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Google March 2023 Core Update

Google’s March 2023 Core Update was rolled out between March 15th and March 28th, marking the first core update since September 2022. This update has been a topic of significant discussion within the SEO community due to its noticeable impact on search rankings and the volatility it introduced across various sectors.

Key Observations:

  • The March 2023 Core Update was noted for its potent impact, showing a return to more impactful core updates compared to the relatively milder September 2022 Core Update. Despite this potency, the update continued the trend of more “micro-movements” in rankings, similar to the previous core update, indicating a pattern of less dramatic gains and losses in search positions.
  • There was a notable trend of rank reversals during this update, where initial ranking gains or losses were often reversed by the end of the rollout period. This suggests that Google was testing different ranking trajectories before finalising changes, which could also be seen with subsequent updates like the April 2023 Reviews Update.
  • The update showed significant volatility across various categories, with “Pets & Animals”, “Law & Government”, and “Health” among the most affected sectors. On mobile, “Beauty & Fitness” also appeared in the list of top volatile verticals, highlighting a difference in impact between desktop and mobile search results.
  • Comparatively, the March 2023 Core Update introduced more drastic rank fluctuations than the September 2022 Core Update, with a higher percentage of URLs entering the top 10 and top 20 search results from positions beyond the 20th rank.

Context and Comparison

In 2023, Google executed four core updates, including the March update, with each subsequent update bringing its own degree of volatility. The March 2023 Core Update was part of a broader strategy by Google to refine its search results, focusing on enhancing the quality of search outcomes by prioritising websites that offer superior user experiences.

Conclusion

The March 2023 Core Update by Google was significant for its enhanced impact and volatility, indicating a continuous evolution in Google’s algorithm aimed at improving search result quality. Website owners and SEO practitioners were advised to focus on optimising websites for a better user experience, including aspects such as page speed, mobile-friendliness, and content quality, to adapt to these changes and maintain or improve their search rankings.

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