November 2023 Google Core Algorithm Update Rolls Out

Google has announced the November 2023 core algorithm update has started rolling out.

The November 2023 core update follows hot on the heels of the impactful October core update.

The update will take two weeks to fully roll out and marks the fourth core algorithm update of 2023 and the third update in just 72 days.

As is tradition, Google announced the November 2023 core update through the Google Search Central Twitter account:

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

Related to this, we’ve posted a Q&A on Google Search updates as a refresher about how updates work.

Key points

  • The update comes 28 days after the October 2023 core update
  • This is the third core update in 72 days
  • This is the fourth core update of 2023
  • The update is expected to take two weeks to roll out
  • Sites that are impacted are advised to refer to Google’s core update guidance
  • Google will update their official ranking release page when complete

How core updates work

Core updates are an integral part of Google’s efforts to show the most relevant and helpful content to users.

Google uses search ranking systems to generate the search results, core updates are when Google makes improvements to those ranking systems in an ongoing effort to improve the quality and integrity of results.

  • Core updates typically occur 3-4 times per year
  • Core updates are universal and target all industries, niches, and languages
  • Sites that lose traffic or rankings have not been ‘penalised’
  • A change in rankings does not mean that any of Google’s guidelines or policies have been violated.
  • Core updates are designed to improve the search experience for users by removing spam and ensuring high-quality results.
  • Newer sites that have been working away in-line with Google’s guidelines with little reward to this point may see significant improvement through a core update.
  • On the flip side, sites that have been over-rewarded may see a levelling out through a core update.

Why is Google releasing another core update so quickly?

The last core update from Google occurred four weeks ago to the day, so why is Google releasing another update?

Google updated the Q&A on Google Search updates on Thursday, November 2, 2023 with the following advice around why two core updates have happened in such quick succession:

“We have different systems that are considered core to our ranking process; this month’s core update involves an improvement to a different core system than last month. However, our guidance about core updates is the same for both.”

Core updates typically happen 3-4 times per year, so it’s unusual for Google to release another core update just four weeks since the last one. It’s even more unusual when you consider that there was just over six weeks between the August 2023 core update and the one that occurred in October.

In our experience, when Google releases two updates in quick succession, they can sometimes be reversing some of the changes that occurred through a previous update. That is to say that some of the big shifts that were seen in the October 2023 core update (positive or negative for site owners) may see a slight reversal during this time.

From the results and fall out that we witnessed, Google’s October 2023 core update was the most significant core update in the last two years. To us, it makes sense that Google may be correcting some of the large shifts that occurred during this update. However, this is only speculation.

Google releases core updates as a way to ensure the quality of search results. The November 2023 core update is another step towards ensuring Google provides the best experience for users by reducing spam and rewarding high-quality, helpful content.

Wrapping up

The November 2023 core update is the fourth update of 2023 and the third update in just 72 days. Expect to see widespread instability across the search results over the coming two weeks as Google makes changes to their ranking systems which will impact search results.

If you are impacted over the coming weeks, we would encourage you to wait until the update concludes before making any major changes. Given that the Black Friday and Holiday period are around the corner and Google tries to avoid algorithm changes during this time, there is a good change that this will be the final update of 2023.

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