SEO Insights: August 2023 Report


August 2023 Core Update

Just when you thought you could relax a little and enjoy the summer, Google rolls out another Core Update. The latest one is, as expected, called the “August 2023 Core Update”.

Google notified of the release of the update on the 22nd of August and it usually takes two weeks to fully roll out.

There are a few points which are important to understand about core updates and these include:

  • The notification date for the update is not necessarily the date it was released. It tends to coincide more with when the update can be seen to begin having a visible effect on the search results.
  • A negative impact in traffic or rankings, or both, does not signify any sort of penalty with the website. Core updates are designed to improve the relevancy of the search results. If there is a loss in rankings it tends to be more to do with the fact that maybe the results that were being displayed for a given search query previously were not as relevant as they perhaps should have been. The core update is supposed to improve on the relevancy of the search results, although this is often debatable.
  • Recovering from a negative impact from a core update can take time and may often not be fully possible until the next core update is released. This tends to be every 5-6 months. In order to recover from any negative impact, it’s important to review the search results for which rankings have been lost, and try and align the pages with how Google is now seeing the intent behind the search query and the content expectations for the top results.

The current update is still rolling out and we have seem some initial fluctuations for some search terms, although we’ll need to wait for the update to fully roll out before we can make any final conclusions about the update.

We’ll keep you posted!

Reduced visibility of FAQ and HowTo markup in search results

You may have seen in the search results enhanced mark-up such as this which displays relevant FAQs from the page in the search results:

google serps faq section image

Google’s comment on this change included the following text:

Going forward, FAQ (from FAQPage structured data) rich results will only be shown for well-known, authoritative government and health websites.

For all other sites, this rich result will no longer be shown regularly.

Sites may automatically be considered for this treatment depending on their eligibility.

It does appear that the number of FAQs in search results has decreased across most search terms, but we are still seeing sites, such as the example above, that are still benefiting from this enhancement. This is an example of a website that Google would class as eligible for display, as it’s not a government or health related website.

We’ll be looking into this in more detail over the coming weeks as it will be interesting to understand which websites are still showing FAQ results, and what it takes to be eligible for showing FAQ mark-up in the search results.

Don’t believe everything you read

One of the biggest issues facing the SEO industry is the amount of false information on the Internet, and that anyone, regardless of experience or knowledge, can label themselves as an SEO.

There was a great example the other day of the sort of bad SEO advice that you see on social media all of the time. A user on Twitter, who classifies himself as a “Technical SEO” suggested that if your web pages load too quickly….you should slow them down! His argument was that increasing a user’s time on a page, but making it load slowly, will make Google think that the user is finding the page helpful and therefore increase the rankings of the page.

As bad advice goes, that’s got to be right up there with “grow your website authority with bookmarking links” (yes, this is still offered as a service!).

Nothing beats experience and knowledge backed up by data. We’ve been doing SEO for our own websites and clients’ websites for over 20 years and we continuously invest heavily in R&D.

Don’t always believe everything you read online about SEO…unfortunately so much of it is inaccurate and not backed up by facts or testing data.