The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and when it comes to Google, it seems that big changes happen every few months!
On August 22, 2023, Google started rolling out its latest core algorithm update. This update might have caught your attention if you’re a website owner or an online enthusiast. We’ll delve into the limited details released about the August 2023 Google Core Update and offer some insights on how it might affect your website’s search rankings and what steps you can take to ensure your online presence remains strong.
What is a Google Core Update?
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s revisit the concept of a Google Core Update. Google frequently refines its search algorithms to enhance the quality and relevance of search results. These core updates are designed to improve the search experience for users by better understanding their queries and presenting them with accurate, informative, and authoritative content.
Unlike other updates that target something specific like “local rankings” or “medical info sites,” the Google Core Updates are a broad update to the very base of the search software. Google makes these updates a few times a year, and rarely do we get a heads-up that something will happen. Usually, we get the “it’s happening now” kind of notice.
Due to the very nature of these changes, core updates can have noticeable fluctuations in search engine rankings for websites. Not only can they affect direct Organic Rankings, but sometimes they affect the Local Pack (map rankings).
For the most part, Core Updates affect everything and everyone. They’re not targeted to a specific industry. And while there’s limited information on what this release is covering, I personally wouldn’t be surprised if AI is involved somewhere. AI has gripped the internet by storm over the last year, and Google really hasn’t released anything directly against it, but maybe it’s in this release?
How Can I View the Google Core Update Status?
Google has a lot of information on the Core Update Status, and they do a really good job with a dashboard to keep track of the releases. Google’s Search Status Dashboard is used for tracking “incidents,” and the Google Core Updates are tracked under the Ranking section of the reports.
To view the report, you can open the link above or click on the August 2023 core update incident report to go directly to the page.
The core update began rolling out at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time on 8/22/2023 and is expected to continue to roll out for the next 2 weeks.
Key Takeaways from the August 2023 Update
The August 2023 Google Core Update brings with it several updates to the main search algorithm:
- Focus on User Intent and Quality Content
With this update, Google places an even stronger emphasis on understanding user intent. Websites that provide valuable and well-organized content to satisfy user queries are likely to positively impact their rankings. The goal is to reward websites that genuinely help users find the information they seek.
- E-A-T Factors Remain Vital
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) continue to play a pivotal role in determining how Google ranks websites. This update reinforces the importance of showcasing your website’s expertise through authoritative content, trustworthy sources, and transparent author information.
- Mobile Experience Optimization
As mobile device usage continues to rise, Google’s update places a premium on mobile experience optimization. Mobile-friendly websites that provide seamless navigation on smaller screens are more likely to maintain or improve their search rankings.
How to Protect Your Website
Now, let’s address what seems to be nearly every website owner’s question: How can you protect your website from the potential impact of the August 2023 Google Core Update?
In short, you can’t! It’s already happened. The impacts of the update will be affected, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about the core update that has already started rolling out.
And while you can’t do anything about the existing roll-out, maybe you can take some steps for when the next rollout happens;
- Audit Your Content
Perform a comprehensive content audit to identify areas for improvement. Focus on creating high-quality, relevant, and well-researched content that addresses your audience’s needs. Ensure that your content is up-to-date and accurate.
- Enhance E-A-T Signals
Strengthen your website’s E-A-T signals by highlighting the expertise of your content creators, providing clear author credentials, and citing reputable sources. Consider adding author bio sections and linking to their professional profiles.
- Optimize for Mobile Experience
Review your website’s mobile responsiveness and usability. Ensure that your website loads quickly on mobile devices and that the user experience is intuitive and seamless.
- Improve Page Speed
Page speed has been a constant factor in both user experience and search rankings. Compress images, minimize code, and leverage browser caching to enhance your website’s loading times.
- Monitor Analytics
Keep a close eye on your website’s analytics and other tools, especially around the time of the update. Look for any significant changes in organic search traffic, keyword rankings, and impressions.
Don’t Panic, Evolve
It’s natural to feel concerned about the impact of a Google Core Update, but remember that these updates are designed to refine the search experience and reward websites that provide genuine value to users.
Instead of panicking, focus on evolving and adapting your website’s content and user experience to align with the updated algorithm.
It’s time to take inventory of your site’s pages, blogs, and products and determine if you’re delivering everything a visitor wants to see. If you’re selling products, do you have unique descriptions on your products, and are those descriptions providing an enhancement to the user’s shopping experience?
When Will You See the Results?
One of the most common questions is how long it takes to see the effects of a core update. Unfortunately, there’s no fixed timeline. It can take several weeks or even months for the full impact of the update to become evident.
Over the next few weeks, there will be hundreds of articles and assessments over what has been impacted and eventually, there’ll be a consensus that “X” was affected, but the reality right now is that it’s too early to tell.
Keep an eye on your Google Analytics to see if you’re experiencing a drop or rise in traffic, and then track which pages are being affected.
Keep an eye on your Google Search Console and monitor the Impressions, Clicks, and Positions to see the changes that are directly affecting your site.
If you’re showing a significant dropoff in Impressions for a link that was previously doing well, then it’s time to start the investigation into why that page dropped. Check out what the competition is doing for the same page and if they dropped also. And if someone new has entered your space, you’ll want to evaluate what they did differently.
As always, continue working on improvements and monitoring your website’s performance, but don’t make any drastic changes in the short term – you need lots of data before taking action.
Stay Informed, Stay Resilient
With web updates, adaptability is key. Stay informed about industry trends, algorithm updates, and best practices. Remember that the August 2023 Google Core Update is an opportunity to refine your website’s content and user experience, ensuring that you’re providing value to your audience.
As we navigate this update, keep in mind that fluctuations in rankings are normal, and they don’t necessarily indicate a problem with your website.
By focusing on delivering high-quality content, showcasing expertise, optimizing for mobile, and monitoring your analytics, you’ll be well-prepared to weather the changes from this update and be all the more prepared for the next Google Core Update.
Change is a constant. Embrace it, adapt to it, and continue offering value to your audience.
If you need help with a website audit or need changes and enhancements to your WordPress web design, contact Kim and Conor via phone at 402-522-6468 or fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll be happy to help.