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  • Writer's pictureDan Lauer

Volatility On The SERPs As SEOs End 2023 And Start 2024

We are now in the home-stretch of 2023. The 2023 New Year's Eve Ball is being polished and raised, plans are being made - and we can see 2024 approaching fast.

As SEOs get ready to go on Christmas break and vacation 2023:

  1. SERP Volatility is off the charts - no confirmed updates - yet.

  2. SPAM Content flooding the SERPs

  3. SGE Experiment from Google - no end date now?

  4. Google Indexing Issues and Delays

SERP Volatility:

As we close out 2023 - the SERP Volatility remains volatile and consistently at high levels - pretty much since the end of the November 2023 Reviews and November 2023 Core Algorithm Updates from Google. We know the Core Update in November - the third in 3 months - was the longest and most impactful.

What is really interesting is that the last confirmed reviews update - volatility has been off the charts for most of December.

Will there be another update from Google confirmed over the holidays? I would be surprised at this point - as Google doesn't like to do anything major while staffing is light due to the holidays.

SPAM Content:

Lily Ray has been all over reporting this on LinkedIn, and and has covered it as well.

For major search queries - it seems SPAM sites, and websites that have malicious malware are flooding the SERP and ranking pretty high-sometimes.

Is this a result of the October 2023 Spam Update Google Rolled out, the Core Update, something else? Google does know about it - confirmed - and is looking into it.

Do a search for the query on Google "covid booster CVS" and start scrolling. It seems better today - but I still seem so spammy sites in the top 15 results.

First - this is why I will respectively disagree with Google rolling out so many updates, overlapping so close-together. Second, I now would not be surprised that we have some sort of rollback update confirmed "soon" that addresses this. Third - this could be the reason we are seeing high SERP Fluctuations.

SGE Labs Experiment:

Google launched their SGE Experiment over 6 months ago - in May 2023. Originally posted the labs experiment listed an end date of December 2023. Well, one - the labs experiment is still going on, and two - this will not be going away anytime soon.

I don't foresee Google ending the SGE Labs experiment and opening this up live to all on the SERPs. Maybe by end of 2024 - but I think they are still playing catch up and trying how to best roll this out and how to properly monetize SGE - but also they need to improve their AI model - as Microsft Bing and ChatGPT 4.0 is still far ahead Google on this --- but remember Google's search market share is still NOT impacted ---- yet.

We knew Google was going to slow-walk this rollout and be deliberate with the rollout of SGE live - they told us so directly.

Google Indexing Issues/Delays:

Finally, it seems Google's indexing report is finally caught up. It seemed like it was stuck on December 11th up until yesterday morning and now shows data up to December 18th. This was after last week they reported API issues.

Then it seems across the SEO Industry lots of publishers were reporting indexing issues - new content - not indexing by Google, specifically in India. Google Reported this, even on their dashboard, and it was resolved by the end of the year.

Taking these 4 items together - I think they might be somehow intertwined - even go as far to say that they could be influencing each other?

I suspect any news, rollouts will be quite in the next 10 to 20 days - but I suspect that first full week back for everyone in 2024 is going to be fast-paced and a roll-coaster!

Happy 2024 from the SEO Content Goblins! Don't let the SERP Volatility scare you over the holidays!

2024 is going to be a wild ride SEOs - buckle-up!

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