2023 Google Updates - SEO Agency

2023 Google Updates: How, When & Why Google Updates Search 

Google Updates are focused on improving organic search by updating algorithms and rankings in a constant effort to show better, more relevant results on search engine results pages (SERPs). That can be fantastic news whenever you’re looking for information, products, or services online — but it can be a real challenge if you’re running a website and depending on organic search traffic. 

That’s because Google updates tend to occur without warning, adding volatility to organic search. They also occur multiple times a year and, sometimes, multiple times a month. With that, Google updates can routinely and substantially shake up SERPs, rankings, backlinks, and/or organic traffic. 

To help you navigate and respond to these changes like a pro, this insightful guide on Google Update shares valuable info, answering several questions including: 

Guide to Google Updates - Top SEO Company

What Are the Different Types of Google Updates?

Not all Google Updates are the same. In fact, these updates can target different factors and features, zeroing in on a particular aspect of websites or taking a more “global” approach. When these changes are rolled out, they typically involve one or more of the following types of Google Updates:

  1. Core Updates: These updates don’t focus on specific types of pages or websites. Instead, Google Core Updates “are designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present helpful and reliable results for searchers.” Consequently, Google likens Core Updates to Top 100 rankings that are updated from time to time as new options to include on the rankings are released.
  2. Helpful Content Updates: In a constant effort to show best-fit results, Google routinely updates its content evaluation and ranking system to “reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.” As a result, Google Content Updates tend to benefit human-generated, unique content while low-value, duplicative content generally drops in rankings.
  3. Reviews Updates: Focusing on product and service reviews, the Reviews Update tends to reward high-quality, in-depth reviews from “enthusiasts” who are knowledgeable about the topic. In contrast, uninformative reviews may drop in results or even be de-indexed.
  4. Spam Updates: Google occasionally updates its search spam detection systems, like SpamBrain, its “AI-based spam-prevention system.” These Spam Updates may coincide with updates to Google’s spam policy too.
  5. Page Experience Updates: Whether they focus on mobile or desktop, Page Experience Updates usually look at page security, loading times, and core web vitals to assess user experience.

These and other Google updates can last for days or weeks, with the average duration of the 2023 Google updates being roughly two weeks or just over 14 days.

What 2023 Google Updates Have Happened So Far?

This year, Google has already rolled out several updates related to backlinks, valuable content, product reviews, and more. With advancements in AI-generated content and other technological innovations, the latest Google Updates are keeping pace with the ever-evolving search landscape. 

Here are the confirmed 2023 Google updates to date:

  • October 5, 2023: Google rolls out the third Core Update of 2023. This update took place over about 14 days.
  • October 4, 2023: A spam update is released, lasting just over 15 days. 
  • September 14, 2023: Google releases another helpful content update, wrapping it up in just over 13 days.
  • August 22, 2023: The second Core Update of 2023 is released. This takes over two weeks — more than 16 days to complete.
  • April 12, 2023: Another reviews update is released over about 13 days, focusing on product and service reviews in multiple languages.
  • March 15, 2023: This was the first Core Update Google released in 2023. 
  • February 21, 2023: The product reviews update was implemented in 11 different languages over two weeks or so.

Are the 2023 Google Updates the Same as the 2022 Google Updates?

Google has rolled out similar types of updates in 2023 as in 2022, at varying depths and with different outcomes. Here’s a quick timeline of 2022 Google Updates, starting with the most recent one (at the end of 2022):

  • December 14, 2022: The link spam update, taking about a month to complete, had a global impact across all languages.
  • December 5, 2022: The helpful content update, requiring just over a month to roll out, focused on eliminating AI-generated and spammy content from search results, affecting websites in all languages.
  • October 19, 2022: The spam update, completed in a few days, had a global reach, impacting sites across all languages.
  • September 20, 2022: The product reviews update, which took under a week to complete, affected only English language product reviews.
  • September 12, 2022: The Google Core Update spanned approximately two weeks.
  • August 25, 2022: The helpful content update also took about two weeks to roll out.
  • July 27, 2022: The product reviews update was limited to the English language and took roughly a week to complete.
  • May 25, 2022: The Google Core Update occurred over approximately two weeks.
  • March 23, 2022: The product reviews update rolled out over about two weeks and was reportedly completed by April 6, 2022.
  • February 22, 2022: The desktop page experience update unfolded over roughly two weeks and concluded by March 3, 2022.

How Do I Know If Google Has Released an Update?

Don’t expect a heads up from Google about any updates it’s rolling out. That’s not how it works. Instead, most folks only learn about Google Updates after they’ve been released. And they typically find out via: 

  • Dramatic changes in rankings and/or traffic: Major shifts in keywords, rankings, and traffic can be a tip-off that Google is updating search results, ranking algorithms, and more.
     
  • Industry news and forums: Many SEOs keep their fingers on the pulse of search results, giving them eyes on the latest shifts. That can create industry buzz and credible reports signaling Google Updates.
  • SEO pros: If you’re working with an experienced SEO company or professional, you can be “in the know” as soon as new Google Updates are released. 

Keep in mind that not every Google Update will result in wild keywords, rankings, and traffic changes for a given website. Not every update will apply to every site, so some websites may sail through some Google Updates with minimal disruptions.

What Do Google Updates Really Mean for My Website?

If your website is well-optimized, presenting fresh, unique, and insightful content, it could come out ahead and benefit from Google Updates. That could mean: 

  • Picking up more organic keywords: Your site could rank for more terms in organic search. 
  • Improving rankings: Your site’s pages could show up higher on SERPs, possibly even grabbing those highly coveted featured spots. 
  • Welcoming more organic traffic: WIth more keywords and better rankings, your site could enjoy more impressions, clicks, and organic sessions too. 

On the other hand, Google Updates could trigger major losses in various search metrics if your SEO strategies and website are outdated, subpar, undistinctive, or simply not “helpful” to users.

What Can I Do to Recover from the Latest Google Update?

No matter how your site fared in the latest Google updates, there are always opportunities to improve and refine SEO strategies to: 

  • Recover from any setbacks 
  • Amplify any gains
  • Outperform your competitors
  • Get your website in better shape so that it comes out ahead of any future Google Updates

Remember, there are no rubber-stamp solutions to Google Updates that apply across the board. Instead, it tends to take careful analysis, a deep understanding of a business, a crystal-clear awareness of SEO, and a strong grasp of the goals at hand to recover or continue the momentum from any Google updates. 

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