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Google Search Central Blog [Updated 2023]

Google boasts of being the number one search engine with over four billion users worldwide. As such, it ensures it offers the best user experience possible. And to do that, Google regularly provides changes to its search system. 2018 saw about 3,200 changes to Google's search algorithm systems. And this is massive considering that Google only updated its search system some 350 to 400 times in 2010. This goes to show the rate at which the internet Giant, Google changes its core algorithm systems.

Google Search Central

Hence, as a site owner, it is vital to know the effects of every one of these updates. You may wonder if that is possible. Surely, you can't follow up with an average of nine updates daily for an entire year. Well, you don't have to. After all, some of these changes are minor. However, since some changes may influence SERP ranking, you need to know when a major update might take place. Fortunately, Google Search Central Blog is here to help. What is it? Not to worry, this article provides the answer to that question along with all the major updates you need to know for 2023.

What Google Search Central Blog is

As seen above, you need to know when a major update might take place. Why? Well, if for any reason, Google decides to completely change how it ranks websites on the SERP, you'll be at a huge disadvantage if you are not aware of the changes. Not only will your ranking drop, but you may also lose any online visibility you previously had.

On the other hand, knowing why and when a change will occur will put you in a better position to prepare yourself and your site. So, how do you know of any updates? As mentioned earlier, Google Search Central Blog is here to help.

As the name implies, Google Search Central Blog is a blog where users can find official announcements about new Google Search features. What's more, you can also find official core algorithm updates. Furthermore, it provides information on how you can better your Search Engine Optimization. And by subscribing to Google's RSS feed, you will be notified of any latest updates. So, in short, the search central blog is your best bet for knowing when an update will occur.

That said, as seen above, this article will provide the Google updates you need to keep in mind for 2023. So, without any delay, below are the major updates from July 26, 2021, to date.

Google Updates for 2023

1. July 26, 2021 - Link Spam Update

Generating links has and will always be a major facet of SEO. Without enough links, Google won't recognize your site as trustworthy to be placed in the top rankings of its SERP. Not only that, links have become a great way of monetizing a website, either through guest posting or affiliate marketing. Yes, link-building offers tons of benefits to you, as a site owner.

While building links for your site is not bad, using links to manipulate search rankings is a problem. This may be intentional or unintentional, through improper link tags. Whatever the case, link spams is a big issue. And unfortunately, this is common in the online world. What is more, Google seriously frowns on such acts. To that end, July 26, 2021, saw a new update to Google's algorithm systems.

What is the update all about?

The Link Spam Update has made Google's system better equipped for identifying and nullifying link spam. Yes, the algorithm is better at picking out any spammy links across multiple languages. And when it does, it nullifies it. In this context, nullification implies that Google will ignore such links in its ranking algorithm.

Effects of the update

No doubt, the next question that comes to mind is how the Link Spam Update will affect rankings. As stated above, Google will ignore link spam in its ranking algorithm. Hence, if a site has spammy links, it will lead to a significant drop in ranking for that site. Therefore, you need to take steps to get rid of any link spam your site may have. But how do you do so?

What the update means for your site

Several times, link spams results from improper link tags. Hence, the best way to combat link spams remains following Google's recommended link tag practices. Here are some of them.

  • For guest post links. In this case, Google recommends sites to qualify links from guest posts with rel="nofollow"

  • For affiliate links. According to Google's recommendation, when it comes to affiliate links, you are to qualify them with the rel="sponsored" value.

  • For links from sponsored posts. Like affiliate links, links from advertisements or paid links should be marked with the rel="sponsored" value.

As mentioned earlier, guest posting and affiliate marketing are ways to generate both links and income. And if the links are not properly tagged, your Google SERP ranking may hit rock-bottom. Thus, it is essential to follow Google's recommendation during your link building.

2. The August Updates

In August 2021, two major updates were released. The first simplified page experience reports, while the second improved page title generation.

August 4, 2021 - Simplified Page Experience Report

To improve your pages for better user experience, longer page sessions, and lower bounce rates, referring to your page experience report is important. The report launched in Google Search Console earlier in 2021. It primarily assists site owners and publishers with understanding their site's performance, in relation to page experience signals.

What is the update all about?

The update to page experience began in June 2021 and continued in gradual rollouts until August 2021. As at August 4, 2021, a new version of the page experience report was launched. This updated version eliminated the widgets for Safe Browsing and Ad Experience. It also fixed the way in which missing data is handled in the report. With the update, there is a "no recent data" banner added to the report and "Failing HTTPS" will no longer be shown when certain data for Core Web Vitals are missing.

While Safe Browsing remains relevant in keeping users safe on the web and will, thus, continue to be in the Search Console, it will not be featured in the Page Experience report since it does not affect rankings. For this same reason that it does not impact rankings, Ad Experience will no longer appear on the report even though it remains a standalone tool in the Console.

What the update means for your site

While this update improves Page Experience report, it does not directly affect your site's rankings. Safe Browsing warnings will continue to surface in the event of third party hijacking and so, any related Safe Browsing flags will only appear in the Search Console. Also, since Ad Experience never was a factor in determining page experience, the update will not affect the page experience status of your site.

With the improvements in this update, you can take better advantage of the report and modify your site's pages for optimum user experience, which indirectly favors your rankings.

August 25, 2021 - Page title Update

Yet another important aspect of SEO is page titles. As a brand, surely you know the benefits of having a well-optimized page title. It is the most common means through which users determine which web page is most relevant to their search query. Hence, a well-optimized page title tag helps in attracting visitors. And you know what that means - higher ranking on Google's result page. As a result, Google ensures it generates the right title tags for content in the SERP.

August 25, 2021, saw a new update to page titles. As a site owner, knowing the details of this update will help you develop quality title tags.

What is the update all about?

In the August 2021 update, Google made changes to how it generates page titles for web pages in the SERP. Before the update, page titles were based on HTML title tags and would change depending on the search query at hand. But this ends with the page title update. Why? Well, the HTML tags do not always describe a page well. At times, they can be too long and stuffed with keywords.

As a result, Google's update is aimed at producing more readable titles that are better at describing a page, regardless of the search query. And according to a Google Search Central Blog post, the new system will be based on <H1> tags or other headings that users can visually see when they visit a webpage. No doubt, this will help users to better ascertain the content of a page and determine whether or not is relevant to their query.

What the update means for your site

As seen above, HTML title tags do not always describe a page well. That said, HTML tags are still the most common method by which Google generates titles. Yes, the update doesn't discard HTML tags. Instead, it urges website owners to create better HTML titles. The following are tips to help you, as a site owner, develop quality title tags that can improve your SEO.

  • Add a title to all pages. If you do not include a title tag, Google will be sure to do so for you. And there are implications when that happens. Chances that the title will not describe your page content perfectly are high. So, to avoid that, always include a title tag on every one of your pages.

  • Keep it brief. As seen above, many HTML tags are too long. And this reduces the chances of driving in traffic. Why? It's simple - if your tags are too long, Google will cut them short. It may even rewrite the entire title. And as a user, you are less likely to click on a page whose title has been cut short. Instead, you'll visit a page whose title tag is completely visible. The same is true for others. Hence, keep your HTML title tag simple, and brief.

  • Beware of keyword stuffing. This is yet another reason that led to the Google August update. How? Many site owners believe that more keywords in their title tags will rank them higher on Google. But actually, that's not true. When you add too many keywords, your title becomes stuffed, long, and thereby, loses its efficiency. In such instances, Google won't use your page title.

While you generate high-quality page titles, don't forget your main objective - to convert traffic. And in doing so, page titles are only the beginning. If your content is lacking, you will fail to get users engaged, regardless of whether or not your page title is top-notch. Thus, develop high-quality content and page titles. When doing so, follow Google's recommendation and your SERP ranking is sure to skyrocket.

3. The September 2021 update

As you may well know, Google releases core updates each month. And September was no exception. The month of September saw multiple updates to Google's algorithm systems. Here are two major ones to note.

Clarification of the page title update

August saw a new update to how Google generates title tags. In that update, you may wonder if Google still uses HTML titles. And as seen above, Google didn't discard HTML. The update only improved the systems' ability to produce more readable page titles. And as we saw, the new system was based on <H1> and other headings found on the site, thereby creating alternatives for the HTML title tags. That said, HTML remains the most used method. Google uses HTML for about 80% of all cases.

So, in short, Google still uses HTML and will only opt for other headings if your HTML title is lacking. The following are some cases where Google may change the HTML title of a web page.

  • Inaccurate title.

  • Plagiarized title. This implies that your title is already in use by another page.

  • Google will change your title if it's keyword stuffy.

  • Google will also change all outdated titles. For instance, your content has been updated to 2021, but your title says 2020. When that happens, Google will make sure to pick a better title for you.

In addition to the clarification of the page title update, September also saw an update to the MUM technology. 'What is MUM?' Did that thought come to your mind? If so, you are in the right place. Below is a brief overview of the MUM September update.

The MUM algorithm update

Google is known for its search capability. And this has seen it become the top search engine today. Furthermore, Google has taken steps to improve its search capability. One of which is the introduction of the MUM technology.

The Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, for short, is a technology that uses an AI-powered algorithm to answer complex search queries. Ever since its introduction in May 2021 during Google's IO conference, MUM has already made a significant boost in Google's search results. Yes, the MUM is, without a doubt, the biggest update made by Google in 2021. Does that sound far-fetched? It may. But in reality, it isn't. Here are two ways MUM is improving search.

  • MUM can enhance your searches with visuals along with Google's lens. What does that mean? For instance, imagine a part of your vehicle has developed an issue. You can easily take a picture of that part, and Google will provide solutions to that issue. Yes, it's that simple. You won't need to go through the stress of searching for the part's name before looking for a solution.

  • MUM also helps you to narrow your search results quickly.

The September update of the MUM algorithm has enhanced the features of MUM. And it will only improve in the months to come.

4. The November 2021 core update

On November 17, 2021, Google announced the upcoming release of a broad core update. The upcoming began rolling out on that day. And by November 30, it was officially announced that the update has completely rolled out.

What is the update all about?

Unlike the other updates discussed in this article, the November update is a broad core update. Broad in this context means that the update does not target any specific aspect of Google's algorithm systems. Instead, it covers a much wider area. Hence, broad core updates involve improving Google's system overall.

Effects of the update

Since the update covers a wide area, pages on Google SERP may experience a significant drop or rise in ranking. However, this will depend on the update. Ever since the November 2021 update, many websites have already seen a huge change in their ranking. But what does this change mean for a site?

What the update means for your site

  • A drop in SERP rankings as an effect of the update does not mean Google is penalizing your site. It only implies that your site is getting reassessed against other new web pages on the net.

  • To recover your ranking, you need to improve your SEO as soon as possible. While this does not guarantee an immediate increase in your rank, it is better than doing nothing. After all, the best way to deal with core updates is to improve your web content.

  • If your site ranks higher as a result of the November update, you still need to improve your web content. Why? It's simple! Google is a competitive search engine. If you lose focus for even a second, another site may overtake you.

5. December 1, 2021 - The product review update

The month of April saw the product reviews update by Google. And on December first, Google made yet another update to products reviews. But what exactly is the product review update?

What is the update all about?

As the name implies, this update is aimed at promoting products reviews content (i.e, content that reviews specific products) on its SERP ranking. But you may wonder why Google wants to promote review content. Well, research has shown that users prefer thoroughly reviewed content in comparison with content that only summarizes specific products.

Hence, through this update, Google aims at rewarding those content with high rankings. And while doing so, it is only natural for low-quality content to experience a drop in ranking.

What the update means for your site

It is pretty simple. When developing review content, ensure you conduct thorough research. By doing so, you are sure to benefit from this update.

Wrapping Up

Google is ever-growing as the world's number one search engine. And as seen throughout this article, that growth is accompanied by numerous updates over three hundred times a year. As a brand looking to establish a solid presence on Google's SERP, you must know about all the main updates made by Google. And to that, you no doubt want to get started with Google search central blog.

But it doesn't stop there. You have to learn how to utilize these updates for the benefit of your site. When you do so, your ranking on Google's SERP is sure to skyrocket.


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