Google rolled out a new core algorithm update in March, the first in 2023. The changes have significant implications for the search rankings of web pages. Search engine optimization (SEO) experts must know these implications to keep their clients competitive. Developers implemented the changes for 13 days, from March 13 to 28. The core algorithm update also aims to improve how the systems assess overall content and boost the rankings of under-rewarded sites.
March 2023 Core Update
Google regularly implements changes to boost its understanding and ranking of web pages. With the new updates, the search engine aims to provide increasingly relevant, high-quality results. However, the updates changed how Google evaluates and ranks sites, which means website owners and SEO experts must adapt their strategies accordingly. The following are the crucial pointers about the update to keep in mind:
Monitor critical metrics: Website owners must closely monitor their site’s organic search traffic and keyword rankings. Doing so can help them gauge the update’s impact and find potential areas for improvement.
Be patient: Remember that you may not immediately notice the effects of core algorithm updates. You might have to wait for days or weeks for the search engine crawlers to index and reassess search results.
Quality remains crucial: Google rolled out a new update to provide users with better search results. That means consistently developing and publishing valuable content to address your target audience’s needs.
Don’t neglect technical aspects: Remember that technical factors significantly determine the overall ranking of a webpage. Give enough attention to mobile-friendliness, site speed, and proper indexing to stay on top of the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Other Notable Effects of the Core Update
Other notable effects of the new core update include the following:
Penalty: There are no penalty updates since the changes are focused on promoting or rewarding web pages that fit the new algorithm.
Target: The core update affects all types of content.
Scope: The new update is global, affects all regions, and is effective in all languages.
Features: The updates affect all of Google’s features, including featured snippets, Discover, and more.
Like any previous Google core update, the new changes reward websites that practice experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EEAT). They also pay attention to sites with high-quality content and an improved user experience. That means websites that fail to hit the criteria or use black hat SEO will see significant drops in ranking. Moreover, this recent update does not target specific types of websites. It only aims to improve the quality of the search results and provide relevant pages by thoroughly assessing the web content.
How to Know If the Update Affected Your Website’s SEO Strategy
SEO experts, marketers, and website owners can check the list below to assess how the core update affected their websites.
Note the time and date when your pages dropped or rose in traffic or ranking. If your rankings or traffic changed within a day or two of the rollout, then it is highly likely Google’s algorithms have changed how they evaluate your content.
However, consider other external factors that can also impact your rankings before concluding that ranking changes resulted from the core update. These factors include website updates, landing page optimizations, or other significant changes on your site. These considerations can also cause a drop or rise in traffic.
After the core update, you can determine what your website is missing by conducting a competitor analysis. You can study your competitors manually or using SEO tools like Ahrefs, SE Ranking, or Semrush. When analyzing your direct rivals, check what they are doing that you still need to do. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do they have a more effective link-building campaign than you?
Do they have better content relevant to your target audience than what you have on your site?
Do they have things you can add to or improve on your website?
Do they have better keyword coverage for your services or products?
You gain valuable insights to inform strategic decisions and enhance your online presence by thoroughly evaluating your competitors.
Additionally, you should check your Google Search Console performance tab. Doing so lets you determine if your impressions and clicks changed for specific landing pages. If you notice significant drops after the rollout date, the change can result from the update. For this reason, you must check any affected keywords or landing pages. You must also use the search appearance filter to know which rich results appear on your site. This information can help you determine what keyword clusters or specific areas of your website were hit by the update.
You can also check your Google Analytics profile and combine its data with the information you found on Google Search Console. This strategy lets you see what content or website aspects you need to improve. Check your landing page report under the behavior category. Then, narrow down the data by filtering the results by organic traffic. You can look for the issues you found using the Google Search Console data.
What SEO Experts Must Do After the Update
Like always, Google did not offer detailed information about its new core algorithm update. As a result, there are no specific procedures for optimizing your site following this update. However, there are simple things you can do to ensure your content still ranks high even after the rollout. Google rewards sites that practice EEAT, which means maintaining high-quality content is still crucial today. Read below to learn more SEO tips after the core update.
Avoid Black Hat SEO Practices
Websites using these black hat SEO tactics may experience inconsistent results. Since they do not offer valuable and relevant answers to users, these sites can only experience spikes in primarily superficial traffic. Moreover, Google may penalize websites that practice black hat SEO. Common black hat practices include:
Using hidden headings, links, or texts
Cloaking URLs or content
Websites using these methods will experience a short visibility boost but eventually drop off the SERPs. They do not provide anything relevant to users and will lose any attention they collect over time.
Think of User Experience
User experience remains one of the relevant factors search engines consider when ranking content. This factor is user-centric, which Google continues to prioritize and advocate for. If you want high online engagement, you want site visitors to be able to navigate your website easily. Check out the following recommendations for starting a website to ensure a positive user experience:
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
Avoid using pop-ups or other intrusive advertisements
Improve page speed
Consider accessibility and navigation
Provide High-quality Content
Remember that search engines like Google place a lot of weight on relevant and high-quality content. EEAT has played a crucial role in how content ranks on Google’s SERP for years. Double-check and see if your website has issues that could affect your ranking, such as readability issues, keyword stuffing, duplicate, scraped, and irrelevant content.
If you struggle to refresh your old work or generate new relevant content, you can use generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to get started. You do not have to limit yourself to using ChatGPT for Gmail only. This tool can help save time and effort when updating your content. However, remember that AI tools are never 100 percent accurate. It would be best not to rely on generative AI tools alone, so add your unique insight and expertise to what they produce.
For example, a startup in Hong Kong can use AI content creation tools to get a list of blog ideas to publish unique posts relevant to their audience. The company can even hire Hong Kong SEO professionals who can do this task to ensure their content’s quality.
Monitor Site Metrics
Remember to monitor critical metrics so you will have an idea of the performance of your SEO campaigns. Doing so will allow you to check if there are any significant changes in page visitors, time on the page, sessions, and keyword positioning.
SEO Strategy in 2023 – Get Ahead of the SEO Competition
Remember that Google will always be user-centric. For instance, this new update is being rolled out to boost user satisfaction and user-relevant content to the top of the SERPs. If you are one of the countless SEO experts scrambling after the core update, it is time to step back and develop a new optimization plan. This update calls for a thorough re-evaluation of your website and an analysis of where to improve. Shift your focus to getting the quality of your content and website to the next level.