Google Algorithm Updates – 2023

Google algorithm update

Google consistently releases algorithm updates to keep up with changing customer needs and their online search behaviour. The purpose of these updates is to ensure that Google displays the most relevant results based on the user’s search queries. These changes can be minor search query updates or significant core algorithm updates. Every SEO agency in Singapore must stay well-informed about these updates to implement the best SEO practices to improve a website’s performance on the search engine result page (SERP).

Google always maintain transparency about their major algorithm updates. However, it often makes changes that might go unnoticed unless you experience a spike or fall in your web traffic. Many SERP volatility sensors and SEO experts call these unexplained web traffic fluctuations ‘unconfirmed updates’.

To avoid overwhelming readers, we will discuss Google’s significant algorithm updates in 2023. Let’s check them out.

October 2023 Broad Core Update

The latest update this year is the October 2023 Core Update. It was released on 5th October 2023 and is expected to take approximately 2 weeks to complete rollout. These updates can cause your website to perform better or worse in search results. Even if a significant update hits your website, it doesn’t imply anything is wrong with it. It might happen due to some changes you made on your website or Google’s algorithm changes. As you know, Google has just released its core update; monitoring analytics and rankings for the next few weeks is better.

As Google has also released the Spam Update during this time, it might be challenging to determine which update(s) has impacted your website.

October 2023 Spam Update

Google released Spam Update on 4th October, and the rollout is expected to be completed within 2-3 weeks. This update applies globally and improves coverage in various languages. The primary goal is to improve the overall search experience for users. Deceptive, auto-generated spam pages offer little value to users. With this update, Google aims to target spam and present more helpful and relevant pages to users based on their search queries.

This update focuses on reducing the following –

  • Cloaking – In this technique, the content a page serves to search bots is different than what is presented to the users.
  • Hacked/stolen content – These pages contain copied or plagiarised content used on other sites.
  • Auto-generated content – These are low-quality, machine-generated content without meaningful or valuable information for users.
  • Deceptive business listing – These are inaccurate claims of businesses in online directories or maps.
  • Foreign language spam – These are spam targeting non-English queries

This update will likely affect various websites based on their content. The following are some scenarios of this update affecting multiple sites.

  • Spam or low-quality websites that use techniques such as cloaking, business listing abuse, etc., will be affected mostly negatively. These sites will likely lose search engine visibility to a considerable extent.
  • Websites that contain plagiarised or stolen content will also suffer.
  • Authentic websites with not-so-helpful content may also lose traffic
  • Many niche websites without analytics cannot determine how this update has affected their site.
  • Authentic websites with high-quality content are expected to perform better on SERP. Even if they notice any drop in traffic or ranking, it will likely be short-term.

September 2023 Helpful Content Update

Google previously released Helpful Content Update on 25th August 2022, and the rollout was completed by 9th September. They again released the December 2022 Helpful Content Update on 5th December, and the rollout was completed by 12th January 2023. Again, they released a new update on 14th September 2023, and the rollout was completed on 28th September 2023. Similar to August 2022 and December 2022 updates, this update also aimed to present original and helpful content created for audiences in search results.

You need not worry about this update if you consistently create helpful content. However, if you notice a change in traffic, you can self-assess your content and edit the ones that appear unhelpful to your audience.

Google recommend creating people-first content and providing an overall great page experience. If you follow the best practices in this regard, this update will likely not affect your site.

August 2023 Broad Core Update

Google released the August 2023 Broad Core Update on 22nd August, and the rollout was completed by 7th September 2023. The update focused on improving how Google assess overall content. If your website experienced a negative ranking update, it didn’t necessarily mean that something was wrong with your website. Google advised that you may recover rankings between two core updates. Regardless of core updates, Google recommends consistently creating and publishing high-quality, original, and relevant content on your website.

April 2023 Review Update

Google released the Review Update on 12th April 2023, and the rollout was completed by 25th April 2023. It is a significant algorithmic update focusing on reviews concerning products, services, games, movies, etc. Since businesses rely greatly on customer reviews, this update is critical for them and SEO professionals.

This update aims to help users get relevant information from product and service reviews, thereby improving user experience and search rankings. In this update, Google included an extra E to its old E-A-T Google Quality Rater Guidelines. This ‘E’ stands for Experience. It considers evidence of Experience in Reviews through audio, video, reliable and authority links, statistics, and other quantitative data.

The purpose of your review content should be to show your expertise, provide evidence, and discuss the pros and cons of the subject. Such a detailed review will help audiences make an informed decision.

This update didn’t affect third-party reviews that users post in the review section of a product or service page. Instead, it affects blogs, articles, etc., with first-party content to provide users with recommendations, analysis, opinions, etc.  

March 2023 Broad Core Update

Google released the March 2023 Core Update on 15th March 2023, and the rollout was completed by 28th March 2023. Like other Core Updates, it focused on improving how Google assesses content overall. After every Core Update, websites often notice changes in their ranking and traffic. In such cases, Google stated that if websites continuously produce quality content that offers value to their audiences, they need not worry about the effects of Core Updates. Websites can always recover between two Broad Core Updates.

February 2023 Product Reviews Update

Google released the Product Reviews Update on 21st February 2023, and the rollout was completed by 7th March 2023. The update affected websites that regularly review products, services, etc., to ensure they produce high-quality and in-depth reviews to assist users in making an informed decision.

Google aims to provide the best and most relevant results to users based on their queries; hence, they constantly release updates throughout the year. Regardless of your business type, you must publish high-quality, original, relevant, and helpful content on your website. Even if any Core Updates affect your search ranking or traffic, it would be temporary, provided you follow SEO best practices when publishing content on your site. Elevan August Media offers comprehensive SEO services in Singapore. We can help optimise your website for audiences and search engines by implementing SEO best practices to help boost your organic search ranking and traffic for relevant queries.

Elevan August

Lee Yan Ting
Lee Yan Ting

Founder of Elevan August Media | Featured on several local and regional media: Home & Décor, Straits Times, REGISTRYE Singapore, Hive Life, Queer Majority (USA) and more.