What are Google Algorithm Updates?
Google algorithms are a complex system that analyses a multitude of factors to determine the ranking of websites for any given search query. These algorithms are constantly changing to serve the best possible results in the SERPs. These updates are part of Google’s ongoing efforts to increase the quality and relevance of search results for users.
Why should you care?
If your business relies heavily on your website for lead generation, you should care about what’s happening on the SEO front. It is important to keep abreast with the latest Google updates, as they may affect your rankings and overall traffic, which, in turn, could affect your lead generation efforts.
For example, Google insists on high-quality content, which is often the focus of these algorithm updates. Knowing what Google regards as great content can guide your content creation efforts, providing you with a competitive edge in the SERPs.
Understanding these updates helps avoid practices that might lead to penalties or a drop in rankings that gravely affect your business.
What to do when you’ve been hit by a Google Update?
The first thing you need to do is to wait it out and see if the drop sticks. Fluctuations are normal, and your numbers may go back up after a couple of days. If it doesn’t, determine if the cause of the drop in rankings is a Google Update, as there could be a number of reasons. Identifying what the reason is will allow you to apply the required fix. If you’ve deduced that it was indeed an update hit, find out what the update was about, check where you might have dropped the ball in that area and address accordingly. For example, if the update was about helpful content, find out why your content was deemed unhelpful by Google and go from there.
Sometimes, updates will happen, and if you’ve been hit, there’s no other way to know if you’ll recover but to wait for another update. It’s easier said than done, but in these cases, the best thing to do is to address the issues the best you can and wait it out.
2023 Google Updates
The following are all the Google Algorithm Updates that rolled out (and are being rolled out) in 2023.
November 2023 – Core Update
This update was announced four days ago and is currently being rolled out. Google said this month’s core update is an improvement to a different core system than October’s update, but their guidance remains unchanged for both.
October 2023 – Core Update
The gradual rollout of the October Core Update concluded on October 19. It ran for a couple of weeks. If your website suffered a hit, consider making your content more helpful and providing a great experience overall for your users.
October 2023 – Spam Update
Google regularly updates their spam detection systems in order to better filter out spam in the SERPs. This particular update was rolled out in October of this year. It included better detection of scraped, hacked, and auto-generated content in multiple languages, such as Chinese, Hindi, and Vietnamese, among others.
See this guide for what Google deems as spam content.
September 2023 – Helpful Content Update
The Helpful Content Update was rolled out in September and had changes in three different areas:
- Loosened guidance on AI-generated content.
- Third-party content on the main domain or subdomains.
- Additional guidance for those losing traffic because of the Helpful Content Update.
You can read more about this update here.
August 2023 – Core Update
This core update was officially completed on September 7. It took over 2 weeks. Along with this update came the announcement that Google now indexes CSV files.
April 2023 – Reviews Update
This April update affected the ‘reviews system’ algorithm that Google uses to filter out unuseful reviews from the web. Google prefers in-depth reviews instead of a product listicle that does not offer any real helpful information. They wrote a guide about writing high-quality reviews here.
March 2023 – Core Update
The Google March 2023 core update started rolling out on March 15 and finished on March 28. While Google didn’t really say what the update was about, many website owners from different industries reported to have been hit by it.
February 2023 – Product Reviews Update
This was an update to Google’s Product Reviews guidance. This update rolled out to eleven languages, including Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Soraia has worked in the industry for over a decade. She especially likes growing teams and developing strategies. When she’s not working on client sites, you can find her drawing food and plant illustrations.