In November 2023, Google released its third core update in four months, which took nearly a month to roll out, diverging from the usual two-week timeline for updates to complete. This was followed by the November 2023 Review Update which also had a prolonged rollout. The challenge in analyzing the November 2023 Core Update lies in attributing ranking volatility to a specific update, especially with the overlap in data. Despite this, the impact of the November 2023 Core Update was observed to be more significant than the previous October 2023 Core Update, particularly in the Health vertical.
The average number of positions lost during the November 2023 Core Update was 2.76, compared to 2.62 in October, indicating a marginal difference. However, there was a noticeable trend of ranking movement being increasingly drastic over time, with 25% of the URLs ranking in position 20 or better post-update not within the top 20 organic results prior to the update.
One method of assessing rank volatility in the wake of the update is to look at the type of keyword, with commerce intent keywords likely being impacted by the Reviews Update. Additionally, examining the timing of the ranking loss in relation to the updates and observing trends associated with previous core updates can provide insight into which update may have impacted rankings. Ultimately, the focus should be on providing high-quality content and a positive user experience, as chasing algorithms may not be beneficial.
The overall complexity of the ranking environment in light of the recent updates presents a unique opportunity to better understand Google’s approach to ranking changes. Despite the challenges presented, the key priority for website owners should remain on providing valuable and relevant content for their audience.