An unconfirmed Google algorithm update for March 2022 has caused widespread ranking changes in Google search results across various industries. We are seeing a high number of SERP fluctuations across almost every industry on March 1, 2022, which suggests that Google may be rolling out the first major update for 2022. After a relatively quiet six weeks since an unconfirmed Google update on January 17, 2022, we are now seeing a lot of chatter on Twitter, with users reporting ranking disruptions and significant changes to site traffic in the last 24 hours. The most recent SERP change tools, Semrush Sensor and Mozcast, currently need to reflect the level of online chatter or the number of fluctuations we are seeing among our own Safari Digital clients.
Update, March 24, 2022: Google has released the March 2022 Product Reviews Algorithm Update. It is not a Core Update, and there is no additional information to suggest the next major update.
When did the fluctuation begin?
The above SERP tracking charts show that there has been a high level of SERP volatility for a little over a week. The most recent Google update on potential updates is the Google Page Experience Update for Desktop, which began rolling out on February 22. According to the above charts, a higher level of volatility began around that time.
Google Page Experience Improvements – Desktop
Following the completion of the page experience update for mobile on September 3, 2021, Google announced on February 22, 2022, that the page experience update is now rolling out to desktop search results and will be completed by the end of March 2022. The page experience update assesses Core Web Vitals (LCP, FID, and CLS), mobile friendliness, HTTPS, the absence of intrusive interstitials, and a slew of other on-page metrics.
Given that this update will be rolled out over the next 4-5 weeks, the SERP fluctuations may be related to the update. However, given how mild (and gradual) the Google Page Experience Update was when it began to roll out last June, we suspect something else is at work.
When will the next Google core update be released?
Every day, Google makes one or more changes to improve the quality of search results. The majority of these changes are subtle. However, over the last 18 months, the number of noticeable updates across a wide range of industries has undoubtedly increased. SERP results have historically been much less volatile than in the last 18 months.
Based on what we’re seeing in the tools and the online chatter, this appears to be something other than a core update. It is the first rumbling of a major update released between March 9 and 27, 2022. Of course, this is a guess; Google will release a core update once it has enough data and information to implement changes that will improve the SERP experience for users.