March 2023 Google Core Algorithm Update - cover image

Google has announced the March 2023 core algorithm update will begin rolling out from today – March 15th 2023 (GMT).

As is tradition with algorithm updates, Google announced the news through the Google Search Liaison Twitter account stating:

“Today we released the March 2023 core update. We’ll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete”

The March 2023 core update follows a relatively quiet period in the search engine results with the previous core update dating back to September 2022.

Predictions for the March 2023 Google Core Algorithm Update

Further down in this article, we’ll cover some general advice that you can refer to. However, for those that are looking for some insights into what this particular algorithm update means (and not just how to approach a core algorithm update), then here are some things that we are already seeing and believe will be a target of this update.

  • Exact match domains and partial match domains are overrepresented at the top of the search engine results across almost every industry – this has to change. We believe that there is going to be a correction on the performance of EMD and PMD websites at some point. Based on our early analysis across 60+ websites, exact and partial match domains appear to be the most volatile.
  • Websites that have been getting away with AI generated content will be caught out. Google announced back on the 9th of February that AI generated content that fits their helpful content approach could rank well in search. We don’t dispute the value of using AI content for gathering big data, however, we do think that websites that have been “getting away” with strictly AI generated content will be caught out.
  • Websites using thousands of links for web 2.0 properties and alike are going to be caught out. Since the last core algorithm update back in September 2022, we have seen websites in this category slowly creep back up the SERPs. Over the last few weeks, websites with thousands/hundreds of thousands of links have slowly started appearing again in the SERPs – we expect this to change.

As with any core algorithm update, the first few days are the most volatile. If your rankings are notably up or down, then it’s a good idea to sit on the changes for the next week or two before making any dramatic updates.

What is A Google Core Algorithm Update?

Google will announce a core algorithm update whenever they are making changes to the search results and ranking system that will have far reaching effects.

As we know, Google is constantly making small tweaks to search rankings which is why rankings and traffic can fluctuate from day to day. So, when it comes to announcing an update to make publishers aware – it means it is going to have a notable impact.

Unlike some of Google’s updates which impact specific niches or languages, core algorithm updates are universal.

Core Algorithm Update Essentials

• Core algorithm updates are universal and will impact all industries.
• Broad core updates are designed to improve the overall quality of results for users. If your website is noticeably up or down, then it means that your website is fulfilling that criteria – or it is not.
• Websites that focus on long-term, content-first SEO strategies that provide value to users are the most likely to see a positive impact from the updates.
• Core algorithm updates will typically occur anywhere from 2-4 times per year – but it is extremely difficult to predict when they will be.
• A drop in rankings does not mean that you have been handed a manual penalty of singled out by Google.
• Changes to ranking signals and factors can change the way that Google perceives your website – for the better or the worse.
• Keep an eye on your industry. The best thing that you can do to understand the results of the update.

What Is the Purpose of the March 2023 Core Update?

Core algorithm updates are designed to improve the quality of the search results for everyone. If you notice a significant change in your rankings, traffic, and overall visibility in Google’s organic search results, then there is a good chance that you’ve been caught and affected by the update.

Remember, Google is a business that relies on users purchasing their ads in order to survive. In order for users to continue to purchase ad space, they must maintain the best possible organic search engine results so that users continue to come back and rely on Google as their primary choice of search engine. By creating an experience that is positive for Google’s users, then you will be rewarded with more organic traffic.

My Rankings Are Down – What Should I Do?

Right now – nothing.

If your rankings are noticeably up or down, then sit tight for the next few days. What we often see with core algorithm updates is that they have an immediate, widespread impact before settling over the coming days and weeks. As we mentioned, core updates take two weeks to roll out which means that the preceding fortnight will be characterised by heightened search engine visibility as Google irons things out.

Once the dust settles, here is what you can do to ensure that you are not caught out by a core algorithm update:

• Create valuable content.
• Be a master of your niche – building topical authority is key.
• Do not create thin, low-quality content in the hope of winning easy traffic.
• Focus on spelling, grammar, and readability for users.
• Avoid keyword stuffing and over-optimising your on-page content.
• Avoid spammy link building tactics.

What Now?

As with any core algorithm update, the best thing that you can do now is sit tight. The March 2023 core update will take up to two weeks to roll out, so we don’t recommend making any big changes between now and then.

Assess the search results in your industry over the next two weeks to see where things land before making any conclusions. Keep an eye on competitors that “come out of nowhere” or do exceptionally well through this core update. By understanding their on-site and off-site strategy and how it differs from yours, you can get a better idea of what Google is looking for and what your website may be lacking.

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