This is going to be a hard one to judge because I see chatter within the SEO community and also many of the tracking tools are lighting up. These are all signs that there was a Google search ranking algorithm update. But truth is, this can be directly related to the featured snippet deduplication change on January 22nd.
What I am saying is that the tools might not be ready to process the change and thus are showing changes to what is listed in the Google search results for the queries they track. Also, SEOs might be noticing those changes in those third-party tools and potentially also noticing changes in traffic because of the deduplication efforts.
Here is some of the chatter in WebmasterWorld:
Another update may have started from the 22nd. We’ll know soon.
SEMrush Sensor is showing increased volatility today – kind of an after shock after the earthquake (5.6/10).
Since Jan 22, we have seen a moderate drop off in traffic, but a huge drop off in conversions organically and in PPC. I can understand why an algo change would effect organics, but hard to rationalize why it would also affect PLA and conventional adwords. SEM still showing high volatility for our Food sector and SEM notes a negative trend for the food sector for what appears to be an update. A lot of our products have also moved into the featured snippets.
Seeing activity from yesterday .
Some of the tool providers need to make updates:
Right now are revising all the algorithms that involve data related to featured snippets. We will try to do it as quick as possible to reflect this change in our tools in the clearest and the most accurate way👌
— SEMrush (@semrush) January 24, 2020
Today’s high MozCast flux (88.7°) is heavily skewed by the Featured Snippet change. SERPs without FS (84%) = 81.4°. SERPs *with* FS (16%) = 127.4°.
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) January 23, 2020
So what you will see below is likely related to the Google featured snippets change and not necessarily a ranking algorithm update:
So I really doubt Google did an algorithm update, outside of the featured snippet deduplication change. But if they did, it would be hard to know…
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.