Google Updates Becoming More Frequent & Links Are Counting Sooner Rather Than Later?

After all the shouting last year about the state of the SERP’s it seems, as predicted, Google have started this year with a bang, updates and fluctuations in the SERP’s are becoming much more frequent and maintaining top rankings for any sustained period is becoming more difficult.

I personally track around 25 competitive terms and the top 20 sites that rank for them, when I couple this with the data we hold at Branded3 it shows quite clearly how often Google are making changes to these terms.

Rank Fluctuations

If you look closely it is almost a weekly occurrence, apart from the odd website that controls position 1, those that rank in positions 2 – 10 are switching around weekly.

Now Google could be simply cleaning up a lot of the profiles they failed to take care of at the end of last year, however my feelings are that Google is finding an counting links a lot quicker than it ever has, that combined with caffeine is causing these massive fluctuations.

My only reservation is that we saw these kind of fluctuations last summer, Google was making a massive update and when it was finished the SERP’s became a little more stable. If this kind of ‘Google Craziness’ is here to stay it can only be good thing for SEO’s and clients as seeing the benefit of links should come around a lot quicker.

Faster Results?

If you speak to SEO’s in general they will tell you that you need to wait 3 months to fully appreciate the effects of link building and solid on page recommendations. Recently I have been noticing changes coming about a lot quicker, Google reacting to fresh links in a matter of weeks, not months.

Now I am not going to be bold enough to say anyone paying for SEO should see results in 2 weeks, because I don’t believe that, however once link building has commenced, generally speaking you should be seeing results a lot quicker. Of course if you already rank in the 10 gaining the top position is still going to be a drawn out process, this is simply down to the amount of competition on the first page of Google, however generally speaking, every link you build should make it’s mark a lot faster than it would have done 12 months ago.


is the CEO of Branded3 a Search Marketing Agency in the UK. Tim has over a decade of experience in Search and regularly speaks at key events and conferences.

7 thoughts on “Google Updates Becoming More Frequent & Links Are Counting Sooner Rather Than Later?

  1. I’ve noticed linkbuilding have an effect in a couple of weeks, certainly towards the end of last year on relatively uncompetitive search terms. It would be nice if SEO worked a bit quicker overall though, it’s nice to go back to your clients with positive results!

  2. Hi Kerry,

    Yes around the beginning of December we started a few trial and in some cases we were building links on a Friday and walking into higher rankings on a Monday morning, interestingly enough getting lot’s tweeted links seems to have the same effect 😉

  3. Hi Paul,

    Yes these are all very high value terms with competitors targeting them heavily on a daily basis. As you say longer tail keywords seem to have a lot less movement but this will be down to the fact that not many people are trying to rank for them.

  4. I suppose it depends a little bit on the nature of the business. If you take for instance the keywords “SEO” then I imagine that the rankings will swap frequently.

    However if it is a business that has a smaller market (i.e. less competing sites) and people make fewer changes then the rankings change less frequently

  5. Pretty timely post for me. I’ve been noticing exactly what you’re saying. I’ve moved up rapidly, a lot faster than I ever would have prior to 2011. BUT, like you said, it’s a long drawn out process to get from position 8, to position 1,2, or 3. AHH! I actually do think that some of the links I’ve built, and the on-site optimization has not quite “registered” yet. If it did, there’s no doubt that I’d be ranking extremely well.

    The other factor is, it’s a domain that isn’t even 3 months old yet. Is that sandbox theory a reality here? And could that be preventing my first place takeover? Possible.

  6. It’s very erratic at the moment, especially with Panda updates kicking off all over the place. There is a huge difference between 8th and the top 3 both in terms of traffic and the effort needed to get there, I’d suggest ditching the techniques you have been using for the first 3 months and try some different ones, you can always return to them later.

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