Around the 4th of February, there was quite a jump in ranking changes. The Mozcast read 90 degrees; there’s been a fair bit of fluctuation since. It’s the kind of movement that is usually expected from an algorithm update or introduction.
So far, it’s been shown that the affected keywords appear to be those which are typos of brand names. Google hasn’t confirmed anything yet, simply stating “we’re continuing to make tweaks”. That’s not really enough of a response for SEOs obviously, and like me you’ve probably been plugging loads of your client sites into Searchmetrics to see what’s going on.
Marcus Tober of Searchmetrics concluded that the update appears to be granular and is possibly still going, noting that the winners in this case appear to be brands since brand searches are being optimised. Tober’s article shows the significant change in ranking positions for misspelled brand names in particular, likening it to a ‘brand exchange’.
Since we are a bit in the dark at the moment in regards to whether this is actually an algorithm update or just a refresh, it’s a good idea to monitor your misspelled brand keywords and see if there’s any change. So far, it looks to be only affecting e-commerce clients.