Google algorithm update December 2021

The first Google Algorithm Update for December 2021 looks to be rolling out on 1st December.

Following confirmation from Google that the November 2021 Broad Core Update has just finished rolling out, there look to be broad fluctuations and tremors in the search engine results pages across all industries just one day later.

Update 6th December 2021

Since publishing this article on the 1st of December, the SERP change measurement tools have been off the charts for the past four days. Using the Semrush Sensor measurement tools across all categories we saw huge movements across almost every industry – even ones such as Travel and Real Estate industry which (generally speaking) are more stable than other industries.

semrush sensor movement 2nd to 6th December 2021

As an SEO Agency, we have noticed huge shifts for a number of our clients. Whilst it is still early days, we have noticed a few trends emerge over the past 10-days.

  • Websites with exact match domain names (EMDs) are performing very well again. We noticed EMD websites move down through the June and July algorithm updates. From what we are seeing at the moment, it appears that Google is once again rewarding EMDs with higher SERP positions.
  • Websites with high-volume, low quality link strategies that were punished with the link spam update in July seem to be regaining ground. We have followed a number of websites (particularly in the SEO industry) that are pushing high-quality links through web 2.0s, PBNs, and forum commenting links. From what we can see, a number of them are now performing extremely well again.
  • Websites that were previously not in the top 20 results are now appearing in the top 5 results. There have been significant shifts to the algorithm that are pushing sites (seemingly out of nowhere) to the first page of Google for highly competitive search terms.
  • Local SEO results have been extremely volatile in key services and trade industries. Large service websites such as Hi Pages, Clutch, and Airtasker are performing very well for local services.

Original Article Continues Below

Following on from the ‘mild’ broad core update in November 2021, the fluctuations we are witnessing on 1st December 2021 look to be more significant than every other day over the last fortnight.

Which Industries Have Been Most Affected?

According to the SERP data accumulated by Semrush, the impact was felt across almost every industry with an ‘All Categories’ average of 7.3/10. Every industry (except for Real Estate and Travel) experienced fluctuations that are classed as ‘High Range’ by the Semrush sensor reporting tool.

Here is what we are seeing across every industry:

  • Arts & Entertainment – 9.2
  • Autos & Vehicles – 5.6
  • Beauty & Fitness – 7.1
  • Books & Literature – 5.4
  • Business & Industrial – 8.1
  • Computers & Electronics – 8.9
  • Finance – 7.1
  • Food & Drink – 7
  • Games – 8.8
  • Health – 5.6
  • Hobbies & Leisure – 6.9
  • Home & Garden – 6.6
  • Internet & Telecom – 8.7
  • Jobs & Education – 6.2
  • Law & Government – 6
  • News – 9.3
  • Online Communities – 8.8
  • People & Society – 7.1
  • Pets & Animals – 6.6
  • Real Estate – 4.7
  • Reference – 6.0
  • Science – 8.0
  • Shopping – 8.5
  • Sports – 9.4
  • Travel – 4.9

‘Sports’ and ‘News’ were both extremely volatile on the 1st December 2021.

all industries serp movements
news SERP movements december algorithm update
sports SERP movements December 2021

* Data and Images Courtesy of SEMRUSH

What Does The December Algorithm Update Mean?

It is still very early days for the Google Algorithm Update December 2021. We usually observe several days of high volatility, followed by a quieter period where results will consolidate.

Based on previous Broad Core Updates in June and July 2021, we believe that we may see a slight ‘reversal’ of the broad core update over the coming weeks. It is not unusual for Google to roll out sweeping SERP updates, only to retract many of those updates to a ‘pre-update state in a few weeks. The weeks that follow a broad core update are often a testing period where Google will closely monitor (and change) SERPs based on user signals.

We suspect that we may see some algorithm update reversals over the next few weeks as SERPs return to a more normal state. It is difficult to make an accurate prediction; however, using past data as an indicator, we would suggest that there will be large rankings fluctuations over the next fortnight.

What Now?

Google have been known to make ‘algorithm reversals’ in the weeks that follow a broad core update. What we are witnessing with the 1st December update may be the beginning of some ranking reversals.

If your website was negatively impacted by the November 2021 Broad Core Update, we suggest that you do not make any major website changes over the next fortnight.

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