Google rolled out a broad core algorithm update late August 2023. It is the second major algorithm change (first one was in March) of the year that is potentially affecting page rankings.
As with previous core updates, this one is designed to improve Google’s search results by refreshing its assessment of overall website quality and authority. While Google provides minimal details on the specifics, core updates often target issues like thin content, low-quality sites, and manipulative techniques meant to artificially boost rankings.
Based on initial reports, this update is substantial and may take a few weeks to fully roll out. We are noticing significant flux and volatility in search rankings, especially in competitive niches like health, finance, and shopping. Some major sites have seen drops while smaller, high-quality sites are getting boosts. This points to an attempt by Google to fix relevancy and return better results to searchers.
Here are a few key things we know as of now about this latest core update:
– The update started on or around August 22 and will likely take 1-2 weeks to fully rollout. Google has confirmed it’s a “broad core algorithm update.”
– Early data shows substantial ranking shifts, both up and down, in competitive verticals like health, finance, shopping, and entertainment. Some major players have been hit hard while smaller sites gained. SEO Roundtable reported that some sites have had gains/losses from 20-80%
– As with past updates focused on quality and relevancy, well-written expert content tends to be rewarded. Thin, low-value pages get devalued. Unique analysis and insightful commentary can gain a boost.
– While Google downplays the impact of speed, having a fast, mobile-friendly site is still a positive factor. Overall page performance are important metrics to monitor.
– Links from high-quality sites seem to be given more weight compared to low-quality links or artificial link building tactics.
– Once fully rolled out over the next 1-2 weeks, rankings should stabilize until the next update. Volatility and flux early on are normal as Google recalibrates page quality signals.
As with any major algorithm shift, website owners should focus on improving overall quality, relevance, and expertise rather than chasing temporary Google updates. We understand that is a vague directive, here is a more in depth article about what you should do if your site was affected by an algorithm update.
Creating great content that genuinely helps searchers find valid answers remains the best SEO strategy over the long-term. Core updates like this are aimed at improving search to better satisfy user intent.