Google made nine big updates in 2023 to their algorithm. Based on what our clients have told us, they would never have known if we hadn’t told them. Google’s algorithm is important to everyone trying to run a business or find one.

The algorithm decides who appears in Google search queries when you type in a search phrase and what posts appear in the “People Also Ask” section. The algorithm also punishes your site when you use unethical SEO practices. So when there’s a major update to the site that decides how many people see your business, you need to know what changes.

At ENX2 Legal Marketing, we know how important it is to inform our clients when Google updates its algorithm. It’s how we can work together and make needed changes. To help others, we’ll break down the nine updates you may have missed. These updates may explain what has happened to your website’s traffic and SEO rankings in 2023.

1. February 2023 Google Reviews Update

This Google Product Reviews Update launched on February 21st and finished on March 18th. When someone googles a business or product, they should see the business’s Google My Business profile (GBP). GBPs have a feature where visitors can leave Google reviews that other Google users can see.

GBPs are important to SEO and website traffic for many reasons. Firstly, your business will be the biggest thing searchers see when they google your name, even when your SEO isn’t at its best.

Before the updates, many GBPs did not meet Google’s standard of quality. To solve this issue, Google changed how often the correct GBP (or any GBP at all) appeared. Now, it’s based on how helpful the GBP’s information is. This means if your GBP had incorrect, unhelpful, and/or lacking information, it would hurt your website traffic.

2. March 2023 Google Algorithm Update

This update was put out on March 15th while the previous one was still being implemented. Google stated that this update improved how their algorithm assessed content. Doing this increased how well the Google algorithm spotted and categorized content that properly targeted keywords.

This means that if your website was struggling to get noticed despite having quality content, this update aimed to help. It didn’t change how the algorithm worked. Rather, it improved how well the algorithm worked.

3. April 2023 Google Reviews Update

This update launched on April 12th and also targeted Google reviews, particularly about:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Destinations
  • Games
  • Movies
  • Other similar topics

The update changed how reviews are judged by Google’s algorithm. Higher-quality reviews were always pushed to the forefront, but the update changed what was considered high-quality. A quality review had relevant information, provided evidence, and discussed the benefits and drawbacks of the service.

For some businesses, this helped them by pushing their positive reviews. For other businesses, their well-written negative reviews became more prevalent. Google confirmed how to create a high-quality review that we recommend businesses utilize and send to loyal customers.

4. August 2023 Broad Core Update

Once again, on August 22nd, Google released its August 2023 Core Update. This update improved the search engine’s ability to assess page content. It was more of a technical update that hoped to further help the Google algorithm find quality pages that it hadn’t seen before.

5. September 2023 Helpful Content Update

On September 14th, Google released an update that aimed to improve the algorithm in a specific way. To find quality pages and articles, the algorithm began to place ‘helpfulness’ in high regard.

This was likely in response to user complaints (that are still ongoing) that Google searches were not providing relevant content. Articles and pages that targeted keywords but didn’t offer helpful information were likely to see a drop in search traffic and potentially keyword standing.

6. October 2023 Spam Update

Google has spent a lot of time and effort fighting spam that tries to artificially improve SEO. On October 4th, a new spam update aimed to improve the SEO ranking algorithm by targeting websites that:

  • Created pages that offer no relevant content, only keywords
  • Paid-for backlinks that have little to no traffic
  • Used spam bots to inflate how many people were actually visiting the website

If you paid for backlinks, your site was likely hurt by this update.

7. October 2023 Broad Core Update

Like with previous Broad Core Updates, the one launched on October 5th aimed to improve how the Google Algorithm accessed content.

8. November 2023 Broad Core Update

On November 2nd, this Broad Core Update wanted to improve the Google algorithm, but it also did one additional thing other updates didn’t: It focused specifically on how valuable search results were to users and whether they were from dependable sources.

This means that pages and posts that were already ranking well for certain keywords likely got a boost.

9. November 2023 Google Review Update

Like previous updates aimed at Google reviews, the update was released on November 8th and completed on December 7th, aimed to improve how it found high-quality reviews. It added some criteria for what would deem a review as “high-quality” such as:

  • Being from an expert or enthusiast of the product/service
  • Using analysis and research

One proves that they are doing these two things by:

  • Showcasing expertise
  • Presenting evidence
  • Thoroughly exploring the advantages and disadvantages of the product or service

With this update, Google also set forth a goal of updating the Google reviews aspect of their algorithm as often as they do the search aspect.

This update also included some updates to the search algorithms as well. It improved how the search engine evaluates content. Now, the search engine:

  • Evaluates content on a page-level basis
  • Focuses on articles and blog posts more than before
  • Look for articles that offer recommendations, opinions, or analyses

Did You Fall Behind on 2023’s GA Updates? For Help Navigating GA Updates, Contact ENX2 Legal Marketing!

Google’s search engines are always changing, and your business’s online presence needs to adapt when they do. We’ve witnessed too many businesses operate unaware of when Google’s algorithm changes, unable to understand where all of their site traffic has gone.

When you partner with a company that knows how to adapt to an ever-changing online landscape, your website doesn’t have to lose progress because of one update. The marketing team at ENX2 Legal Marketing knows how to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation on how we can help you with your marketing needs.