Google Algorithm Updates in 2023

A Dive into Google Algorithm Updates in 2023

Google 2023 updates

Google is always updating its algorithm and search in order to meet the needs of the growing digital world. With each update, so much has changed. For instance, just a few years back, there was really no need to have an update regarding the AI content. The AI content was so bad and so easy to spot from a mile away that having a specific rule for it seemed unnecessary. 

This is no longer the case and it reflects in Google algorithm update for 2023. 

Then, with internet practices evolving over time, there are some issues that are becoming bigger or smaller with time, and Google has to address them.

Then, sometimes, all that webmasters and digital marketers ask for is clarification on practices that are already in use. With all of this in mind, here are some algorithm updates we saw over the last year. 

Product reviews update renamed to reviews update

product review updates

A major Google algorithm update in 2023 revolved around Google product updates. The aim of this update was two-fold. First, it tried to break away from the standard review format, where only the most rudimentary information was presented.

This has created a lot of confusion. Many webmasters try to interpret the algorithm based on what they experience, which is a logical move, but they have a narrow field of vision. To them, it may seem like simplistic reviews are being penalized when, in reality, more insightful content is rewarded. The result is that these insightful reviews were rated above theirs, which, to them, may have seemed to have the same effect. 

Now, the update also works for:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Vietnamese
  • Russian
  • Indonesian
  • Portuguese
  • Dutch 
  • Polish

This is a major update for anyone looking to maximize their international SEO efforts.

In the past, the main advice on what the products in question were supposed to contain was the following:

  • Physical properties of the product and quantitative measures. Evidence in the form of visuals and audio is also helpful.
  • Explanation of what sets it apart from the competitors and even a comparison of products to similar products.
  • Benefits and drawbacks of the product (ideally expressed in quantifiable data).
  • If it’s not the first version of the product, a description of how it evolved and how it’s superior to previous products.
  • Links to multiple sellers.

Now, there are three new tips to abide by:

  • The fact that the same criteria are used for the other reviews.
  • Whether the products reviewed are best overall or for certain purposes.
  • If the review covers multiple products or not.

Keep in mind that this is not a Google core update.

Helpful content update

helpful content update

For a lot of specialists, this is the single biggest update that’s come out recently. You see, previously, the description for helpful content contained the key phrase:

  • Helpful content is written by people for people in search results.

The new version cites:

  • Helpful content created for people in search results.

This clears any doubt that Google is no longer penalizing AI content (if it ever has). Now, bear in mind that the official stance of Google is that they never really penalized AI content because it was made by AI. The reason for their AI-content-hostile stance was the lack of new information. 

Well, now the issue is settled for good. However, this raises the question of whether this is really one of Google’s algorithm changes or if it’s just a clarification of a rule that was previously (deliberately) left vague.

Just to be clear, the algorithm still insists that the focus is on “creating helpful content,” not creating content that’s aimed at ranking well. The content needs to be useful, informative and meant for humans. 

The truth is that this was always a mainline for Google. As a search engine, their efficiency depended on people landing on the pages they were looking for. These had to be the best answers to the questions asked, not just those who knew how to manipulate the algorithm to put them at the forefront. 

Spam update

Spam has been one of the biggest plights of the internet ever since emails and DMs were invented in their rudimentary form, and even earlier. Unlike traditional letters, electronic messages can be automated to be sent out in incredible volumes and to an unprecedented number of recipients. This is why a major Google algorithm update of 2023 targeted spam activities specifically

The key thing to understand is that, for the most part, protective measures were effective in the English language. Meanwhile, the situation in Turkish, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and Vietnamese languages got out of control.

The new update created an improvement when it comes to recognizing auto-generated, hacked, and cloaked spam

Now, while the updates aimed to improve the situation in these languages, the updates don’t end there. 

Topic authority system

If the sources are to be believed, this is not one of the Google algorithm changes. This is an old system, in place for many years, but one that hasn’t been discussed much in the past. In a way, this is Google’s attempt to disclose more about the way their algorithm works for the sake of transparency.

The main objective of this update was to help determine the subject relevance and knowledge level of the source. This way, it could improve its ability to serve their users with only the highest-quality and verified information. 

Also, while this is generally important, the main objective was to focus on areas like health, politics, and finance. We’re talking about fields where unverified information can cause quite a bit of harm. 

This is incredibly important for long-term SEO optimization and Google indexing since it helps crawlers sort content.

  • Locational relevance: Since Google already has everyone’s location, it’s easy to prioritize news from one’s own region – especially major ones.
  • Influential and original reporting: Citations and first-hand reports are prioritized. We live in an era where primary sources are often overlooked, and people seldom dig deeper than the surface level.
  • Reputation of the source: This one is simple – Google keeps track of all your previous reports. This helps you build upon your previous reputation (or be hampered by it). This is incredibly important since it incentivizes verifying your information like never before. A few false reports, and you may dig yourself into an SEO hell that you’ll have a hard time escaping. 

The relevance of this for search optimization is pretty high, since now it incentivizes experts and marketers to rank within a topic rather than taking a more generalist approach.

Hidden gems update 

hidden gems update

The idea of Google having some authenticity signal has been circling around for a long time. Still, it is yet to be proven or disproven. Titular hidden gems are unique insights that add something new to the online discourse.

As we’ve mentioned, one of the biggest grievances that Google had with AI-generated content was its inability to create new content. 

This is why Google’s mechanism focuses on what is written, not who it was written by. In other words, it evaluates the content itself. 

The content is not exclusive to any single format. It can come from a blog post, a social media post, or a forum post. 

The reason why this is so important, even though it’s not a Google core update, is because it’s a step in the right direction. With so many people afraid of AI-generated content and the way it will affect online content, this is a concrete way to reward genuine thoughts and original content. Otherwise, it would soon turn into a loop of AI recycling already existing content again and again.

Sure, the concept may still be in its early stages, but you can rest assured that it will become much more sophisticated in the near future. 

Removal of several search ranking algorithm updates

Each of the ranking systems made perfect sense at that point in time. However, when the system improves, some of them become completely obsolete.

For instance, the page speed system made perfect sense in the past. When all things were equal, the page that would load the fastest would get ahead. The problem is that, with the speeds of modern internet, this wouldn’t make that much sense. After all, the loading time can seem equal; the content may be incredibly similar, so why would it make sense that the page that loaded one microsecond faster (indistinguishable in human experience) would be favored? 

The secure systems site similarly favored systems with HTTPS. So, in a scenario where HTTPS were not as common as they are today, this would be a tiebreaker. It was a way to incentivize sites to migrate to the HTTPS system. Today, when the majority of the internet is already on HTTPS (at least those who are engaging in SEO optimization), this rule seems… well, redundant. 

Then, there’s the mobile-friendly ranking system. The way this worked is that it assessed mobile-friendly content and pushed it more strongly to those browsing on mobile devices. This has been incorporated into the page experience system, which means that there’s no longer any reason for it to be a standalone issue. 

More updates to come

Every Google algorithm update in 2023 was a reflection of a new trend, technology, or development. Seeing as how the progress with the development of the internet is not slowing down, the updates will keep rolling in 2024, as well, perhaps even at an increased pace. If you’re serious about increasing your online visibility and keeping it that way, you need to watch out even for minor updates. 

Most of the 2023 updates will drastically affect the future of SEO, so check out what the experts have to say about the future of content strategy

Aleksa Radović / Link Building Manager
SEO is something that wakes me up every day and I don't get tired of doing it and reading about it.

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