For the past few days I have been noticing something very strange both in my own data and within the rank tracking software that we use at Box UK. Data was fluctuating massively each time a test was run and rankings were sporadic to say the least. I had spoken to colleagues and friends within the search industry about the issue but it seemed to be a bit of an anomaly until I came across a tweet by the one and only Dr Pete:

Rankings and Data Centre Fluctuations

The latest Penguin update (2.0 or version 4) was released on and is said to impact around “2.3% of English-US queries to the degree that a regular user might notice.”. Matt Cutts also mentioned that “The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more web spam will see more impact.” which does seem to rule out this hypothesis yet I’m not totally convinced.

Whether or not this is a planned staggered roll-out or a roll-back to previous states is unknown but could offer an explanation for the major SERP fluctuations that the UK has noticed frequently changing throughout the day based on different data centres.

I suppose the main thing to take away from this is that Penguin 2.0 has only just happened and very few (if anyone) within the industry knows the whole story surrounding this update. There have been hundreds of SEO experts outlining how to recover or take advantage of this update but all I can say is: take everything you read with a pinch of salt in the next few days/weeks and test for yourself. There be dragons…

Has anyone else noticed fluctuations in their search environment? Care to share any other theories on the matter? Let me know below.