Several major algorithmic updates were implemented by Google, the preeminent search engine in the world, in 2023. Search engine rankings and user experience were significantly altered by these updates. Here we’ll take a close look at all the algorithm changes that Google has made this year, including those to core, reviews, helpful content, spam, and more. If you are aware of these changes, you can adjust your SEO tactics to keep your website ranking well.
Google released four major updates in 2023, which is double the number of updates released the year before. The goal of these changes was to make searching easier and more relevant for users and to provide them with better results. Now, we’ll examine these major changes in more detail:
Core Update on March 20, 2023
The core update for March 2023 was started rolling out on March 15 and finished on March 28. Over the course of those thirteen days, Google overhauled its search algorithm. Like prior core updates, this one caused a fair amount of fluctuation in search rankings. Changes in organic traffic to websites were caused by shifts in rankings, which were noticed by webmasters and SEO experts.
Core Update on August 2023
After 16 days, on August 22, the August 2023 core update finally ended on September 7. The level of volatility during this update was lower than in earlier ones. Search engine optimization experts and website owners saw small changes in search engine rankings, which may indicate that Google made more nuanced changes to its algorithm. It was critical to track and study how this update affected website ranks despite the reduced volatility.
Core Update on October 2023
Another major Google update was released in October 2023, starting on October 5 and ending on October 19, spanning a total of fourteen days. Although the exact volatility of this update was difficult to measure because of its overlap with the October spam update, it turned out to be quite impactful nonetheless. However, data providers noticed major changes in search rankings, suggesting that Google’s algorithm has undergone a major overhaul.
Core Update on November 2023
The 26-day core update for November 2023 began on November 2 and ended on November 19. According to data providers, this update caused even more volatility than the spam update in October. The overlap with the November reviews update made it somewhat challenging to isolate its impact. Still, it showed that Google was serious about improving its search algorithm to provide better results.
Updates on Reviews
Changes to Google’s review policy were substantial in 2023. The “Reviews Update” replaced the “Product Reviews Update” to better reflect the broad scope of content it covers in terms of reviews. A more all-encompassing evaluation of review content—including services, businesses, destinations, media, and more—was the goal of this change. Let’s take a look at the review updates that Google made this year:
Product Review Update for February 2023
Beginning on February 21 and ending on March 7, 2023, a total of fourteen days passed during the product reviews update for February. The product reviews update was renamed to the reviews update with this version, marking its final iteration. Its volatility was higher than that of the product reviews that came before it. Rankings changed dramatically, according to data providers, which had a major effect on websites that depended substantially on content from product reviews.
Update on Reviews for April 2023
The April 2023 reviews update spanned thirteen days, from April 12th to the 25th. In contrast to earlier revisions, this one widened the review content category to encompass not only products but also services, companies, locations, media, and more. As a result, more websites in more categories were affected by the volatility that occurred during this update.
Update on Reviews for November 2023
After 29 days, on November 8, 2023, the reviews update finally came to a close on December 7, 2023. It included a wide variety of review content types, not limited to product reviews, much like the April reviews update. Since this update coincided with the November core update, we do not have any information on how volatile it was in comparison to earlier ones. However, in order to gauge the update’s efficacy, website owners and SEO experts had to keep a careful eye on their rankings throughout this time.
Helpful Content Update
The SEO industry was greatly affected by Google’s helpful content update, which was introduced in September 2023. The fourteen-day duration of this update began on September 14 and ended on September 28. The significant impact it had on website owners’ businesses and clients keeps SEO professionals and website owners talking about it today. There was a lot of upheaval during this update, especially among SEOs. There were more noticeable shifts for websites whose primary focus was search engine optimization compared to those whose designs took other considerations into account.
Update on Spam
A spam update was also released by Google in October 2023. The goal of this update was to address spam reports in a wide range of languages, such as Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, and Chinese, among others. The 15-day long October 2023 spam update started on October 4 and ended on October 20. Due to its overlap with the core update in October 2023, its exact volatility is difficult to assess. While cloaking, hacked, auto-generated, and scraped spam are all forms of visible spam, Google’s goal was to decrease their visibility in search results.
Additional Algorithm Updates, Topics, and Changes
A number of additional algorithm updates, changes, tweaks, and subjects were introduced by Google throughout 2023, all of which had an effect on the search landscape. Now, we will take a look at a few of these noteworthy changes:
System for Topic Authority
Google unveiled its topic authority system in May with the intention of making news articles more visible. This update brought attention to Google’s dedication to surfacing credible news sources, although it is not a new algorithm system. To guarantee that people could rely on the news they read, it compensated websites that delivered accurate and relevant content.
Treasures Awaiting Discovery
In addition to the helpful content update, Google also released an update to reward so-called “hidden gems.” The goal of this update was to make personalized searches better by highlighting underappreciated websites with great content. Google celebrated these lesser-known treasures as a way to promote diversity and guarantee a more inclusive search experience.
Improved Local Search Engine Rank
Google made changes to its local ranking algorithm in November to make the “openness signal” stronger for queries that aren’t navigational. Users should expect more relevant and accurate local search results as a result of this update. Companies and providers in the area had to adjust their web strategies to fit Google’s new ranking criteria.
Find the Root Cause of Traffic Jam
From October 5th through the 31st, Google experienced an issue with its core update that affected traffic related to Discover. Traffic to Discover, a feature that provides users with recommendations based on their interests, fluctuated throughout this time. Google was quick to respond and fix the problem, which brought Discover traffic back to normal.
Changes to the Language Matching System
The language matching system at Google was upgraded in September. The goal of these updates was to make search results more accurate for people using more than one language. By making an effort to accommodate users who search in more than one language, Google hoped to better match search queries with relevant content in the user’s native tongue.
Signal for Page Experience
Page experience is a signal in Google’s search algorithm, although it is not a ranking system in and of itself. Factors like mobile friendliness, security, and page load speed are all part of the page experience. Websites that put an emphasis on providing a satisfying experience for their visitors tend to do better in search engine rankings.
The Goals and Anticipations of the User
In November, Google revised its guidelines for search quality raters to place more emphasis on meeting user expectations and intent. This shift highlights the significance of knowing what users want and giving them content that is both relevant and valuable. If they want their websites to rank higher, SEO experts and website owners should tailor their tactics to what users really want.
See first source: Search Engine Land
1. How many major algorithm updates did Google release in 2023, and why were they significant?
Google released four major algorithm updates in 2023, which aimed to improve search relevance and user experience. These updates had a significant impact on search engine rankings and required SEO adjustments to maintain website performance.
2. What were the key goals of the core updates in 2023, and when did they occur?
There were four core updates in 2023, with the March, August, October, and November updates. Their primary goal was to enhance search relevance and provide better results. These updates caused fluctuations in search rankings and organic traffic to websites.
3. What changes did Google make to its review policy in 2023, and how did they affect websites?
Google introduced substantial changes to its review policy in 2023, replacing the “Product Reviews Update” with the broader “Reviews Update.” This update impacted websites across various categories, affecting rankings and volatility in search engine results.
4. What was the purpose of the “Helpful Content Update” in September 2023, and how did it affect SEO professionals and website owners?
The “Helpful Content Update” aimed to improve user experience by emphasizing helpful content in search results. SEO professionals and website owners experienced significant fluctuations and noticeable shifts in rankings during this update.
5. What was the focus of the October 2023 spam update, and why was it challenging to assess its volatility?
The October 2023 spam update targeted spam reports in multiple languages. It overlapped with the core update, making it difficult to measure its exact volatility. Google aimed to reduce the visibility of various types of spam in search results.
6. What was the significance of Google’s topic authority system introduced in May 2023?
Google’s topic authority system aimed to make credible news articles more visible in search results. It rewarded websites delivering accurate and relevant content, emphasizing Google’s commitment to surfacing trustworthy news sources.
7. What was the purpose of the update rewarding “hidden gems,” and why did Google implement it?
The update rewarding “hidden gems” aimed to improve personalized searches by highlighting lesser-known websites with valuable content. Google celebrated these sites to promote diversity and inclusivity in search results.
8. What changes did Google make to its local ranking algorithm in November 2023, and how did it impact local businesses?
In November 2023, Google strengthened the “openness signal” for non-navigational queries in its local ranking algorithm. This change aimed to provide more accurate and relevant local search results, requiring local businesses to adapt their web strategies.
9. How did Google address the issue with Discover traffic in October 2023, and what was the impact on users?
Google experienced a traffic issue related to Discover in October 2023, affecting users’ recommendations. Google quickly resolved the problem, returning Discover traffic to normal and ensuring users received relevant recommendations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Edho Pratama; Unsplash – Thank you!
Colin Hughes, a passionate wordsmith and digital raconteur. He ghostwrites for numerous websites that include travel, culture, and lifestyle content. When not traveling for work, he loves to spend his time at home with his husband and two border collies, Reggie and Tuesday.