Google has announced the rollout of the August 2023 Broad Core Algorithm update. Kicking off on the 23rd August 2023, the latest core algorithm update from Google is expected to take two weeks to completely roll out.
The announcement followed weeks of speculation from within the SEO community who had been on high-alert with endless algorithm ranking fluctuations and an unusually long wait of 161 days since the last core algorithm update back on March 15th.
As is tradition, the announcement was made through Google’s Search Central Twitter account.
“Today we released the August 2023 core update. We’ll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete:”
How Broad Core Algorithm Updates Work
Google provides a comprehensive outline on their search central blog. However, for those that want a summarised version, here is what Google’s broad core algorithm updates mean for your website:
Overview of Google’s Core updates
- Google’s broad core updates happen 3-4 times a year (in general) and are a periodic improvement in the way that Google assesses content to provide the best possible search results for users.
- Whilst Google makes an unnumbered amount of small updates each year, the broad core updates are recorded in an official list of search ranking updates.
- Core updates are across the board. They do not affect a single industry or niche, they are universal and will impact all search results.
Function of Google’s Core Updates
- Pages that lose traffic through a broad core update have not been ‘penalised’
- If you notice a decline in website traffic pre and post broad core algorithm updates, this doesn’t mean that pages have violated any of Google’s ‘spam policies’.
- If you notice a decline in traffic, the advice from Google is to go back to those pages and look at ways that you can improve overall content quality in line with Google’s Search Rater Quality Guidelines which were updated back in December 2022 following the helpful content update.
- Some websites/pages may see a significant improvement through a core update as they were previously ‘under-rewarded’ and are now getting the recognition that they deserve in the form of increased SERP visibility.
How to Assess Your Website Content
If, like many, you have seen a downward trend in your website traffic or page performance in the wake of the August 2023 Broad Core Algorithm Update from Google, here are some things that you need to remember.
Pages that dropped in traffic or SERP visibility don’t necessarily need to be ‘fixed’. Google provides a similar example in regard to making updates to content to ensure relevancy, however, here is another example to think about.
- You had a web page that was performing extremely well for the search term “Best Places to Travel in Summer”. The thing is, this article was written back in 2019 before a global pandemic and before a dramatic shift in global travel restrictions.
- The title of the article was “Best Places to Travel in Summer 2019”.
- In the wake of the broad core update, you notice that the page has gone from ranking well for the general (non-year-specific) search term “Best Places to Travel in Summer” and has now dropped off into obscurity.
- If the article has not been updated with fresh information or you simply wish to keep this article as a time capsule that people can read in years to come, then you do not need to make any changes.
- If you wish to keep this article ranking for a highly-competitive search term such as “Best Places to Travel in Summer”, then you need to update the article with fresh content (likely removing a number of destinations and adding in some new ones) and ensuring that the content is relevant for users searching for an answer in 2023.
Remember, not all content needs to be updated. Pages may have been previously ranking for a number of search terms that they should not have been, and Google is now correcting those mistakes and rewarding other websites.
Assess your content on a page-by-page basis to ensure that you are making updates to your most important pages to ensure relevancy.
Recovering from A Broad Core Algorithm Update
As we mentioned, Google will release a Broad Core Algorithm Update 3-4 times each year. The most recent update came back in March 2023. If you have noticed a drop in traffic or rankings, here are some things that you need to keep in mind:
- The August 2023 Broad Core Algorithm Update will take two weeks to completely roll out.
- A lot can happen during an algorithm update, so it’s a good idea to abstain from dramatic changes until you see ‘where the ball lands’ so to speak.
- While the search community makes a big deal of broad core updates (and rightly so) there are thousands of small tweaks that occur each year.
- If you lose traffic through a broad core update, you have not done anything ‘wrong’, however, it is a good time to go back and assess content quality and look at ways that you can create content that delivers a better search experience for Google users.
- Focus on creating valuable content and steer clear of using AI in creating your content. As an SEO Agency, this is the biggest mistake that we are seeing at the moment.
Update: Google subsequently launched the October 2023 core algorithm update just 43 days after this update.