October 2023 has seen the roll-out of another major Core Update from Google, bringing significant changes that continue to shape the landscape of search engine optimization (SEO).
As always, Google’s continuous mission to deliver better, more relevant search results has sparked another series of refinements to its search algorithm — and it’s up to us to adapt.
What is a Core Update?
Before diving into the specifics of the October 2023 update, let’s quickly understand what core updates are:
- Core updates are major changes to Google’s search algorithms.
- They are not focused on fixing bugs or making minor tweaks but aim to improve the overall quality of search results.
- Google releases core updates several times a year, each with its unique focus. The updates before October, the August core update, and the September helpful content update focused on improving local search results, while this one has broader implications.
Now, let’s dissect the key components of the October 2023 Core Update:
What Changes Were Made in October 2023?
First off, the update brought about a more intense focus on website quality, specifically in terms of content.
Google is now more stringent in evaluating content quality, relevance, and authenticity. This means that websites with original, well-researched, and valuable content have a better chance of climbing up the SERP ladder.
Second, the update saw a shift in how Google handles backlinks.
The reputation and relevance of the linking site now matter more than ever. A backlink from a high-authority, relevant website now carries more weight than numerous links from lower-quality or unrelated sites.
User experience is playing a more central role. Factors such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, and usability now hold more influence in determining your site ranking.
October also saw the release of the spam update, which aims to crack down on spammy or manipulative tactics that attempt to boost rankings. It was designed to clean up several types of spam that Google community members reported in Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and other languages.
The goal is to reduce the visible spam in search results, particularly when it comes to cloaking, hacked, auto-generated, and scraped spam.
Here’s a summary of what went down in the latest round:
1. User Experience Matters Above All
Google has always emphasized user experience, but this update takes it a step further. Websites that provide a smooth and enjoyable experience for visitors are now favored. This includes factors like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and accessibility.
2. Content Quality Is Still and Always King
Quality over quantity is the main mantra. Websites with well-researched, informative, and engaging content rise in search rankings. Thin, duplicate, or low-value content may see a drop in rankings.
3. E-A-T Takes Center Stage
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) have been Google’s guidelines for some time. The October 2023 update places even greater importance on E-A-T. Websites and content creators with strong E-A-T signals are rewarded.
4. Local SEO Gets a Boost
Local businesses have reason to rejoice because Google’s October update gives more weight to local search signals. This means improved visibility for businesses catering to local audiences.
5. Link Quality Over Quantity
Building high-quality backlinks remains crucial. Google now scrutinizes the source and relevance of backlinks more closely. Spammy or irrelevant links may hurt your rankings.
6. Enhanced AI and Machine Learning Helps
Google’s algorithms are getting smarter. The October 2023 update incorporates advanced AI and machine learning techniques. This helps in understanding user intent and delivering more accurate search results.
How Should You Adapt?
In response to these changes, SEO professionals must focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that addresses user intent.
Prioritizing user experience, content quality, and E-A-T is paramount for maintaining or improving search rankings. Neglecting these fundamentals can significantly impact your online visibility.
Quality content is the linchpin of SEO success. To bolster your search rankings, invest in high-quality, well-researched content while diligently avoiding thin or duplicate content.
Local businesses stand to benefit from this update, as Google places greater importance on local search signals. By focusing on local SEO strategies, you can enhance your online presence and connect with potential customers in your area.
Google 2023 Core Update: FAQs
We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about the October 2023 Algorithm Update:
What does the October 2023 update mean for new websites?
If you’re launching a new website post-update, it’s essential to focus on quality right from the onset. Ensuring your site offers a seamless user experience, features high-quality, original content, and follows E-A-T guidelines (now with an added E for Experience) will set you on the right path. Also, remember that building reputable and relevant backlinks is vital for your site’s visibility.
How will the update affect already-established websites?
For existing websites, the update might mean a sudden change in rankings, especially if they previously relied heavily on link quantity over quality or if their content doesn’t meet Google’s new standards. Conduct a thorough site audit to identify areas that need improvement and align with the updated guidelines.
Are there specific industries or niches that will be more affected by the update?
While the update applies to all websites equally, industries that have traditionally struggled with E-A-T (such as healthcare or finance) may see more significant changes. Google’s increased focus on expertise, authority, and trustworthiness could impact these “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL) sites more profoundly. It’s more important than ever for such sites to demonstrate their credibility and authority.
How long will it take to see the impact of the October 2023 update on my site’s rankings?
The speed at which you’ll see changes in your site’s rankings depends on various factors, including the size of your website, how often Google crawls it, and the extent of changes you’ve made in response to the update. You may begin to notice fluctuations in your site’s ranking within a few days of the update, while for others, it may take a few weeks. Monitor your site’s performance regularly to understand the impact better and make necessary adjustments.
Can I recover if my site’s ranking drops after the update?
Absolutely, recovery is feasible even if your site’s ranking drops after the update. The key is identifying the areas where your website falls short of the new guidelines and taking corrective action. It could involve enhancing the quality of your content, improving user experience, or building high-quality backlinks. Regular audits, continuous optimization, and staying abreast of Google’s updates can aid in a swift recovery and help maintain your site’s visibility in search results.
In summary, the October 2023 Google Algorithm Update introduces several substantial changes to SEO and online visibility:
- Google places a higher premium on user experience, content quality, and E-E-A-T signals.
- Local businesses have an opportunity to shine with improved local SEO signals.
- High-quality backlinks and content are more crucial than ever.
- AI and machine learning play a more prominent role in search results.
- SEO best practices are vital for maintaining or enhancing search rankings.
User Experience Reigns
It’s crucial to keep up with these updates to stay competitive. To navigate the algorithm updates effectively and maintain your online presence, consider working with professionals specializing in SEO.
The Markitors team can assist you in adapting to these changes and staying ahead in the SEO game. We offer tailored SEO solutions to help your website rank higher on SERPs and attract relevant traffic.
Contact us today to learn how we can help your business thrive amidst these changes.