Sayu Labs

Changes in Google UK SERPS February 2011

We have seen various reports around the web of a change in Google results in the UK last month (February 2011).

Having started a study on a subset of the total keywords we are tracking we found that around half of the ones we analysed, about 1,500 keywords, saw a big increase in the number of results returned on the 10th of February.

Across all terms analysed, the average number of results returned by Google during the last couple of weeks before 10th February was 25.5 million (there was some variation from day to day but the daily average was always within 1.6 million of the overall average).

This increased to nearly 34 million on the 10th February, a statistically significant increase.

Whilst not all keywords seem to have been affected, in many cases the number of results has doubled.

This change seems to coincide with some discussions on Google updates around that time, as mentioned on

One comment on webmasterworld, is about a significant increase in some types for pages:

"I'm seeing lots of changes in the UK Serps, bit of shuffling around in the top 100, but most significantly there are huge changes lower down the serps;

Significant increase in

  1. unrelated sites with one mention of the keywords
  2. totally unrelated sites with no mention of keywords
  3. poor quality articles
  4. poor quality blogs
  5. google books
  6. old pages from BBC
  7. more foreign sites, fr.wikipedia? "

This would coincide with the increase in the number of results we have recorded.

There has been a lot of chatter about the latest Google (Panda/Farmer) updates to prevent content spamming.  However, with any updates to eliminate spammers from the rankings, you would expect to see a drop in the number of results.

We have seen some drops in the number of results in January ( and hence updates in January may have been related to this, but on 10th February we have mainly seen increases in the number of results.

Since that sudden increase on the 10th, the number of results has come back down to around 30 million in the last week. Maybe Google is starting to filter out the irrelevant results that crept in on 10th February, but the number of results is still much bigger than previously recorded.



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