You may have heard through the grapevine that Google has released its latest Core update, which could see a change in the way SERPs are organised. However, there’s no need to panic; in this article we will explain what a Google Core update is, how it could affect web page rankings, and what to do if you suspect your pages may have been shifted down in the aftermath.
What is a Google Algorithm?
An algorithm is a set of rules used to solve a problem, and in Google’s case, the problem is which web page is needed out of the seemingly limitless possibilities - their algorithm needs to select the ones most relevant to the searcher’s query. So, when we talk about algorithms as we will below, this is what we mean.
What is a Google Core update?
It’s no secret that Google is constantly making tweaks to the way that it ranks webpages to get searchers to the one they need quickly. These changes to what is referred to as Google’s algorithm are made to keep up with the evolving needs of internet users.
Most changes are small and gradual, but every so often Google will roll out major changes, known as broad Core updates, which can have tangible effects on search results; these could make all the difference to the discoverability of your business.
In Google’s own words, their Core updates are designed to ‘deliver on their mission to present helpful and reliable results for searchers’. They keep business owners and SEOs like us on our toes, but it’s important to remember that they’re working to make searchers’ lives easier, which essentially means that your target customer can find you more easily if you’re doing the right things.
Does the August 2023 Google update affect web page rankings?
Google has been keen to stress that the aim of a core update isn’t to penalise pages that were not previously found to be falling foul of their spam policy, or subject to ‘algorithmic or manual action’; it is instead related to how their systems ‘access content overall’.
This essentially means that page rankings that have been negatively affected aren’t suddenly bad; they’ve just made way for newer, more relevant web pages; those higher pages are more ‘deserving’ of that higher place.
How will I know if my rankings are affected by a Google Core update?
Firstly,Google’s updates tend to take around 2 weeks to fully roll out, so it’s only in the wake of that period that you may see changes as a result. After this, you can begin to compare data using analytics software such as AHREFs, or Google’s own tools such as Search Console and Google Analytics 4. This should give you an idea of what pages need improvement, and you then know what to focus your SEO efforts on next.
What should I do if my rankings are affected by a Google Core update?
As we’ve alluded to, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with your web pages, even if their positions on SERPs have dipped following the August 2023 Google Coreupdate. However, as always, we’d strongly suggest making sure that your pagecontent is the best it can be.
Oneplace to start is by analysing the pages on which you can see a drop since the update and holding them against Google’s Self Assessment questions alongside the pages of competitors that may have pipped you to top spots. This is a kind of ‘best practice’ list for your content, so you can see where you may be falling down in comparison to those that outrank you.
How can I get help with my web page rankings?
The good thing is, Google is transparent about what content they like to see, and confidently ticking through their list of criteria will give you the best shot at getting into their good books.
However, in the midst of running a business, you may not have the time you’d like to dedicate to your SEO, and that’s where we come in. By having an experienced SEO team on board, not only can you hand over the job of keeping an eye on your rankings, particularly around Core updates like these, but it’s within our skillset (and our interest) to make the necessary improvements to those pages to get you back on top. Sound good? Chat with us today.