Google has finished rolling out its August 2023 Core Update, in a process that took over a fortnight in total.
While at one time Google’s major algorithm updates were overnight affairs that could lead search rankings to be volatile for some time after, more recent ones have tended to be performed three or four times a year and have been spread across several days. This latest one was the first since March and began on August 22, continuing well past the end of the month before Google confirmed it had been completed on September 7.
Let’s take a look at some of the observations on the update so far:
High but consistent volatility
Analytics platform Semrush has a sensor measuring how much volatility is occurring within search results on a day-to-day basis. According to the Semrush Sensor, the August 2023 Core Update caused a lot more volatility within results than the March 2023 one, but the levels of volatility were more consistent from one day to the next.
A high of 9.3 on the Semrush Sensor was recorded on August 25, but levels never dropped below 7 throughout the rollout. By contrast, the March 2023 update saw days when volatility went below 2 and above 8.
Overall, this suggests a more powerful update than in March, but also a more predictable and controlled one.
Slow start and tremors after
On his Search Engine Roundtable website, Barry Schwartz checked in with hundreds of website owners to see what efforts the update was having on their rankings as it was progressing. Most noticed little effect in its early days, and small “tremors” as it wound down. Consistent with the Semrush Sensor though, many talked of notable activity on August 25.
Google has long stopped giving advice tailored to its individual updates, but if you find your site has been affected, some general advice can be found on the Google Search Central Blog.
Google is increasingly stressing the importance of original, useful and high-quality content, as well as a good user experience on both mobile and desktop devices. To get your website and its content on Google’s good side, speak to us at Engage Web.