The success of a business nowadays depends a lot on the website.
It’s a key component of lead generation, able to turn mild interest into concrete business. And how a website is viewed by internet users depends a lot on where it lies within the Google search engine rankings. For example, a page near the top of a search will be clicked on far more than a website that appears on page 2.
To provide relevant results to a user, Google makes use of a complex algorithm that crawls through websites to determine its ranking.
Google’s primary focus is on users, so to make sure they are getting the most relevant results, search algorithm changes are made all the time. Mostly these come in the form of small adjustments that barely impact websites, but occasionally, a major update is enacted on the algorithm – also known as a Google Core Update.
The Google Core Update 2023 first occurred in March, with the latest update happening at the end of August. For any business, it’s important to know about this update and the impact it could have on your website ranking and SEO strategies. Let’s take a closer look.
Introduction to Google 2023 Core Update
The update began on 22nd August and lasted for two weeks. Core updates do not look at specific pages, it’s about improving how Google examines and indexes content. Basically, what this means is that this shift in focus means that previous well-performing sites may drop whilst others may start to do better.
The purpose of the update could be related to the rise in AI-generated content. AI tools such as ChatGP have made it possible for businesses to create large swathes of content that humans and search engines find hard to differentiate from organically created content.
Key Changes in the Google 2023 Core Update
Google does not give information on specific changes made to the algorithm with the core updates, instead stating that they are meant to improve the quality of search results overall.
The update has:
- Targeted all types of content and images.
- Affected all regions and languages.
- Rewarded good web pages rather than penalise bad ones.
- Impacted all Google SERP features such as Discover and Featured Snippets.
Perhaps the key change is the importance of EEAT. This is a criterion used by Google to assess content, and it stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
The impact of content not following these guidelines will mean that pages fall off the face of the earth, compared to content that is well-informed and engaging. These guidelines are also subject to change every now and then, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any updates!
Have I been Affected by the Google Core Update 2023?
Before making any major changes to your website or SEO strategies, you should figure out if you have been affected by the search algorithm changes. These are steps that you can take.
- Wait until the core update has finished. A lot can change during the first two weeks of a core update, so let the dust settle a little bit.
- Look at the time and date of changes in visibility and organic traffic. Check the last 30 days and back to a year for a larger data sample to see if traffic has been changed by the rollout of the update.
- Conduct a competitor analysis. See what similar sites are doing and if you need to make the same changes.
- Use Google Search Console to see which keywords led users to your site. See if they are relevant to your target audience.
- Look at which pages and areas of the site have been hit.
Google Core Update 2023: The Impact on SEO Strategies
Though the update is not about penalising websites, but rather more rewarding sites with excellent content, it could impact your current SEO strategies.
Any website worth its salt will have relevant keywords. These are what the algorithm looks for when a user puts something into the search bar. If you are lax on your keywords or guilty of keyword stuffing (where you bunch keywords together in a really unnatural way), the new update has gotten better at finding this out. If you don’t have keywords in your headings, then your website ranking may be impacted.
The core of the update is about rewarding content that is engaging and of a high quality. The update wants to put satisfying content front and centre, and if your site is full of copy-and-paste content, out-of-date blogs or overly AI-generated text that’s not helpful to the user, then you’ll likely be negatively impacted.
Google is all about user experience. If your site is not optimised for the user – bad design, slow page loading times, navigation – then the algorithm will frown upon that. A slick and pleasant experience for users means they are more likely to stay on your site.
Linking to other websites and within your site is important for DR and website ranking. The Google 2023 Core Update wants to reward authoritative pages – those linked to trusted sites. More relevant backlinks mean that Google will rank your website higher.
With the rise in mobile usage to surf the internet, research and shop – Google has put more emphasis on its importance. If you are unable to provide a web experience that suits a smaller screen, then your website ranking will suffer.
Does Google Penalise AI Content?
In short – no. Well, it’s not supposed to. In theory, as long as the content is unique, useful to the user and follows all EEAT guidelines, Google supposedly won’t care whether it’s AI-generated or not. Many SEOs have divided opinions on this, but only time will tell.
SEO Tips for Businesses
SEO for businesses can be a tricky venture, and these updates can complicate matters. It’s important to focus on SEO as it is a key part of effective web design.
There are plenty of things that you can do to adapt your SEO strategy to better align with the search algorithm changes.
- Improve user experience, which means:
- Improve page speed.
- Better navigation.
- Avoid pop-ups.
- Content readability.
- Create helpful and relevant content for the users, not search engines.
- Mobile optimisation.
- Unique high-quality images and videos.
- Promote your content on social media.
Contact Maxweb Today
The Google Core Update 2023 may have caused some volatility in website rankings, but it’s been put in place to reward effective content. By adhering to SEO best practices, producing content that will appeal to your audience, and having the help of SEO experts to guide you through all the do’s and don’ts – you can easily boost your SERP ranking.
Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2023 in SEO.