Google Search Ranking Algorithmic Volatility On March 1st (Product Reviews Update)

Mar 1, 2023 | SEO News Feeds | 0 comments

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I am seeing a much bigger spike in chatter within the SEO community this morning around another Google search ranking algorithm update. It might be related to the ongoing Google February 2023 product reviews update or it might be something new. Right now, the tools and the chatter within the community are pretty extreme.

The February 2023 product reviews update kicked off on February 21st and we saw some volatility the days following. Then we saw a spike in volatility around February 25th and now again, we are seeing big swings on February 28th and March 1st. Again, it is unclear if the latest spikes are product reviews related, you’d think by now most of the volatility would be done with this update (but who knows).

SEO Chatter

The folks in the WebmasterWorld forums and in the comments here started to notice big swings again in the past 24-hours. Here are some quotes:

I’m down another 30% after the Feb 24th update, YIKES. The weird thing is, my website isn’t even a product review website, and absolutely no affiliate links can be found anywhere on my website.

The rankings are replaced with giant websites that have very little relevant info on the niche. RPMs are down badly in the UK, and traffic is down badly, sad times are ahead for my business.

Big drop today (-40%), conversions picked up yesterday in evening and vanished over night.The same thing – another drop, the most irrelevant traffic from all sources I have:

Google 0:33 s, 1.08 pages per session
Bing 1:02, 1.22 pages per session

The absolute assassination of my website entirely. All my pages are dropping – as those that are recently updated, as TOP10, TOP100 – everything drops…

Also substantial drop around that same time, like everyone else.For a spell this morning I was getting completely irrelevant results on Google (which I only use now to check my SERPs positions) from all over the world for some searches – I’m in London. It seems to have settled down for now.This update has somehow killed our traffic, and I’m not even in a product review niche. I don’t understand how that’s even possible. My niche is firearms, which to my knowledge does not gain product review juice at all, but here we are, keywords tanking, traffic tanking, after a long period of nice gains. Baffled.My results are still all over the place, I am 4th for 1 term now, but will go back to 1st overnight and in the morning…then back to 4th. it has been like this for nearly 2 weeks now.My websites are dancing in serp 1 day i am in 1st page next day 3rd page after 2 days 1st and then again 3rd, 4thSERP dance starts again. Welcome to the show.In the past, when I saw the SERP dancing, hope was emerging, I presumed it was a sign of that things would be better. But currently, I realized that nothing would be better, we are just losing the traffic when SERP starts to dance.Massive volatility is going on right nowYesterday traffic was strong the entire day from every region for the first time since the end of January. Let’s see how long that lasts. A few days of decent traffic with no conversions doesn’t compensate for a month of crap traffic, which is more often the case these days. I have noticed that the SERPs are being broken up by ads at top, middle and bottom now…so it’s very disorienting to search for something and suddenly get a big block of unrelated ads in the middle of the organic results. It’s basically a game of Gotcha! at this point, with Google trying to get people to mistakenly click on ads to generate more revenue. It appears that confusion might pay more as people click around mistakenly instead of avoiding the ads altogether. That’s also why the ads don’t produce conversions for the advertisers. I saw already years ago that 85% of traffic from Google hit one page and left in a few seconds

Google Tracking Tools

The tools are pretty volatile too in the past 24-hours. In fact, I have not seen Semrush this hot in a long long time.

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So there does seem to be something big going on, if it is the ongoing product reviews update or something else, I do not know at the moment.

Update: It might be product reviews related:

Remember that large health and medical site tanking with the Feb PRU? And I said we could see a tremor correcting some things? Yep, I think that’s happening now. That site is now turning around. Something didn’t seem right with the PRU… It’s not done yet. 🙂

— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) March 1, 2023

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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