Understanding Google’s Latest November 2023 Core Update and its Key Takeaways
It’s finally done. The latest round of Google’s core update, which hit us at the start of November 2023, finished. The latest update has caught many SEOs and marketers by surprise, mostly because no one expected another core update to hit so quickly. The last broad core update was in October 2023. Starting on November 2, and ending on November 28, 2023, this one was also one of the longest updates released by Google.
Though there were speculations that the November 2023 update had some correlation with a bug that was found in Google Discover in October, Senior Search Analyst John Mueller has negated these suggestions.
Designed to better the search experience, the November 2023 core update has apparently rewarded high-quality content sites and penalised sites with spammy and low quality content that is mis-leading and all deceiving.
The latest update has got mixed reactions from the SEO community across the world, with many reporting severe fluctuations.
So what are the core takeaways from this core algorithm update? Is there a method behind this madness? Let us understand this a bit better.
Table of Contents
Key takeaways of the November 2023 Google Core update
Pay attention to your content. Don’t put up flaky content produced by AI, which does not mean a thing. Do not publish content that is stuffed with keywords with hardly any value offering in it. Your focus should always be on credible trustworthy content that offers value to your readers.
Update your content to recent times. This means, removing the old stuff that is dated.
Do not forget to add value. Always view your website as a way to help your audience.
The November 2023 Google core update is not about bringing about any radical change in strategies if whatever you were doing was working fine. Look upon ways you can improve what you have been doing.
We need to also remember that this is not just about SEO optimisation or content. If you are doing both of the above well and still not ranking, there is an issue with the way your website is being crawled, indexed or rendered by Google. Try and fix those issues.
A Quick Backstory to Google’s November Core Update
Google updates usually reflect the times. The latest update has been influenced by recent events, including:
The leaked emails behind Google’s recent legal tussles pulled the curtains on supposed plots to beef up ad revenues at the cost of fair search results. Many claim that the latest update is a face-saving act. With the courtroom drama, Google might just be hitting the algorithmic reset button to emerge unscathed.
Greater Quality Control:
Even the most advanced algorithms can still have loopholes. In its quest to elevate user experience, the Helpful Content Update often times inadvertently elevates the rank of several low-quality websites. Like gatecrashers to a red-carpet event, these low-quality sites often find ways to hoodwink Google without bringing anything to the table.
Google is looking to get its house back in order. With this update, it’s recalibrating to ensure that only the A-listers (read: high-quality websites) get the spotlight.
Prepping for the Holidays:
Everyone is preparing for the festive season, and Google is not just sitting there watching. It wants to help people get the best holiday experience by providing the most delectable search results. The latest Core update ensures that your online journey is filled with pleasant discoveries rather than disappointments.
Why was there a requirement for another core update so early?
Google has answered most of the common queries in the recently released ‘A Q&A on Google Search Updates.’
They have clarified that different systems contribute differently to their ranking process, and the November 2023 update is unique from the one done in October 2023. Google has further drawn clear distinctions between ranking systems and ranking updates.
Google has stressed the fact that there are multiple ranking systems used for various purposes, each contributing to producing the search results.
On the other hand, ranking updates are changes or improvements that Google implements in one or more ranking systems.
Google also confirmed that there hasn’t been any drastic increase in the updates this year. In both 2021 and 2022, there were 10 major updates, and they intend to make similar modifications this year as well.
For all notable updates, they share the information on ‘Google Search Status Dashboard.’
The Biggest Winners and Losers of The Latest Core Update
To see the update in action, let’s examine the sites that have benefited or lost out the most so far.
At the top of this list are sites with user-generated content – Reddit, Quora, Stack Exchange, etc. These are places where people post questions to get authentic, authoritative responses from real-life pros.
Google views these sites as the epitome of E-E-A-T content. Reports show that Reddit alone has enjoyed a 64% increase in SEO visibility in the past few weeks.
Travel blogs and product review sites that are backed by hands-on experience are also banking it. That’s because they provide authentic experiences. Sites like Garage Gym Reviews, which share photos and videos of actual product use, are seeing massive increases in visibility.
Authoritative health websites like WebMD and educational sites like official university blogs are also getting the kick.
It’s going to be a rough time going forward for opportunistic climbers that use SEO shortcuts. Sites relying on “Parasite SEO” tactics have experienced a hefty decline in visibility.
Many music and lyrics sites have also taken a hit, though no one can pinpoint the exact reasons behind this.
Even reputable news giants like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Guardian have witnessed a decline, especially for news-related searches. Google’s possible shuffle in “QDF” (query deserves freshness) might mean more recent news for broader queries, signaling a recalibration in news visibility.
Corrective course of action: Here is what to look for and what to address
All said, the lingering question after every update is, “Is my site hit? what do I do if my ranking has dropped after the update?”
As touched upon earlier, the algorithmic change doesn’t suggest that your content is bad or that you are using any improper practices.
Imagine you have a list of the best 50 Hindi film songs in 2023. If you update that list in 2026, chances are that some of the songs will make way for new inclusions, and the existing ones could also change positions.
This is how a Google Core update impacts rankings.
However, here is what to look for after any core update.
WHAT TO DO
1. Make sure all content is as per E.E.A.T.
2. Make sure all the content that was getting ranked and earning you traffic is still indexed.
3. Make sure your site’s core vitals are good.
4. Make sure all technical SEO and on-page issues are fixed.
5. Check the speed of your website and how it appears on the mobile.
6. Track all changes that have been recently made on the website.
7. Remove all dead weight content and make sure all content is updated.
8. Make sure all content is serving the right intent. Overall, create more informative, impactful, and unique content.
9. Use authoritative backlinks to enhance your credibility.
10. Understand semantic search better and try and build topical authority in your website through content.
It’s also worth noting that if your page rank has gone down after an update and you have made changes to your content, it may take time until the next update for your ranking to go up again.
So make sure to stay patient and not panic if you see a nose-dive in traffic results. Continue to put your efforts into creating good content and establishing a strong brand presence online.
If you want to know more about Google Core updates, head here.
Why would Google risk major changes in the heat of a shopping season?
While Google would prefer to steer clear of holiday shopping chaos, sometimes, if an update has been simmering in the digital cauldron for months, they might just serve it up. It’s all about giving you the best possible search experience, wrapped and ready when it’s polished to perfection.
Are updates becoming more frequent?
The rollercoaster of updates takes thousands of spins each year, resulting from over 600,000 experiments. Google doesn’t necessarily spill the beans on every twist and turn. Many updates are like backstage crew members, working tirelessly behind the curtain to keep the show running smoothly. Only about 10 notable updates make it to the spotlight every year.
For what updates does Google roll out the carpets?
These are usually transformational updates with far-reaching ramifications for the digital landscape. Officially, word goes out through the Google Search Status Dashboard. Here, you’ll find alerts, updates, RSS feed subscriptions, and a historical archive for those who love to time-travel through search changes.
If my traffic drops after an update, does that mean I’m being penalized?
If you witness a traffic dip after an update, there’s no need to panic; your competitors may have gotten the longer end of the stick. You can consider it a gentle nudge from Google to reassess and align with their content guidelines.
How does Google assess the effectiveness of an update?
Every update is carefully orchestrated to elevate the searchers’ digital journey. Each tweak is a product of a rigorous evaluation process. Google evaluates and analyzes metrics and only serves up the changes that bring significant improvements to the search experience.