Google explains which types of ranking fluctuations you should pay attention to
Google Search Console is a valuable tool for any SEO professional. It offers a wealth of valuable data and insights that you can use to learn more about your website, your website’s performance on the search engine results pages, and any potential issues that may indicate technical problems on your site.
However, you may also notice that Google Search Console graphs can fluctuate quite often — even when you have not made any big changes to your website.
Now, the question is: should you pay attention to these fluctuations? Or should you discard them as normal variations?
Taking a decision on whether to redirect resources to any changes seen in Google Search Console graphs or to ignore it can be a tough decision for most local businesses — who do not always have a huge amount of resources. And moving resources from one project to another can cause operational hiccups.
Recently, Google’s John Mueller shed some light on what you should do.
But first, let’s understand why you may see fluctuations in the first place.
Incredibly complex and interconnected systems
According to Google’s John Mueller:
“Google Search includes many incredibly complex and interconnected systems. Even small changes on one side can have a surprisingly visible effect. These changes tend to even themselves out overall. But when looking at the individual parts, they can still be noticeable.
For example, if crawling from one data centre is minutely faster than usual, then that could cause changes to the content we have available for indexing. And, in turn, the content shown in search results.”
So you can see that not every fluctuation is caused by changes that you directly or indirectly make to your site. Sometimes, you see fluctuations that are caused by Google’s own complex system.
In addition, John also confirmed that a sudden spike of additional traffic from other sources might influence Google and, therefore, these graphs.
“Perhaps you write an insightful social media post that suddenly becomes important, and our system is focused on that a bit more. Either way, any of this could cause fluctuations in the charts.”
Ignore the little changes
John Mueller’s advice?
“Don’t worry about the little changes. These are normal for any website. Things go up a bit, things go down a bit. That’s all fine.”
That SOP will also help you stay focused on your regular everyday tasks instead of panicking and redirecting your resources to investigations and actions every time there is a small drop in the total number of indexed pages or search traffic.
Follow bigger spikes and trends
While John recommends ignoring the little changes, he suggests that you look out for trends and patterns.
“Look out for trends,” says John Mueller. “Has the graph been continuously headed in one direction over a few weeks? Then that’s often a sign of broader changes overall.
John further added, “Watch out for big spikes. When the graphs change significantly over a short period, that could be a sign of a serious change. It might be a good change, but I’d recommend you double check.”
For local businesses with limited online marketing resources, it can be tough to investigate every small drop or fluctuation in search traffic. The good news is that you don’t have to.
Instead of obsessing over small fluctuations — which are normal — focus on the trends and bigger spikes as that could explain what problems local business website may be facing and what you should do to fix them.