There were 16 days of search results volatility during the three-week period to early April, according to new data published by SEO software company Rank Ranger.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, SERPs have been in constant flux with thousands of domains and keywords either soaring or dropping in rankings on a regular basis.
Rank Ranger used its algorithm monitoring service to determine the severity of changes to search results and the findings show an “unprecedented” period of fluctuations.
The beginning of March represented the calm before the storm as there was not a single day of volatility through to the 14th of that month.
That all changed on 15th March when the first day of volatility was followed by 15 more during the three-week period to 3rd April.
While real-world events were chaotic during mid to late March as lockdowns were enforced across Europe, experts are not entirely sure why this resulted in SERPs volatility.
SEMRush’s Olga Andrienko posited that “complete and drastic changes in search behaviour” caused Google’s algorithm to “behave differently”.
Meanwhile, Moz marketing scientist Peter Meyers attributes at least some of the fluctuations to “massive changes” on websites where companies have had to remove products or services entirely, update many that are out of stock, and sell new goods for the first time.
Meyers added that it was impossible to determine exactly what is causing the volatility as so much has changed during the last month or so.
Webmasters will be glad to know that SERPs volatility has eased slightly since early April, but there could be more bumps ahead.
Despite the challenges, two-thirds of marketers expect SEO to become more important as planning begins for a post-pandemic world.
The fact that many brands are updating strategies and campaigns could also account for the recent rankings fluctuations.