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Guide: How to Deal with a Google Core Algorithm Update (August 2023 Version)

How to deal with the Google Core Algorithm Update for SEOs. A step-by-step guide.
I am Nick, a B2B & SaaS marketer with a focus on SEO, content, and techstack marketing. 
I created the Marketing Experts Hub to simply explain marketing, cover business topics, and software for marketers with a pinch of opinion.
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Table of Contents

Google has released another core algorithm update, and as usually, SEOs of all industries and sizes are going to freak out.

In my opinion, there are two possibilities for this update:

  1. It’s the second part of the Helpful Content Update
  2. It’s about AI content & spam

Avoid the tsunami of misinformation, let’s go down some more practical advice on how to deal with a Google Core Algorithm Update.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to deal with the update professionally and recover any loses or improve your results!

Step 1: Keep Calm, Don’t Panic

There is no reason to panic or worry for the first 2 weeks. Traffic will fluctuate and may go up or down, but nothing is settled until a few days.

Step 2: Educate Stakeholders

From your reporting manager to the CEO, chances are some stakeholders will be worried if suddenly there is a loss of traffic or other KPIs around organic traffic.

We use Slack here, I always send a message to inform them there might be changes, but there is no reason to panic, we are on top of things:


🌧 Google Core Algorithm Update

Yesterday, Google Announced a new Core Update. They have been doing a lot of changes the past few months, and including the small launches of their SGE, the search results are quite turbulent.

Core updates means bigger changes, and results can be either positive or negative (out of our control for now).

P.S.: They also removed a featured snippet type we were working to get the past 2 years, but up to now had minimal impact.

What are the effects?

Rankings on keywords will fluctuate both positively and negatively. It starts slow and might take a few takes to take effect and might have an impact or not.

After the first 2 weeks, it slowly settles down to a more stable ranking.

We will know the impact 3 weeks later, but there might be some wild swings (ups or downs) on some days.

We are not afraid, we are Vigilant

We are following Google’s guidelines, and we are mostly on it’s good side. We shouldn’t expect any negative impact, but we need to be vigilant as this might bring changes.

👁 I will be monitoring the effects. We cannot act until the first 2-3 weeks have passed and evaluate the results, for now we patiently watch and learn.


Step 3: Stay Informed

Keep an eye to reputable SEO newsletters, Search Engine Journal and  Search Engine Land, and LinkedIn for top voices on SEO.

Thought leaders and managers of big companies will be sharing their early findings.

Remember, those are early findings, don’t panic or act before the full update is finished and you assess the situation.

Keeping informed is important, don’t read too much into anything. Wait a few days before making decisions.

Step 4: Assess the Situation

After the update is finished (about 2 weeks), you need to wait a few days to collect stable data and assess.

  • What were the results for your company?
  • Did you see any changes, ups, or downs?
  • Is a specific page or type of page impacted?

It’s possible the update hits specific industries or practices and may not even impact you!.

Review the pages most impacted and see what has replaced your pages in the top results.

Try to understand why this happened.

Step 5: ACT

After the dust is settled, now it’s time to act on changes.

If your results were positive or negligible, you probably only need to continue the good work.

Educate yourself over the next few months on what the update might have introduced, and keep following the best practices.

In case you get hit, you need to evaluate the situation thoroughly. Identify where you went wrong, whether you were using a Black Hat strategy or the update hit your industry or a specific practice.

Try to either

  • reverse the latest changes (if it makes sense),
  • update content, or
  • implement the needed technical changes.

Also:

Check what content replaced yours

If you lost rankings on important pages, check what pages are now ranking on top of you, and try to identify a pattern.

Update content

A quick content update & republishing with a fresh date can help boost your results. This will work if you know what the problem is through the assessment.

Improve Technical Signals

If the issue was a recent technical change or worsen lighthouse results, you might need work on technical improvements of your website or specific pages.

Reverse Actions

If you have done any actions that go against Google’s current or new guidelines, try to reverse those. This would include Black-Hat actions or it might be something a recent freelancer or agency has done without your knowledge (do not immediately blame your SEO agency, but consult with them).


Expert SEO’s advice on a Google Core Update

I asked 5 senior SEO experts, strategists, consultants and departmental heads to share their views on how they would deal with the latest, or any other Google Core update.

Here are what they said:

Follow the Foundamentals

Instead of worrying about Google Core updates, marketers and SEO specialists should concentrate on the fundamentals of SEO, such as high-quality content (human written), strong  backlinks (organic, if possible), good user experience, and technical optimization. Emphasize on these fundamentals and you’ll navigate any Core update with resilience and success.

Miltos George M. – Head of Performance @ Traders Trust

Follow the Guidelines

Read the official Google reports regarding the update and wait to see how and IF the update will affect your website. Read the guidelines, stay up to date with the latest SEO news and avoid shady and outdated stuff.

By Antonis Dimitriou – SEO Lead at Minuttia

Be Proactive in BOFU Pages

What we’ve observed across all our clients is a consistent pattern: even a slight decline in organic traffic can trigger a snowball effect. That’s why it’s more effective to take action instead of waiting for positive changes, which often don’t occur. For example, one of our clients experienced a 20-30% drop in organic visitors to their crucial BOFU pages. We promptly alerted the client about this concerning trend, asking them to take immediate action by rewriting the pages. This proactive approach proved effective in enhancing the page’s visibility and restoring growth.

Alexandra Tachalova – Founder of Digital Olympus

Assess the Situation & Possibilities of Reversal

If you get hit by a Core Update, don’t panic and think everything is lost. Try to identify  possible reasons for this result, assess any technical issues and content gaps and it’s very possible that in the next Core Update this situation will be reversed.

THOMAS VAVOUGIOS – SEO Manager for International Brands

Use Cluster Analysis

If you get hit by the latest update it’s probably time to make an in-depth analysis on your website and identify patterns that may indicate the core issue. Split your analysis into different content clusters and try to understand which clusters underperformed or overperformed as well as what is the true underlying issue. In my experience you should never evaluate pages in an isolated environment immediately after a Core update but rather look into the bigger picture that is painted in SERPs.

George Fakorellis – Senior Manager, Search Engine Optimization

Did you find this helpful?

🔗 Follow the SEOs above for more on top SEO advice.

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