Google’s August 2023 Broad Core Update: How it Affects Your Website

It’s here. After weeks of reported search volatility (going back as early as May), we see an official announcement for the August 2023 Google Core Update.

Launched on the 22nd, and with a rollout expected to last at least two weeks, webmasters can expect to see some changes—whether big or small—in their rankings very soon.

If you’re seeing a dip, don’t worry. The guidelines for website owners are the same as always, and I’ve prepared a quick checklist to go through to help your website recover.

August 2023 Google Core Update

Google Core Updates play an important role in how websites will be ranked and displayed in the search results. 

As of writing this article marks the second week since the rollout started of the said Google core update that started last August 22, 2023. 

This is the second broad core algorithm update for this year, after the March 2023 core update, which took 2 weeks to finish its full rollout. I expect this one to take the same amount of time. 

What to Know About the August 2023 Core Update

As Google continues to fully roll out the core update, here are some of the important things you need to know about it:

It will target all types of content – blogs, images, etc.
It will impact Google Discover and other features, such as featured snippets.
It is not a penalty but a reward for great web pages instead.
It is a global update that will affect all regions and languages.
It will take about two weeks to roll out fully.

Recovery post-update is not guaranteed, continuous website improvement is a must.

The August 2023 core update from Google aims to improve how the search engine delivers results to users. This update has the potential to significantly affect the performance of websites, making it important for SEO professionals and webmasters like us to keep an eye on how our websites perform as this core update rolls out. 

Unlike other updates, this one is holistic and updates how Google reviews websites as a whole. This means if your website has been affected, it doesn’t necessarily point to any one mistake—it’s just that there are now other pages that Google thinks provide more value than yours, based on its new ranking guidelines. 

Google’s ranking release history page shows us when this update started, officially. I recommend checking it now and then to see when the update is finished. 

What to do after the August 2023 Core Update?

It depends. If your pages are seeing a boost in rankings, then that’s great—it means your SEO is being rewarded.

If you’re seeing some volatility, then it’s time to review your website as a whole to determine if it’s being caused by the core update or some other things you might have changed on your website (coincidentally at the same time.) 

No need to panic, since Google themselves have provided their advice on how to manage this:

It’s important to understand that a drop in rankings doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your web pages
Google also provided a list of questions to reflect upon if your site experiences a core update impact. I summarized the official Google advice on core update recovery in another post.
It’s worth noting that while minor recoveries in rankings may occur between core updates, the most significant changes typically happen after subsequent core updates.

Google’s Advice for Boosting Page Rankings After the August 2023 Core Update 

Google advises websites to self-assess their content since the focus of organic search should be on delivering relevant answers and resources to users.

Take a look at your worst-performing pages, and ask yourself these questions:

Does my content meet the user’s search intent?
Does my content provide original information or analysis?
Does the content have any spelling or stylistic issues?
Is my content easy to understand?
Is my content trustworthy, and does it reference other authoritative sources?
Was my content written with the user and their experience on my page in mind?
Was my content written by someone who knows the given topic?
Do my on-page factors (such as title tag and headings) provide a descriptive, cohesive, and helpful summary of my content?
Is the content mass-produced or spammy?

The bottom line that Google is getting to is this: make sure that you have a high-quality website that provides high-quality content. Follow that, and you should be fine.

I also suggest that you check out the SEO checklist and helpful content update guide that I prepared, which cover the best practices to help your website recover its rankings. 

Impact and Recovery after a Core Update

Ranking fluctuations and impact post-update seem normal, and what we’re seeing is similar to the last core update. Lots of SERP volatility. 

I predict that the trend for volatility will also be similar to what we saw in March—volatility will be highest within the first week, before slowly settling and returning to normal around days 12-14.

After that, what we can expect in the next week or two is Google launching another update reversal to roll back any elements that have led to “bad” search results during the update rollout.

I can only speak for myself, we are fortunate that we have not seen any of our current clients being directly impacted by the August 2023 core update. Even most of our clients have seen positive patterns in their rankings, but I believe this is a result of our continuous optimizations versus a direct impact from the core update.

And now if you are negatively affected by the August 2023 core update, have some patience, as it will typically take several weeks or months for pages to recover rankings lost due to a core update if your website improvements warrant it.

Remember that Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms. It may release minor updates between the broad core updates that can positively impact pages that have made changes in the meantime.

Key Takeaway

As I have always said—SEO is a long game. It means you will have to constantly update your website and keep up with any algorithm changes to ensure your website meets what Google is always looking for: a trustworthy website that provides valuable answers for users. So when Google comes up with an update, that just means you have to reevaluate how you’re providing that value to your audience.

So if you consistently strive to make your website highly relevant through the right methods, then there’s no need to be alarmed by the August 2023 Core Update.

As an SEO specialist, I’m closely monitoring the impact of this update and will update this post when I find anything noteworthy regarding search trends or other relevant factors.

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