At 12:39 PM on August 22nd, 2023, Google officially announced the rollout of its newest core algorithm update.
It follows the previous core update that occurred in March.
Based on past updates, it should take approximately two weeks for the update to complete, so it’s vital that SEOs keep an eye on their SERP rankings and total organic traffic during the rollout.
What’s the aim of the core update?
As with previous iterations, Google’s core updates are all about improving the quality of its algorithm to ensure users receive the most relevant, accurate, and up-to-date search results.
It’s also crucial to note that core algorithm updates DO NOT target specific websites or pages.
That means you don’t have to worry about receiving any manual penalties or getting your site de-indexed due to spam or other guideline violations.
However, that’s not to say your website won’t see any changes in terms of SERP rankings – as some websites will definitely be affected by this update.
The thing is, the effects won’t be negative for every website.
In fact, this update could be a very good thing for some high-quality, relevant websites that have been overlooked in the past.
Due to the tweaks made to Google’s search algorithm, these formerly low-ranking sites may see significant boosts to their SERP rankings.
Conversely, other websites that were on top of the SERPs may see their rankings fall.
Stay tuned to learn everything you need to know about Google’s latest core update.
Google’s Updates in 2023 So Far
So far, there have only been two core updates in 2023 – the one that just launched and the one from March.
Besides that, there have also been two review updates, one in April and a significant product reviews update in February that finished rolling out on March 7th.
Prior to 2023, the last major core update took place in September of 2022, but it was less impactful than previous core algorithm updates.
Upon Google’s announcement of the August 2023 core update, X was abuzz with comments and speculation from SEOs around the globe.
Countless website owners are eagerly anticipating the impacts of the update, with some showing confidence that it will benefit them.
Google’s official announcement took place on August 22nd, but some SEOs claim they saw evidence of the update several days prior.
These X users claim that they started to see drop-offs in traffic 5 – 7 days before Google’s official announcement, which could mean the update has been rolling out in secret for a week or two now.
Regardless, the implementation process will take at least a few weeks, and Google will update its ranking release history page once it’s officially done.
In the meantime, SEOs should keep one eye on their SERP rankings and another on their analytics until the rollout is complete.
Also, it’s entirely possible that your site may remain completely unaffected by the update, so there’s no reason to panic.
What Does it Mean if Your Site Loses Position Rankings?
Unlike other Google updates, like its recent Link Spam Update, seeing negative effects from a core update does not indicate an issue or ranking problem with your website.
As mentioned before, websites that were ranking low but were highly relevant to user queries may see a boost in their rankings – which will cause other sites to see ranking drops.
That means if a website outranks you, it probably means its content is of higher quality and more relevant.
It doesn’t mean that you were flagged for link/keyword spam or have a technical issue with your site (such as crawling errors, duplicate content, or noindex tags).
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about issues with your URL, site, or internal linking structure.
Instead, you should focus entirely on improving content relevance, quality, and authoritativeness.
Also, ensure that you embody the acronym E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) with every piece of content you create for your website.
E-A-T got an extra E in December of 2022 during the update to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, and it stands for experience.
As a result, Google’s quality raters are now trained to prefer content that demonstrates first-hand experience – such as providing evidence that you’ve actually used a product that you’re reviewing.
Google’s team of quality raters determines what’s considered a high-quality website, which goes on to influence Google’s search algorithms.
That means E-E-A-T will likely play a significant role in this most recent core update, so be sure to reflect it in your content.
Google’s Recommended Questions for Recovery
Should your website see negative impacts from the core update, Google has a series of suggested questions to ask yourself to help improve content quality.
It’s important to reiterate that there’s not anything necessarily ‘wrong’ with pages that may see dips in performance after core updates.
To help SEOs understand its process when developing core updates, they provided this ‘best-movies list’ example:
“If you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2021 and then refreshed it in 2024, it’s only natural that it will change.”
Some incredible new movies are released each year, just like outstanding new content comes out on the internet.
Google’s core updates, then, are the equivalent of refreshing a best movies list to reflect the times.
To help recover any lost SERP rankings, Google offers these questions to help you improve the quality of your content, as superb content that’s highly relevant is what their search algorithms reward:
- Does your content contain original research, insights, or analysis?
- Do you provide a comprehensive overview of the topic beyond the obvious?
- If the content draws from other sources, does it go beyond rewriting them and provide originality and additional value?
- Does the header provide a reasonable and accurate overview of the information presented in the content?
- Have you avoided using exaggerated ‘click-bait’ titles?
- Is it the type of content you’d want to share on social media?
Answering these questions will help you pinpoint quality issues with your content, which can improve SERP rankings.
Final Thoughts: Google’s August 2023 Core Update
To summarize, Google’s new core update will continue to roll out for the next few weeks and should conclude some time in early September.
It’s up in the air whether your site will be affected by the update, and the impact won’t always be a bad thing.
Should your site see a dip in SERP rankings, it’s not a sign that you’ve done anything wrong. The best course of action is to do what you can to improve the quality and relevancy of your content and then move on.
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