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Google’s Latest Core Algorithm Update in 2023. [Updated on November 2023]

List of Google's algorithm updates since 2022

This guide contains the latest Google algorithm updates. As such, it is updated periodically to reflect the newest developments.

What is Google Algorithm?

Google’s core updates have always been the topic of interest for website owners, marketers, and SEO professionals. These updates are critical to understand as they can significantly impact a website’s ranking and organic traffic. As Google aims to provide users with the best search experience, it is continuously refining its algorithm to display the most relevant and high-quality results.

With that said, 2022 and 2023 have already proved to be significant years for Google’s core updates. The search engine giant has rolled out several updates that have impacted websites across various niches. It’s essential for businesses to stay up-to-date with these updates to adjust their SEO strategies and ensure their website’s compliance with the latest algorithms.

In this comprehensive list, we will dive into all of Google’s core updates that have been released in 2022 and those that are anticipated for 2023. We will also discuss the impact of each update and provide insights into how businesses can optimise their websites to maintain or improve their rankings. So, let’s get started!

Major Algorithm Updates in 2022-2023

Quick Links

November 2023: Reviews Update

Google has released the November 2023 Reviews Update, which focused on making significant shifts to how reviews are interpreted and ranked in search results. This change is the third of its kind this year and perhaps the last one by Google, highlighting the quality and validity of a range of sectors, such as products, services, places, and media.

The change is part of an ongoing, real-time approach to analysing reviews, which means any modifications in website content will be recognised quicker in search rankings. Those who publish reviews are encouraged to continually track their rankings and traffic to ensure that their content remains relevant in search results.

October 2023: Spam Update

Google has launched its October 2023 Spam Update. This upgrade targets thin, duplicated, or excessively promotional content in response to an increase in spam in search results. Google uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies like SpamBrain to counter new spam tactics. The following prohibited practices have been emphasised: misleading pages, large-scale article scraping, auto-generated material, and hidden links. Websites that are affected by the update should concentrate on providing clear, quality information and stay away from misleading practices.  For best results, consistently conducting website audits, keeping an eye on backlinks, and following Google’s guidelines are advised. The focus is on providing true value and putting the user experience ahead of shortcuts.

September 2023: Helpful Content Update

Google revealed its September 2023 update, paying its Helpful Content System guidelines plenty of attention. Google’s position on AI-generated content has altered significantly, becoming more accommodative and suggesting that machine-generated content may become even more inclusive in the near future. Additionally, it is recommended that websites hosting third-party content refrain from allowing such content to be indexed, especially if it is unrelated to the primary purpose of the website. Google’s Gary Illyes raised concerns about micro-sites, highlighting that they could be misused to manipulate search results. 

For those impacted by the Helpful Content Update, Google advises locating and removing unhelpful material. Google has dedicated itself to improving the quality and relevancy of search results, and this update continues to demonstrate just that. As always, to achieve the best search ranks, webmasters and SEO specialists should adhere to these changing criteria.

August 2023: Broad Core Update

Google has already released their newest update on 23 August 2023 at around 1:30 pm ET, which will take approximately one to two weeks to roll out. The company announced that it would refresh its ranking release history page after the update has been fully implemented.
A core update has the potential to affect a website’s search performance positively or negatively. If you are impacted by this, make sure to follow Google’s core updates guidelines for the most effective advices.

June 2023: Helpful Content System Update

Google is enhancing its helpful content system to uncover valuable information from obscure corners of the web like forums and blogs. The update aims to showcase these “hidden gems” in search results. While promoting helpful content, Google also seeks to ensure that unhelpful content receives lower visibility. The upcoming update will strike a balance between boosting helpful content and demoting unhelpful content, emphasising the importance of providing valuable information to users. Stay tuned for the transformative impact of this helpful content system update in June!

April 2023: Review Update

Google has completed its April 2023 reviews update, which affects webpages that provide recommendations or opinions on products, services, destinations, games, movies, and other things. This update is not limited to just products, unlike previous updates. Any search ranking fluctuations after April 25, 2023, should be considered as part of the daily ranking fluctuations. The update emphasises that reviews should be based on real evaluations and experience with the products or services being reviewed, and not on third-party reviews. Google has released a guide called “Write high-quality reviews” to help publishers understand how to create good-quality reviews. The guide provides a list of best practices to follow to rank well on Google Search and other surfaces, including original analysis, expertise, and relevant measurements and comparisons.

March 2023: Broad Core Update

Google’s March 2023 core update aims to improve search results by promoting high-quality web pages across all languages and regions. No specific pages or sites are targeted. This update may impact black-hat SEO tactics that violate Google’s guidelines. It may take weeks for the update to have a noticeable effect, and Google will update its ranking updates history page at the end of March. SEOs should monitor their site’s metrics and look for any unusual changes.

Feb 2023: Product Reviews Update

The Google Product Reviews Update is an upcoming update to Google’s search algorithm that will impact SEO and website content. This update is built on the existing product reviews update rolled out in Sep 2022, focusing on improving the quality of product reviews displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) to provide users with high-quality, informative, and trustworthy product reviews that are relevant to their search queries.

Learn the best practices for updating existing product reviews and creating new ones to maintain or improve your search engine rankings.

Dec 2022: Helpful Content & Link Spam Updates

December Helpful Content Update

Google has announced a crucially beneficial content update that is being rolled out to all languages, beginning today on December 5. This process should be completed within two weeks’ time.

"The Dec. 2022 helpful content update was released Dec. 5, starting to become more visible today & will take about two weeks to fully roll out. It improves our classifier & works across content globally in all languages. Our help page explains more."

Google’s helpful content system for December 2022 is a major upgrade from the one introduced in August: its main objective being to reward those webpages created with people rather than search engines in mind. The update strives to boost content that offers something unparalleled compared to other competing publishers and might even comprise of new signals or alterations on existing ones. With this update, Google ensures it will be rewarding valuable and exclusive resources – an invaluable asset on any website!

Reading: Transform Your Website Content with ChatGPT: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Engaging and Effective Web Copy

Link Spam Update

On December 14, 2022, a week after the December 2022 helpful content update, Google launched the all-new “December 2022 link spam update,” leveraging its innovative SpamBrain AI technology to detect and weed out sites with suspicious activities such as buying links or having outgoing links. This is a major advance from the traditional methods of identifying nefarious link activity. This Google update is estimated to take up to two weeks in total to complete.

Oct 2022: Spam Update

Spam Update

Google announced that the rolling out of the spam update was completed on October 21, 2022. This update is global and affects all languages.

What does this mean?

This update targets specific violations and included efforts to prevent spam content. If you notice big changes to your search rankings and traffic from your Google organic listings, you may have been hit by this update.

Sep 2022: Core & Product Reviews Update

Core Update

Some of the key changes that took place in September were made to: 

  • Reward high quality content, instead of penalising poor quality content, 
  • Impact featured snippets, Google Discover and more,
  • Deliver the exact information Google users are looking for.

Our Advice

Although the overall impact of this Google core update seems minor, some sites have been heavily affected. Now is the time for webmasters to start digging into their analytics data to see if any pages have lost visibility or rankings – and figure out a plan of action to improve those pages and regain any lost rankings.

Reading: How to Evaluate Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Focus On EAT

Like many SEOs have said over the past couple of years, you should read the search quality raters guidelines. The guidelines now focus on the EAT principles: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. “Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider, “Google said.

Related reading: Revolutionise Your Business Content with AI: Top Models for Generating Relevant and Engaging Text, Images, and Photo Edits

Product Reviews Update

Another product reviews’ update was launched in September 2022, following similar updates in March and July this year.

The aim of these is to change the way in which search ranks product reviews. Priority has fallen on in-depth detailed product reviews that users find most helpful. So, unless you’re running a business profile and you’re focused on product review quality, this update hasn’t had that much of an impact on your performance.

Reading: How do I Prepare for Google’s Product Review Update?

Aug 2022: Helpful Content Update

Helpful Content Update

In August 2022, the helpful content update came along. It emphasised the importance of high quality content even further, reaffirming some of the modifications started with the May 2022 update. As per Google’s official announcement, the aim of the update was to further incentivise people-centric content creation rather than focus on search engines.

How should I Cope With this Update?

Although this Google upgrade has presented difficulties to many businesses and increased the complexity of the content development process, there are still steps for websites to succeed online according to Abigale from MUO.

  1. Prioritise your readers: what is your target audience searching for?
  2. Base content on your experience: add your first-hand knowledge to the content.
  3. Use the AI-writing tools carefully.
  4. Don’t use false or misleading information: for time-sensitive topics, make sure to always keep them updated with the latest information.
  5. Add valuable content: provide actionable steps or new perspectives on an issue.
  6. Focus on your niche: share content with details and insights into your niche market instead of publishing topics you don’t know too much about.

May 2022: Core Update

Core Update

The May 2022 core update was confirmed by Google Public Liaison of Search Danny Sullivan: 

We confirm broad core updates because they typically produce some widely notable effects. Some sites may note drops or gains during them. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don't try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.
Danny Sullivan
Google Public Liaison of Search

Whilst this announcement  sounds a bit ambiguous, more precise information has been provided later on. With this update, the following factors changed:

  • Increased representation of FAQ snippets among top results for search queries.
  • Re-evaluation of quality content and ranking of featured snippets.
  • Increased representation of video.
  • Decreased rankings for generic content.

Whilst it may appear that the September core update is related to the May core update, it is not the case. Nevertheless, the effects of these two core updates can be cumulative. As a result, some sites may be hit hard whilst others will experience serious gains in search engine results page (SERP) positioning.

Feb 2022: Page Experience Update

Page Experience Update

A desktop page experience update was launched in February 2022 and is based on on page experience signals for mobile. Some of the factors taken into consideration include HTTPS security, largest contentful paint (LCP), cumulative layout shift (CLS), first input delay, and absence of intrusive interstitials. 

Similar to the product reviews update, this February 2022 update is classified as minor, meaning that most websites wouldn’t see a notable change in performance as long as they’re sticking to well-known development practices.

Steps You Can Take to Prepare For The Updates

Chances are that you’ve seen some ranking changes as a result of the numerous updates that occurred over the course of 2022. If that effect was notably negative, you’re probably wondering how to fix things or how to perform better in the future. Below are our recommendations to perform well on organic search.   

Determine How Your Website Has Been Affected, And by Which Update

It’s important to understand which update has had an impact over your website’s search results. Google provides tips and recommendations that webmasters and developers can utilise to build the foundations of solid performance.

Focus on Content Quality

One thing is certain – content quality has become more important than ever. Quality isn’t just about in-depth pieces of content. Rather, it has become a comprehensive strategy and a focus on gaining ‘a good understanding of your audience and its needs’. There are many ways to get information about what your audience wants – make use of that data to come up with specific actionable steps.

Keep Yourself Updated on The Latest Changes

Finally, don’t forget to stay updated on the latest Google changes and recommendations.

Google Search Central is an excellent resource that gives you access to articles, tools and tips all webmasters can implement.

Reading the latest Digilari articles will also give you competitive advantage. We focus on making challenging topics easy to understand and providing actionable steps to improve your performance. We also share our know-how and experience, offering concrete recommendations to achieve optimal results.

Bookmark this page and don’t forget to check it again periodically to gain more insights on the latest Google algorithm updates.

 

Latest guide update: October 2022.

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Digilari Media