Since its inception in 1988, Google has implemented thousands of algorithm updates. From smaller tweaks to major Google core updates, these changes aim to improve the quality and relevance of search results.
On March 15, 2023, Google announced its first broad core search algorithm update of the year. Known as the March core update, it targets all content types within all regions and languages and aims to promote or reward high-value web pages.
As with all Google core updates, this change can cause significant fluctuations in search rankings and significantly influence your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Businesses that fail to monitor and adapt to the latest Google core update are at risk of sudden drops in visibility and traffic.
Managing the Google March core update can be overwhelming. That’s why in this article, we’ll answer the following questions:
After reading this article, you’ll learn how to rebound after a Google core algorithm update and achieve the best search engine ranking.
What Is a Google Core Update?
A core update involves significant, large-scale improvements to Google’s search ranking algorithm. Broad core updates tend to occur every few months and impact a large number of indexed web pages.
Some of the most notable Google core updates include:
A broad core search algorithm update is typically announced a few days before or on the day of the rollout, although some updates may take several days to complete.
Broad core updates can vary in terms of their impact and focus. Some core updates like Mobilegeddon and The Speed Update may focus on technical aspects such as page speed and mobile-friendliness. Others, like the Hummingbird and Panda updates, may focus on search queries and thin or spammy content.
Following a core update, web pages that previously ranked high for their target keywords may experience a decline in their search visibility. In contrast, those that previously ranked low may see an improvement.
Unlike regular algorithm updates, Google announces and names core updates. A core update often results in noticeable and widespread changes. If you’re worried a Google core update impacted your website negatively, it’s best to seek advice from a professional search engine optimization agency like Thrive.
We offer website optimization and SEO content writing services to help your business adapt and thrive in the face of Google algorithm changes.
What Is the March 2023 Core Update?
The latest Google core update took 13 days and seven hours to roll out. It aims to prioritize web pages that provide more value compared to those currently ranking on Google.
Below are some notable effects of the March 2023 core update:
• Target: All types of content
• Penalty: None. The update rewards or promotes high-quality content that provides value and great user experiences.
• Impact: All regions and in all languages.
• Features: Impacts Google Discover, featured snippets and more.
Websites that fail to meet these criteria or engage in black hat SEO techniques will likely face decreased rankings.
Which Verticals Were Impacted the Most?
According to Semrush data, the latest Google core update caused greater volatility, reaching a peak of 8, compared to the September 2022 core update, which only reached around 5.
Additionally, out of the top 10 results now ranking on the search engine results page (SERP), 8.7% previously ranked beyond position 20 before the March update.
Verticals that saw the most significant changes in volatility following the March 2023 core update were: Arts and Entertainment, Shopping, Internet & Telecom and Business & Industrial.
Arts and Entertainment experienced a 7.7% increase in volatility (up from 6.4% in September 2022). Shopping & Retail rose to 7.1% (from 5.6%), Internet & Telecom increased to 6.5% (from 5.4%) and Business & Industrial increased to 6% (from 5%).
Is Your Website Affected by the March Core Update?
There are two ways to check whether a Google core algorithm update hurts or benefits your site: rankings and traffic.
A sudden decline in rankings for certain keywords and topics can indicate that your website has been hurt by a Google broad core update.
Review your keyword rankings based on search intent, including informational, navigational, and transactional. Doing so can help you highlight which landing pages and types of content need to be optimized.
A decrease in search rankings can lead to a decline in organic search traffic.
Make sure to assess both site-wide traffic and individual page traffic. Look at key performance metrics, like click-through rate and bounce rate. Once you’ve ruled out that a broad core search algorithm update impacted your site, you can adjust your SEO strategy.
Should you notice a decline in your website’s rankings and traffic, keep calm and focus on the causes and solutions. Data can help you discover patterns in impressions, allowing you to take proper steps to achieve the best search engine ranking. Focusing on specific problem areas can help you save precious time and energy.
If you need help, you can rely on a search engine optimization agency to help you bounce back. Thrive’s SEO consulting services include performing a technical SEO audit and addressing issues that prevent you from attaining the best search engine ranking.
Ways To Recover From the March 2023 Google Core Algorithm Update
1. Update Your Existing Content
Once you’ve identified which pages have been impacted by the Google broad core update, the next step is to rectify them by adding up-to-date information.
Remember, Google considers content freshness as a vital ranking factor. You can make old content fresh and relevant by adding recent statistics, new insights, or updated customer reviews. You can revisit old topics, delve deeper into the subject matter, or address subtopics previously not covered.
2. Follow E-E-A-T Guidelines
Google has repeatedly emphasized the importance of Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) as part of their updated search rater guidelines.
In a nutshell, E-E-A-T is a set of criteria that Google uses to check whether the content it recommends to its users is authoritative, informative and written by experts.
When your website demonstrates high levels of E-E-A-T, it’s likely to rank higher in relevant search results, attract more organic traffic, and, ultimately, increase conversions.
Another way to improve ranking is to provide accurate, in-depth and well-written content. Google rewards content that answers users’ questions and provides value. Updating your content to E-E-A-T principles can help you establish a positive reputation and build customer trust.
3. Perform a Technical SEO Audit
A technical SEO audit pinpoints issues preventing search engines from properly crawling your site, like broken links, duplicate content and missing meta tags. It also highlights problems that may slow down your website and impact the user experience.
Addressing these vulnerabilities can improve your website’s visibility in the SERPs and increase visitor retention.
4. Create Content for Humans, Not Search Engines
Google has always stressed the importance of creating content for real people instead of just search engines. And with the recent Helpful Content Update, this has become more vital than ever.
Here are some ways to make your content more user-friendly and improve ranking:
• Don’t stuff your content with keywords.
• Make your content easy to read. Use images, headings and bullet points to break up large blocks of text.
• Include reliable sources, citations and references.
• Make sure content is easy to scan and navigate on all devices.
Preparing for Future Updates
The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovering from a Google core update. But the sooner you take steps to align your website with the new Google core algorithm update, the faster you can improve ranking and search visibility.
To consistently rank well on Google, always be alert for future updates. Watch out for announcements and perform prompt website optimization as needed. Remember, Google usually releases two or three core updates each year. While not every core update will affect you, preparing for the next one can prevent sudden drops in traffic.
Work With a Trusted Website Optimization Consultant
At Thrive, we’ll help you analyze how well your site meets Google’s requirements. Our website optimization consultant evaluates and optimizes on-page and off-page SEO elements for the best results.
With our website optimization and SEO consulting services, you can ensure your content stays up-to-date with the latest algorithm updates, industry trends and SEO best practices.