Google has just wrapped up its second core update of 2023, which commenced on August 22nd and ended 16 days later on September 7th. This update is especially noteworthy for those observing shifts in their website’s performance, as it provides a moment to reflect on the site’s analytics. The change could be attributed either to tweaks you’ve made to your website or adjustments Google has made to its ranking algorithm. Significant changes, if any, are usually seen after subsequent core updates.
3.4. Media Outlets
3.5. Retail Dynamics
The August update was officially announced on Google Search Central and is designed to improve the quality of search results. It does not penalize but aims to reward or promote “great web pages.” While the update impacts all languages and regions, Google’s specific percentage of affected queries remains undisclosed.
The term “predictable” rarely goes hand in hand with Google core updates, but the August 2023 edition has truly outdone itself in defying expectations. First, since March 2023, this core update has set itself apart with unique patterns of rank volatility. This event was very atypical as a closer examination unravels. Here’s a real head-scratcher: in stark contrast to prior core updates, the anticipated spikes in rank volatility were conspicuously absent this time around. The lack of a distinct surge—usually visible a day or two into a core update—disrupted the established narrative of how these updates usually behave. Even more intriguingly, the period leading up to the August update saw consistent volatility, a rarity in itself.
It’s a tempting trap to fall into, viewing rank volatility as a monolithic gauge of an update’s influence. However, the peculiar behavior observed in the August update contradicts this simplified perception. Comparing March and August, the latter presented far more pronounced peak volatility metrics across almost all verticals. But should we rush to deem August’s update as ‘stronger’? That’s a slippery slope of reasoning.
Metrics alone can’t tell the full tale. A single vertical snapshot of peak volatility
fails to capture the broader picture. August’s heightened volatility was likely
influenced by the already elevated pre-update volatility, making a direct
comparison to March or any other month somewhat misleading.
High volatility doesn’t necessarily mean impactful shifts. On that note, the August
update saw an average fluctuation of about three positions in SERPs compared to
March. Perhaps most notably, the August update catapulted many URLs from below
the top 20 into the top 10 or top 20. This nuanced metric points to a different
kind of impact, one more “severe” in its ranking shifts.
While the overall impact remained low compared to the mysterious surge we saw in July, this Core Update brought a few eyebrow-raising changes. Looking at the data, we can observe the domain movements within the UK Google Search, particularly focusing on the news media and retail sectors.
First announced on August 22nd, the Core Update started showing its influence on August 24th, peaking by September 1st and concluded its global rollout on September 7th. Interestingly, an unconfirmed Google algorithm change in July dramatically affected domain visibility more than this Core Update. Most domains that experienced losses began to dip around three to four days after the update rollout.
Crediting gains to the Core Update alone is always tricky, yet several domains exhibited favorable changes that align with this Core Update’s pattern. For instance, Independent.co.uk notably advanced due to its topic landing pages, while the substantial affiliate sections within the domain remained unchanged. Apple.com and last.fm profited through their musical content, and Webmd.com saw a universal lift across its major content directories. Dailymail.co.uk also recouped from their July losses with gains across several directories.
Contrastingly, the loss spectrum was particularly intriguing. Major marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy faced significant downturns. Google.co.uk and UK government websites, which undergo regular content modifications, also appeared on the loser list but should probably be discounted due to frequent content alterations.
Independent.co.uk and theguardian.com were in the spotlight in the realm of news media. Independent.co.uk ascended to become the 48th most visible domain in the UK, climbing from the 60th spot since March. Conversely, The Guardian lost some ground this time but remained in a net positive position for the year. The news media sector, as a whole, saw marginal net changes.
Regarding retail, the effects of the Core Update were rather distributed. Argos.co.uk showed significant improvements, particularly in their category landing pages. For example, their air fryer filter URL witnessed noteworthy ranking enhancements. Overall, the retail sector experienced a minor net loss.
For those who notice a drop in their search rankings post-update, immediate action is advised. Key remedial steps include auditing existing content to ensure it meets Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) criteria and a comprehensive SEO audit. Optimizing page speed and ensuring mobile-friendliness can enhance user experience and consequently impact search traffic. A focus on gaining a high-quality backlink list from reputable industry players through guest posts and influencer collaborations is also advisable.
In an era of constant algorithmic evolution, Gamit SEO aims to help you face these challenges through its structured approach, serving as a trustworthy partner. With SEO no longer about guesswork but strategic adaptation, keeping abreast of the latest trends and updates is imperative for maintaining competitive search rankings. With significant experience in the field, we are qualified to recover your lost ranking, if necessary, quickly.
I am the president and co-founder of GAMIT. My business administration background is important in understanding our client’s necessities, so my expertise includes building comprehensive and all-inclusive SEO strategies for lead results. Our advanced SEO solutions are developed through extensive analysis and complete SEO improvement audits.