If there’s one phrase that causes Search Engine Optimization Specialists around the world to hold their breath, it’s “a Google Search Core Update has launched.”
Google launched its most recent core update earlier this week. However, the full update could take weeks to roll out as it makes significant changes to the search algorithms and systems.
Some website owners may not even notice the change, while others could see a significant shift in their search engine rank and visibility. To help guide you through this update and inevitable ones in the future, we’ve outlined what you should know about Google Search core updates.
What is a Google Search core update?
Google Search core updates are regular algorithm updates that Google applies to its search engine to improve the relevance and quality of search results. Updates are typically broad and impact multiple websites across the internet. They aim to continuously improve user experience by providing the most relevant and helpful results for searchers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) specialists closely watch for updates because they can have a significant impact on search engine rankings. Some websites may see a sudden boost in rank, while others may be negatively affected or not see a change at all. It’s not uncommon for Google to make a sudden shift in deciding which factors are important, so staying up to date on trends and changes can make a huge difference.
Updates can include many different factors, but a few of the most common include:
- Focuses SEO on high quality, useful content
- Updates to catch black-hat SEO and de-rank those websites
- Focuses on content Google wants to see currently – video, image optimization, or speed could suddenly become an important ranking factor
Google Search Central also provides a valuable explanation of core updates.
What does that mean for your website?
When Google rolls out a new core update, it evaluates and assesses several website criteria, including content quality, relevance, authority, and user experience. If your website meets that criteria, it’s more likely to experience an improvement in search rankings, traffic, and visibility. However, if your website fails to meet those criteria, your website may experience a drop in rankings, traffic, and visibility.
A drop in performance doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something technically wrong with your website. It could mean that previously unrewarded sites are now being recognized and thus ranking higher. If you notice that your website rank has dropped since the update, Google stresses the importance of focusing on the quality of your website before technical issues.
Please note that even if improvements are made to the content, improvements may not be noticeable until the next broad core update. Don’t lose hope, though. Search Engine Optimization is a marathon event, not a sprint.
What Should You Do When A Core Update Occurs?
The first step is to compare how your site pages performed before and after the update. Use ranking tools, like Ahrefs or SEMRush, to track your Google ranking performance and keywords. Make sure to keep creating valuable, relevant and user-friendly content that engages your audience.
Thankfully, there are also ways you can prepare your updates. You know they’ll be coming, so be proactive now in ensuring your SEO efforts are up to par.
Here are some things that you can do to keep your website optimized for the latest algorithm changes:
- Focus on user experience and produce high-quality, relevant content
- Follow Google’s Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines) and avoid any black-hat SEO practices
- Avoid duplicate content and ensure that your website has a clear structure
- Stay on top of technical SEO updates, such as page speed, mobile-friendliness, and security
Updates are a way for Google to refine and improve their search algorithm. Like we mentioned earlier, updates can take weeks to complete. Be patient and don’t make any drastic decisions regarding your website and search engine optimization.
Instead, focus on providing high-quality and relevant content that aligns with your audience’s search intent, needs, and interests. You should also monitor your website’s performance, metrics, and traffic to identify any issues that need to be addressed immediately.
P.S. Don’t make significant changes to your site during this time. Avoid creating content that revolves around topics unrelated to your business or website niche. Google assesses content as a whole overall, rather than focusing on specific websites or pages.
Key point from the august 2023 update
The August 2023 core update follows another recent launch by Google Search – new generative artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Google launched the generative AI-powered Search experience (SGE) about three months ago to help searchers more easily get to the core of what they’re looking for, especially through long-form content. “SGE while browsing” is designed to highlight or point out key points within blog posts, articles, and other long-form content to quickly identify information most relevant to the search inquiry.
So what does the mean for websites and the August 2023 core update? We’re going back to our marketing roots in saying that content is king. More importantly, quality content is king. As AI continues to evolve, Google wants to remind content writers and website owners to create authentic content. Write what your audience wants or needs to know. Provide value in every piece of content you create for your audience and be authentic in what you publish.
Business owners should stay up-to-date on Google Search core updates to ensure that their websites remain relevant and in compliance with Google’s guidelines. It’s essential to monitor changes in ranking positions and traffic so you can quickly identify any issues and take steps to fix them.
At Vervocity, our Google Certified SEO Specialist closely monitors for Google Search core updates and changes to search engine algorithms. She knows how to prepare for changes, what to do when they happen, and how to adjust to the ongoing process. Don’t leave the fate of your business’s visibility to chance. Let Vervocity handle your SEO so you can focus on growing your business.