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Google Algorithm Updates 2023: Detailed Analysis & SEO Recommendations
Discover the in-depth analysis of 2023 Google Algorithm updates with insights for improving site ranking. Explore our analysis, notably ranking trends & SEO recommendations.

Google Organic Update Summary

The following is a summary of Google algorithm updates through 4-7-2023. At Fruition we have a research team that analyzes SEO data across thousands of sites to make recommendations for our clients. The below info is a summary of big moves that correlate to a Google changes. You can monitor your own site with Fruition's Google Penalty Checker.

March 2023 Google Core Update

The March 2023 update was a Broad Core Algorithm Update, one of the largest and most influential types of update made by Google. Core updates affect all types of content in all regions and all languages. The intention of core updates is to promote and reward high-quality websites which were previously unfairly overlooked by the algorithm. It does not apply any penalties; if a site drops in rankings after the update, it does not necessarily mean that there was anything wrong with that site, only that other sites are better and have been raised above it.

What sites declined?

Also according to SISTRIX, and by the same criteria as the winners, large losers included reference sites which operate on the wiki model of user-generated content such as wiktionary.org, urbandictionary.com, tvtropes.org, wikivoyage.org, and azlyrics.com. Urban Dictionary and Wiki Voyage are notable for being among the largest losers both when measuring by absolute decline and by percentage decline, the only two sites on SISTRIX’s lists to do so.

(Again, keep in mind this data is for Google UK.)

What sites improved?

According to an analysis by the SEO company SISTRIX, which looked at data for Google UK searches, large winners (measured in terms of absolute change in Visibility Index, and only looking at stable and well-established domains) included official government sites such as company-information.service.gov.uk, next.co.uk, and europa.eu Also benefitting were news site theguardian.com; reference sites yourdictionary.com, dictionary.com, secondhandsongs.com, and whosampled.com; and commercial sites diy.com and superdrug.com.

(Note that this data is for Google UK only and may not necessarily apply to searches performed in other regions.)

SEO Strategies for the March 2023 Update

Because core updates do not impose penalties, recovering from a loss in ranking after on is not a simple matter of fixing something in particular that’s wrong with your site. Oftentimes, there may be nothing “wrong” at all – the drop is actually because other websites are even better and are being ranked accordingly. In their advice on dealing with core updates, Google emphasizes that there may be nothing in particular to fix, and that trying to fix the wrong thing is often worse than doing nothing at all. Rather than aiming for a fast and easy solution, the only way to recover ranking is to steadily improve the quality of your content until it is superior to that of the websites now ranking above yours. Google provides a number of guidelines for site owners looking to judge the quality, accessibility, and usefulness of their sites and identify areas for improvement.

Webmaster Tools Help

These include the Google Webmaster Guidelines and the Google Quality Rater Guidelines. In general, they involve ensuring the your content is written for humans rather than search engine crawlers; that it is written by someone with demonstrable experience, expertise, or authority; that it is presented in a professional manner that is compatible with multiple different types of viewing devices and is not overwhelmed by disruptive advertising; and that it provides additional value that cannot be found on other sites offering similar information. When your site is of superior quality to those competing for the same search terms, it will rise back above them in the rankings.

Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update February, 14 2023

People in the Search Engine Optimization community are reporting seeing signs of a potential Google algorithm update occurring on February 14, 2023 and March 14th, 2023. In addition to site owners providing anecdotal evidence of changes in traffic, a number of automated rank tracking tools are registering spikes in volatility occurring on that date. Google has not issued any statement to confirm or deny whether an update has taken place; this is standard procedure when it comes to small algorithm changes, as typically only the largest updates get officially announced.

Feb 2023 Update

Without confirmation from Google, it is not possible to know for certain whether this volatility is truly due to an update or whether it has some other cause. Under such circumstances, we recommend against making any sudden, drastic changes to your website in response to fluctuations in traffic. If the volatility turns out to only be temporary rather than a true update, hasty changes might end up harming rather than helping your site’s performance in the long run. If you see a significant and prolonged drop in rankings or traffic such that you believe taking action is absolutely necessary, any changes made should be done in accordance with Google’s webmaster guidelines. Because the guidelines lay out the criteria Google uses for judging if a website is high-quality, and because all Google updates have the goal of better delivering high-quality results to searchers, following the webmaster guidelines should always be beneficial regardless of the specific details of any particular update.

References
“Another Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Around February 14th” by Barry Schwartz. Search Engine Roundtable. February 15, 2023. https://www.seroundtable.com/google-search-ranking-algorithm-update-around-february-14th-34912.html

Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update January 14, 2022

People in the Search Engine Optimization community are reporting seeing signs of a potential Google algorithm update taking place on Saturday, January 14th. In addition to reports from site owners, a number of automated tracking tools such as Mozcast, SEMRush, and RankRanger recorded spikes in volatility taking place at that time. However, Google has not issued any official statement to confirm or deny whether an update has taken place.

Google Doesn't Mention the Jan Update

Without official confirmation from Google, it is not possible to know whether this truly is an algorithm update or whether the volatility has some other cause. Under such circumstances, Google recommends against making any sudden, drastic changes to your website in response. If it turns out not to be an update after all, such hasty modifications could end up harming rather than helping your site in the long run. If you see a significant and prolonged drop in rankings such that you believe taking action is absolutely necessary, any changes made should be done in accordance with Google’s webmaster guidelines. Because the webmaster guidelines lay out what criteria Google uses when determining if a site is high quality, and because all of Google’s updates are aimed at better delivering high-quality websites to searchers, the advice there should always be applicable for improving your site regardless of the specific details of any given update.

References
“Weekend Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update - Saturday, January 14” by Barry Schwartz. Search Engine Roundtable. January 16, 2023. https://www.seroundtable.com/saturday-weekend-google-search-ranking-algorithm-update-34750.html

Unconfirmed Algorithm Update January 3 2023

People in the search engine optimization community have reported seeing signs of a possible Google algorithm update on January 3rd and 4th of 2023. A number of automated rank tracking tools such as Cognitive SEO and SERPmetrics have also registered large spikes in volatility that could be indicative of an update. However, Google has not issued any statement to confirm or deny whether an update has taken place. Furthermore, two officially announced Google updates, the Helpful Content Update and the Link Spam Update, are still in the process of rolling out; therefore, it is not certain whether the current volatility is the result of a new update or comes from the continued implementation of those updates.

Jan Update Could be Seasonal Changes

In January 2023, there were rumors circulating about a potential Google algorithm update, but without official confirmation, it remains uncertain whether any actual changes were implemented or which of the several roll-outs could be causing the observed volatility. In such ambiguous situations, Google advises against making hasty, significant alterations to your website, as these might backfire and damage your rankings in the long run if it turns out there was no update. However, if you experience a substantial and persistent decline in rankings or traffic that demands action, ensure any modifications align with Google's Webmaster Guidelines, which outline the key factors Google considers in determining a website's quality. Moreover, given the close timing of the volatility with the releases of the Helpful Content Update and Link Spam Update, it is worth considering their potential role in the fluctuations and examining their specifics to determine if they are relevant to your site.

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