Improving Site Ranking After the Google Core Update (Nov. 2023)

Google finished rolling out the November 2023 Core Update, which is a significant milestone in their algorithm journey, and has left a few Core Update effects in its wake.

Mastering the latest Google Core Update is essential for staying ahead of the competition and making sure your website’s visibility in search results. By understanding the intricacies of these updates and implementing effective SEO strategies, you can maintain and improve your website’s search rankings.

This article delves into the key aspects of the Google algorithm update impacts, and strategies for improving site rankings in light of these changes.

Jacqueline Foster
Demand Generation Marketing, Lever.co

We can count on them to bring new ideas to the table consistently

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What Are Google Core Updates?

A Core Update, also known as Google search updates, are significant changes to the search algorithm that can impact website rankings, with the aim of enhancing search results and user experience. These updates occur multiple times a year and are often announced by Google Search Central:

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With an average of thirteen algorithm modifications daily, amounting to over 4,745 alterations annually – and over 5,000 in 2021 – site owners need to keep abreast of these updates.

Why Does Google Implement Core Updates?

The primary purpose of Google’s Updates is to refine the search algorithm so that users receive the most relevant and high-quality search results. These updates target link spam and other manipulative tactics to maintain a fair and accurate ranking system.

Maintaining rankings in the changing search landscape is possible for website owners who adhere to Google’s guidelines for quality content, such as demonstrating expertise and providing evidence in high quality reviews as per Google E-E-A-T:

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How Do Core Updates Affect Website Rankings?

Core Updates can cause fluctuations in website rankings, with some sites experiencing improved visibility while others may see a decline. This is because Google’s search algorithms are constantly refined to provide better search results for users.

The Google Update impact on traffic was a decrease in website visibility and can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as:

  • inadequate content quality
  • suboptimal user experience
  • lack of credibility
  • inadequate mobile-friendliness

Websites that attempt to manipulate search engines through spammy tactics will likely also see a decrease in visibility due to a spam update.

What Is the Difference Between a Google Update and a Google Core Update?

While Google Updates are small modifications to the search algorithm, Core Updates are substantial changes that can have a significant effect on search rankings:

  • Google updates are smaller, more frequent changes that are made to address specific issues or improve the overall performance of the search algorithm. These updates are typically announced in advance, and they usually do not have a significant impact on search rankings.
    • Examples of Google Updates include Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.
  • Google core updates, on the other hand, are larger, less frequent changes that are made to fundamentally change the way that Google evaluates and ranks websites. These updates are not typically announced in advance, and they can have a significant impact on search rankings.
    • Examples of Core Updates include the Medic Update, BERT, and the November 2023 Core Algorithm Update.
table comparing Google core update with Google update

Monitoring industry news and discussions, along with official announcements from Google regarding recent updates, will help determine if a change in your website’s ranking is due to a Google Update or a Google Core Update.

Understanding the November 2023 Core Update

The November 2023 Core Update is a significant change to Google’s search algorithm, focusing on promoting high-quality content and improving search results.

Keeping updated about these changes and modifying your website’s content and SEO strategies accordingly is key to maintaining and enhancing your search rankings.

Key Characteristics

The November 2023 Core Update, also known as a broad core update, builds upon previous core updates by emphasizing the promotion of valuable content from a variety of sources and the refinement of content assessment systems.

By prioritizing informative and authoratative content for the user over content created exclusively to rank well in the SERPs, this update aims to make certain that people receive the most relevant and high-quality results.

Impact on Google Search Rankings

This update brought significant fluctuations in search rankings, impacting websites differently based on various factors. While some websites witnessed a boost in their search visibility, others faced a decline, underscoring the ever-evolving nature of Google’s search ranking algorithms.

Consider the case of a hypothetical online health and wellness platform, “WellBeing Central.” Prior to the November 2023 Core Update, “WellBeing Central” had moderate visibility in the SERPs, focusing mainly on general health tips and advice.

However, following the update, they saw a decline, so they decided to revamp their content strategy, with a stronger emphasis on relevance, authenticity and user needs:

  • Optimizing Review Content: “WellBeing Central” started incorporating more user-generated content, such as genuine reviews and testimonials about health products and services. This not only enhanced the authenticity of their content but also aligned well with Google’s preference for user-focused, valuable content.
  • Refining Ranking Systems: The platform also improved its internal content ranking system. They implemented an algorithm that prioritized articles and advice based on user engagement and feedback, ensuring that the most valuable and sought-after content appeared prominently.
  • Tailoring Content to User Needs: Understanding their audience better, “WellBeing Central” began producing more personalized content. They developed articles and resources that addressed specific health concerns of their users, ranging from nutrition advice for different health conditions to mental wellness tips during challenging times.

Post-update, “WellBeing Central” saw a notable increase in their search engine visibility. Their pages started ranking higher for relevant search queries, and they experienced a surge in organic traffic.

This improvement was largely attributed to their strategic alignment with the core aspects emphasized by the November 2023 Core Update: relevance, user-focus, and authenticity in content.

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Strategies for Adapting to Google Core Updates

Based on the hypothetical example above, you can see that it’s not difficult to adapt to this new Google search update. But let’s break it down into the SEO strategies businesses should implement to maintain and improve their website’s search rankings.

Conduct Regular Website Audits

Regular website audits are key to identifying and rectifying potential SEO issues like technical errors, content quality, and backlink profiles.

This practice allows you to keep updated with the latest SEO best practices and make necessary adjustments to keep your website competitive and relevant in the context of Google Core Updates.

Prioritize High-Quality Content

Focusing on high-quality content that caters to user needs is essential for maintaining and improving search engine rankings:

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This involves creating unique, engaging, and informative content that is optimized for relevant keywords and search intent.

Avoiding spammy tactics, such as keyword stuffing and low-quality backlinks, can help your website stay in line with Google’s guidelines and improve its organic search visibility.

Optimize On-Page SEO Elements

Optimizing on-page SEO elements such as meta descriptions, title tags, headers, and internal linking is key to boosting your website’s search rankings:

SEO title tag examples for SaaS Pages, key for Google core update

These elements aid search engines in better understanding your content and enhancing your website’s search visibility.

Additionally, the effective use of keywords in your content can have a positive impact on your website’s ranking after a Google Core Update.

Build a Diverse Backlink Profile

A diverse backlink profile consists of high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites, which helps improve your website’s search rankings. To build an effective backlink profile, you should:

  • Prioritize quality over quantity
  • Develop link-worthy content
  • Establish relationships with other website owners or bloggers in your niche
  • Adhere to best practices for backlinking

Regularly auditing your backlink profile and removing low-quality or spammy backlinks can help ensure that your website’s rankings are not negatively impacted by Google’s updates.

Enhance User Experience

User experience plays a vital role in influencing SEO rankings, as search engines use user-engagement metrics in their algorithms. Providing an optimal user experience on your website involves focusing on elements such as:

  • Usefulness
  • Usability
  • Consistency
  • Security
  • Accessibility
  • Credibility
  • Personalization
  • Value

Remember, Google rolled out its latest update to emphasize the importance of user experience by striving to improve the web-browsing experience and prioritize websites that offer a superior user experience.

Focus on Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a set of three metrics that measure the speed, interactivity, and visual stability of a webpage:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the time it takes for the largest content element on a page to load. Ideally, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds for a good user experience.
  • First Input Delay (FID): Measures the time it takes for a browser to respond to a user interaction, such as clicking a button or tapping a link. Ideally, FID should be less than 100 milliseconds for a smooth and responsive user experience.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures the amount of unexpected layout shift that occurs on a page as it loads. Ideally, CLS should be less than 0.1 for a stable and predictable user experience.
core web vitals important to Google core update

These metrics are essential for delivering an excellent user experience and are therefore considered important ranking factors by search engines, making them a key component of any SEO strategy.

Enhancing Core Web Vitals can result in improved search engine rankings and a superior user experience.

Adapt to Search Intent

An effective SEO strategy involves understanding and optimizing for search intent, as this makes sure that your content aligns with the purpose or motivation behind a user’s online search.

The four types of search intent are:

  • Informational: Users are looking for information or answers to their questions.
  • Navigational: Users are looking for a specific website or webpage.
  • Transactional: Users are looking to make a purchase or complete a specific action.
  • Commercial: Users are researching products or services before making a decision.
search intent re Google core update

By analyzing user interactions with search engine results pages (SERPs) and considering keywords and content, Google can provide the most helpful and reliable results for each search query.

Optimizing your content to match the search intent of your target audience can help increase your website’s visibility and relevance in search engine results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Google Core Update

After one of Google’s Core Updates, it is important to avoid some common mistakes that can negatively impact your website’s search rankings. Let’s take a look at these mistakes.

Overreacting to Ranking Fluctuations

  • Mistake: Reacting hastily to ranking fluctuations after a core Google search update can prompt unnecessary or unbeneficial changes to your website.
  • Solution: It is important to take a measured and informed approach to SEO, analyzing the impact of the update and making strategic adjustments based on data and best practices. This will yield better results in the long term.

Ignoring Google’s Guidelines

  • Mistake: Disregarding Google’s guidelines following a Core Update may result in decreased rankings, crawling and indexing difficulties, disregarded links, potential penalties, and loss of rankings.
  • Solution:Adhering to these guidelines ensures that your website is in sync with the updated algorithm and maintains its visibility and ranking in search.

Relying Solely on Algorithmic Solutions

  • Mistake: Relying solely on algorithmic solutions after a Google Core Update can be detrimental, as the update can significantly alter website rankings and traffic. Algorithms are subject to frequent changes and relying solely on them may not account for the specific modifications introduced by the update.
  • Solution:It is essential to modify and make strategic adjustments to your SEO strategy to accommodate the alterations caused by the update.

Future-Proofing Your SEO Strategy

First and foremost, keeping abreast of Google search updates and understanding their implications is crucial. This not only helps in making immediate adjustments but also aids in strategizing for future updates.

Remember that SEO is not static, and neither are Google’s algorithms. Embracing new trends, such as the integration of AI in search (as seen in the BERT update) and the rising importance of search generative experience, is essential.

Be sure to conduct regular audits of your website to identify areas of improvement and align your strategies with Google’s evolving standards.

Last Word on the November 2023 Google Update

Mastering the latest Core Update from Google involves understanding the intricacies of these updates, monitoring their impact on search rankings, and effectively adapting SEO strategies.

By prioritizing these elements, businesses can ensure their website remains visible and relevant in the ever-evolving world of search engine optimization.

  • Focus on high-quality content
  • Optimize on-page SEO elements
  • Build a backlink profile
  • Enhance user experience
  • Focus on core web vitals
  • Adapt to search intent

If you need help tackling the challenge of online visibility and increasing your organic traffic, Single Grain’s SEO experts can help!👇

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Google Core Update FAQs

  • What is the latest Google Core update 2023?

    The latest Google Core update was the November 2023 core update, which started rolling out on November 2, 2023, and was completed on November 28, 2023. This update focused on improving search quality and reducing spam in search results. This was the fourth core update of 2023, following the August, October, and November updates.

    If you are concerned about how the November core update may have impacted your website, there are a few things you can do:

    • Review your content: Make sure your content is high-quality, original, and relevant to your target audience.
    • Check your technical SEO: Use tools like Google Search Console to check for any technical issues that may be affecting your website’s ranking.
    • Monitor your website traffic: Keep an eye on your website traffic to see if there are any significant changes after the update.
  • What is a Google core update?

    A Google core update is a broad and significant change to the algorithm that Google uses to rank websites in the SERPs. These updates are designed to improve the overall quality of search results by rewarding websites that provide high-quality, relevant, and helpful content.

    These core updates typically occur several times a year, usually every few months. However, the exact frequency of updates can vary depending on Google’s assessment of the need for changes. In recent years, Google has been increasing the frequency of core updates, with an average of four or five updates per year.

  • What is the primary purpose of Google Core Updates?

    The primary purpose of Google Core Updates is to improve the overall quality of search results and provide users with the best possible experience.

    Google’s goal is to ensure that its search results are relevant, helpful and trustworthy, and core updates are designed to achieve this goal by rewarding websites that provide high-quality content and prioritizing factors that contribute to a positive user experience.

  • How can I differentiate between a Google Update and a Google Core Update?

    Google Updates are typically small changes, while Core Updates involve major alterations to the search algorithm that can significantly alter rankings.

  • What strategies can I implement to adapt to Google Core Updates?

    To adapt to Google Core Updates, it is important to conduct regular website audits, prioritize high-quality content, optimize on-page SEO elements, build a diverse backlink profile, enhance user experience, focus on core web vitals, and align with search intent.

  • When were the recent Google Core Updates?

    Here is a timeline of some of the recent Google core updates:

    • November 2023
    • October 2023
    • August 2023
    • July 2023
    • May 2023
    • December 2022
    • November 2022
    • July 2022
    • June 2022
    • May 2022
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