All Google Updates in 2023 (And What’s Coming Next)

March 14, 2024

Google is a constantly evolving realm where algorithm updates must be followed by businesses and individuals alike to succeed. During 2023, it presented many changes to refine search experiences, prioritize user satisfaction, and enhance search results.

From core algorithm updates to advancements in artificial intelligence, the year unfolded with significant changes that shaped the online ecosystem.

Delving into these changes and analyzing all the updates can provide clarity amidst the new features that 2024 will bring. This will help companies predict, take action, and be prepared for any changes in both SEO and marketing.

What Were the Updates in 2023?

During the last year, nine algorithm updates were confirmed and launched by Google, as well as a new AI-related search engine, the Search Generative Experience. Addressing these changes is essential to see what has changed and what can be expected for this year.

Compared to previous years, Google doubled the number of core updates released up to four, split into March, August, October, and November, as well as other features launched during February, April, and September.

February Product Reviews Update

The Product Reviews Update, launched on February 21, 2023, and concluding on March 18, 2023, was the first of the last year. It affected product reviews and encouraged businesses to create more quality content providing helpful information.

The update was applied to more than ten languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese and Polish.

Update’s main goal was to filter out low-quality content with little to no value, such as generic and shallow information. This was done to give rich content more visibility, empowering reviews with actual insights based on experience and research.

March Broad Core Update

Released on March 15, 2023, the Broad Core Update was an essential algorithm update affecting all types of content in every language and region. These changes improved how systems assessed content overall.

This meant that pages used to be under-rewarded, and new features would make them receive better rankings in future searches. This didn’t target any specific sites or pages, meaning that any web could greatly benefit from it if it provides high-quality content.

While quality content is vital, offering a good user experience and strong E-E-A-T signals (experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) are also important.

April Review Update

Launched on April 12, the April review update was a significant algorithm change regarding product reviews, services, destinations, movies, gaming, and other related topics. It was essential for SEO and businesses that heavily relied on customers.

Its design focus was on improving user experience and search rankings, allowing users to find information from product and service reviews faster and simpler. Brands must demonstrate expertise, provide evidence, and help users make informed decisions.

This update was also one of the most volatile of the year. It affected almost every business and service and impacted more categories of review content than any other.

August Broad Core Update

This broad core update, focused on improving how Google assesses content overall, was launched on August 22. Modifications improved rankings for some pages that were previously under-rewarded and had the opposite effect for others.

Google supplied users with a list of guides and steps to consider for those who were negatively affected by this change, although there were no specifications for recovery. A decrease in rankings due to these types of updates doesn’t always mean that something is wrong.

September Helpful Content Update

The 14th marked the day Google released a Helpful Content Update focused on improving classifiers to identify helpful content. The SEO industry considered its impact very big, although volatility wasn’t as big as with previous ones.

While the previous update was underwhelming by Google standards, September featured great releases for the SEO niche rather than for average website owners.

Targeting SEO is meant to help searchers find high-quality content faster, rewarding those who provide better value. In contrast, the release aimed to downgrade websites that don’t promote accurate information and are written mainly by lifeless AI styles.

October Spam and Broad Core Update

October was marked by the release of two major updates released consecutively. The spam update will be on October 4, and the Broad Core one will be the following day.

The Spam Update utilizes automated systems and human reviewers to identify and demote useless or spammy sites. SpamBrain is one of these tools, which leverages AI and machine learning to stay ahead of the newest forms of spam.

Hidden text, links invisible to users, automatically generated content with no value, or pages overloaded with ads are some of the most common types of considered spam. Sites negatively impacted by this must review their strategies, and SEO plans to avoid it.

As for the Broad Core Update, these algorithm changes also had a lot of volatility and effect on websites. They caused significant movements in search rankings for brands, businesses, and organizations alike.

Just like any of the other core updates, the October one features new changes regarding the improvement of systems that assess content overall.

November Review and Broad Core Update

The last Google updates in 2023 were split into two parts during November. The first one was launched on November 2, with the Broad Core Update, meanwhile the Review Update released 6 days after.

The main goal of November’s core update was to keep improving valuable and dependable search results with a strong focus on users. This had an important impact on the overall traffic of sites.

Regarding the Review Update, these changes modified the review system, which made it updateable on an ongoing basis. Its primary focus was designed to reward high-quality reviews with insightful analysis, both made by enthusiasts and recognized experts.

The system evaluates the content on a page-level basis, focusing on blog posts, articles and content recommendations, as well as on opinions and analysis. This encouraged many site owners to refer to Google help page to create useful reviews.

What’s Expected for 2024?

There are high expectations for what’s coming next regarding Google updates. There were promising SEO changes last year that the algorithm is going to address, and part of it was already shown during the first core update of the year:

March Spam and Broad Core Update

Both updates were released on the same date only days ago (March 5), implementing very interesting changes and policies.

The Spam Update addressed recent complaints that Google’s SERPs were surfacing a lot of spammy results rather than valuable content. Google is currently working towards fighting three types of spam, which they categorized into:

  • Abuse of expired domains: it’s well-known that some people buy expired domains of sites that had a good reputation, and use them to build low-quality websites with the same URL, hoping to rank the same way.
  • Scaled content abuse: some website owners generate a lot of large pages with the sole purpose of manipulating search rankings rather than helping users. This often includes entirely AI content, which is also being heavily targeted by Google.
  • Site reputation abuse: adding low-quality third-party pages to a website that has a good reputation and ranks well on Google is considered spam. To avoid violating such a policy, users should block that content. The deadline for this is May 5, 2024.

The Google team and its machine learning tools are currently targeting all three types of spam abuse to avoid further issues with SERPs.

How Long Does Google Take for the Next Update?

Although Google is constantly developing and releasing updates to the search ranking algorithms, these changes are minimal. With the latest Core Broad Update released only a couple of days ago, it’s predicted that some months will pass until the next big release.

Google runs more than 600,000 experiments each year, developing new features and functionality systems to employ. These tools range from functional natural language processing search enhancements to BERT’s AI machine learning development.

The Future of SEO

Since the focus for this year will be centered on artificial intelligence, battling no-value content and spam, SEO is in the spotlight and might benefit significantly from such changes.

The future looks trending toward user-centric, ethical, and technically advanced SEO. AI and machine learning tools are being developed to better comprehend user intent and deliver better results. Meanwhile, AIs like ChatGPT are more conversational than ever.

Agencies like Kala can help businesses take advantage of Google’s AI-powered search experience (SGE) to create more engaging content that will appear at the top of SERPs.

These new changes will undoubtedly modify how users interact with search engines and how sites generate their impressions and traffic.

Conclusion

Google updates in 2023 brought significant shifts in search algorithms, user experience enhancements, and privacy measures.

From introducing AI-driven features to prioritize relevant content to reinforcing privacy protocols, Google continues to evolve its platform to better serve users and adapt to changing digital landscapes.

The emphasis seems to be further refining AI capabilities, enhancing user privacy, and improving the overall search experience.

As Google remains at the forefront of internet innovation, businesses and marketers should stay vigilant, adapt their strategies accordingly, and embrace these updates as opportunities for growth and optimization in the online sphere.

Getting the services of a marketing agency like Kala can provide you with the necessary measures to adapt and predict these upcoming changes, minimize the risks that your brand’s visibility might have, and improve your SEO strategy.

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