it is not just you going through this, but hundreds or thousands of other websites are being impacted by these updates. Plus, knowing when an algorithm update impacted your site versus maybe something seasonal or a technical mistake you made, that is useful. This is something Google actually drew and illustrated for us, earlier this year.


About The Author

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Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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