Google Search Ranking Update Sparks Volatility on May 9th


The SEO community noticed significant volatility in Google search rankings on May 9th, suggesting a possible unannounced algorithm update. Early chatter among industry experts and monitoring tools like Semrush and Mozcast indicated a spike in fluctuations that morning.These unexpected changes follow a series of ranking shifts that began in March with a core algorithm update lasting 45 days.

In response to questions about the volatility, Google's Search Liaison Danny Sullivan reiterated that the company makes continuous, smaller updates to its search algorithms and components. He explained that Google conducts nearly 5,000 updates annually, and providing notifications for each one would overwhelm creators. He also emphasized that the search landscape is fluid, as algorithms constantly process new information and web changes.

This is covered on our long-standing page about core updates.

"We're constantly making updates to our search algorithms, including smaller core updates. We don't announce all of these because they're generally not widely noticeable. Still, when released, they can cause content to recover if improvements warrant."

We have a lot of different core and other ranking systems. They're regularly being updated. They're also processing new information, because the web itself is constantly changing.

Because already launched and existing systems aren't themselves being updated in how they operate, but the information they're processing isn't static but instead is constantly changing.

This type of constant "hey, we did an update" notification stuff probably isn't really that useful to creators. There's nothing to "do" with those types of updates. That's why we focus on the ones where there's either something to consider or we just think they might be broadly noticeable. This past blog post explains more about that.

"We don't announce all of these [updates] because they're generally not widely noticeable," Sullivan stated. He further explained that Google only highlights updates that are broadly impactful or need further consideration. Minor changes are unlikely to be announced since their effects are subtle and often aimed at gradual improvements.

Ultimately, these updates underscore the importance of a long-term SEO strategy focused on high-quality content, rather than attempting to respond to every ranking shift.