Google’s Recent Core Algorithm Update: Search Intention & Relevancy

Posted On : January 14th, 2016   By : Diptimayee Mohanty   To : Google Update

Well, we’ve seen some major flux in Google SERP last week. Search marketers expected that it was a Google Penguin update as Google had declared earlier that Penguin update would come in first half of January.

Mozcast January 2016

Algoroo January 2016

Ayima January 2016

AWR January 2016

There was something big going on throughout the last week creating huge fluctuations in different SERP tracking tools as clearly seen in above images. Even it seemed like Google was tweaking & reverting back the changes. I’ve added below one sample ranking graph for a keyword which recently got #3 ranking from #50 & dropped again to #50 in just 4 days.

Google SERP Flux Sample

From the trend we assumed that it was a core update as;

  • It’s not limited to desktop
  • It’s not limited to mobile
  • Fluctuation is independent of type of device
  • Not confined to any particular geographical area.
  • A global phenomenon

Is The Core Algorithm Update Related To Panda ?

Yesterday Google employees confirmed that it’s not a penguin update but a core algorithm update

Gary LLLyes Tweet Core Algorithm Not Panda

But yesterday Barry Schwarz confirmed that Google Panda algorithm was a part of Google’s core ranking signals, but it’s not in real time. It means Google will not reveal any information regarding its Panda algorithm update in future.

So, What Exact Change was Done To The Core Algorithm?

Though Google is not revealing anything as usual about the nature of this update, we suspect,

…….This Update Is Related To User Intention & Relevancy…………..

During our analysis, we found that many sites/pages which are not fulfilling users’ search intention in its content have affected with huge drop in ranking.

Hummingbird, remember?

In 2013 Google revealed that it has changed the whole algorithm for better results. The motto was; context not content. That means with the newly renovated algorithm Google became more efficient in understanding the context of a search rather than focusing on the key parts of the query.

This time we hope Google has done similar changes to refine the search results so that users would get better, relevant and exact information for their queries.

It is worth to mention that even really high authority sites have seen huge drop in ranking during last week. For example, for the query “cheap hotels”, a snapshot of last month SERP is here,

Top 10 Rank For Cheap Hotels

From the above, it is well clear that sites like Nytimes, Forbes, Slate have lost their top 10 positions for this particular keywords. Why this happened is not a complex logical thing. The real intention behind the query “cheap hotels” is that the user wants to find cheap hotels in his or her location. Person with that query is definitely not interested to find out in-depth articles on that. For that one may use query like “how to find cheap hotels” or “tips to find cheap hotels” etc.

Affected Sites

Above is just one example. Mainly news, media related sites have got huge drops in ranking during this update for different queries. Sites like,,,, etc got huge drops in ranking for highly competitive keywords.

NYTimes Jan 2016 Drop

Forbes Jan 2016 Drop

Slate Jan 2016 Drop

So this update gives a clear signal that how Google is more focus towards user experience. This update might be due to Google’s Artificial Intelligence Algorithm: Rank Brain or could be due to the report from quality raters’ guidelines. So authority of sites doesn’t matter to Google, the only thing it wants is to provide the best results for each & every query with highly relevant 10 blue links.

Diptimayee Mohanty
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