Google rolls out major Core Update in August 2023

Google has released another broad core algorithm update this August 2023, the second core update this year. This latest core update, launched on August 22, will likely take 1-2 weeks to roll out fully.

Key takeaways

  • Google released a major core update in August 2023.
  • This broad core update rolled out over 1-2 weeks.
  • Many verticals experienced volatility, including Beauty and Fitness, Computers and Electronics, Home and Garden and Shopping.
  • Sites impacted should focus on improving overall quality and user experience.
  • Additional core updates are likely in 2023. Staying updated on best practices is key.

What is a Google core update?

Google core updates are significant changes to the main ranking algorithms that determine search results. They are designed to improve search quality and relevance for users.

  • Core updates roll out slowly over 1-2 weeks to analyze impacts before fully releasing.
  • Google has released 4-5 core updates per year on average recently.

The August 2023 Core Update

Here are the key details on Google’s latest core ranking update:

  • Officially launched on August 22, 2023.
  • This is a “broad” core update, meaning it impacts many verticals and languages.
  • Early data shows relatively high volatility, with both winners and losers. However, this data is quite different depending on the country.
  • Full rollout expected within 1-2 weeks.
  • This update will likely be named the August 2023 Core Update.

Google has not specified what signals are changing with this latest core update. Based on previous updates, it could involve adjustments to:

  • Page quality and E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness)
  • Mobile optimization
  • Content relevance
  • User experience

As with all core updates, no immediate action is recommended. Sites impacted should focus on improving overall content quality and user experience over the long term.

Who is impacted by the August 2023 Core Update?

Google core updates create both winners and losers. Early reports from SEMrush Sensor indicate significant movement across different verticals and countries since the update’s launch.

For example, the US was already in a state of high SERP volatility and only saw an uptick from 9.1/10 to 9.3/10. This starkly contrasts the UK, which has seen SERP volatility increase from 5.6/10 to 8.6/10.

Despite the US’ fairly small uptick in volatility across all verticals, some categories in the States have seen big changes in search results since the launch of the update:

  • Health has seen an increase from 7.4/10 to 9.3/10
  • Reference saw an increase from 7.7/10 to 9.0/10
  • Travel saw an increase from 8.3/10 to 9.1/10

The UK saw considerably more categories with high SERP volatility:

  • Beauty and Fitness jumped up from 6.3/10 to 9.0/10
  • Computers and Electronics went from 5.7/10 to 9.0/10
  • Home and Garden increased from 5.2/10 to 8.5/10
  • Shopping went from 6.3/10 to 8.9/10

We do not yet have data on which sites won and lost during this update, but we will publish another post when we do.

Given this update’s “broad” nature, many more sites in varied verticals will likely see changes over the next 1-2 weeks.

Best practices to recover from core updates

Google recommends not overreacting to core updates. However, if your website has experienced noticeable declines, here are some best practices:

  1. Review your core website fundamentals:
  • Site speed and performance
  • Mobile optimization
  • Security protocols
  • Technical SEO
  1. Evaluate page-level quality and E-E-A-T:
  • Updating outdated content
  • Improving thin content
  • Adding more authoritative sources
  • Expanding page word counts
  1. Check for user experience issues:
  • Page layout
  • Navigation and internal linking
  • Loading times
  • Easy-to-find contact info
  1. Monitor your rankings and traffic to identify issues and recovery.
  1. Avoid drastic changes like mass publishing or deleting content.
  1. Be patient. Core updates can take time to be fully rolled out. Reassess 2-3 weeks after the announcement.

Continually improving your content and technical foundation is the best way to thrive through future Google updates.

Will there be another core update in 2023?

Google released one other core update in 2023 prior to this latest August Core Update – the March 2023 Core Update.

It’s likely we’ll see 1-2 more core updates before year’s end. Google does not pre-announce these updates, but they are typically released every 4-5 months.

The most commonly cited goal of core updates is to combat sites that demonstrate “poor-quality, shallow or low-value content”. Focus on improving thin content, building expertise and trust, enhancing technical SEO, and creating exceptional user experiences.

Core updates are a reminder that search engine optimization is an ongoing process. Continual refinement of content quality, authoritativeness, and technical foundations is the key to sustainable rankings.

Having trouble with the Core Update?

If you believe your website has been negatively impacted by the August 2023 Core Update, I can help. I have the expertise to audit your website, identify issues, and provide actionable recommendations to recover lost traffic and rankings. Don’t wait to take action. Reach out today to schedule your website audit and consultation. With a strategic optimization plan, we can work together to get your site back on track.

About the author

Daniel Lee

With over a decade's worth of experience, I am an accomplished digital marketer who thrives on creating bespoke SEO and content marketing strategies for a diverse range of clients, from innovative start-ups to established billion-dollar enterprises. Drawing from my Master's degree in International Marketing from the University of Law, and business coaching training from the renowned Møller Institute at Cambridge University, I'm committed to delivering results that drive substantial growth and competitive success for my clients. I look forward to being part of your success story.

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