Key Points

  • Rapid Updates: Google's recent fast-paced updates, including the October 2023 Core, are keeping SEO pros on their toes.
  • Why Now?: Industry theories for the frequency of Google updates as of late range from legal issues to holiday season preparation.
  • Damage Control: Were you hit by the Spam Update? A Google Search Console audit can show you what to fix.
  • Survival Guide: For short-term wins, focus on content and meta updates; for long-term success, focus on building a flexible SEO strategy.

Calling all content creators, SEO warriors, publishers, and digital entrepreneurs, strap in because Google just rolled out a flurry of updates.

As of late, we’ve seen a barrage of Google algorithm updates including:

  • October 2023 Core Update
  • Spam Detection Update
  • Helpful Content Update

And they’ve happened at a pace that would make the Flash seem sluggish. If you’ve been feeling like a deer in the algorithmic headlights, you’re not alone. 

If you’re a content creator or publisher wondering how to navigate this high-speed, Google-altered landscape, then congratulations, you’ve landed on the information you need to thrive in this post-update world.

Let’s dive in.

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The SEO Rollercoaster: Recent Updates Recap

While there’s been a lot of change these last few months, don’t fret. Playwire is here to break it all down for you. 

Let’s begin with a quick Google algorithm update recap.

August 2023 Core Update

Remember that rollercoaster ride back in August? Ah, the nostalgia.

The August Core Update focused on search result rankings and Google’s overall mission to provide reliable results to users. Unfortunately, it did leave many webmasters, publishers, and content creators scrambling as you watched your SEO rankings go a bit topsy-turvy as a result of the algorithm update.

September’s Helpful Content Update

Just when you thought everything was leveling out, Google threw in an extra loop-de-loop with the introduction of the Helpful Content Update.

This Google update was created and released in an effort to ensure Google users were seeing original, helpful content created for people. However, despite this effort, some questionable sites still soared to the top while a number of publishers complained about their content being bumped down the SERP.

Spam Detection Update

Next up on our list of Google’s run of updates was the Spam Update

This update targeted just about every type of online nonsense you can think of:

  • Link spam
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Cloaking

The list goes on. Suffice it to say, if your website or blog dabbled in these less-than-savory practices, you can bet you felt the heat.

October 2023 Core Update

Now for the main course. Just as we all thought the roller coaster was heading back to the station, the cart accelerated onto an entirely new track.

Hot on the heels of the Spam Update, the twists and turns of Google’s most recent Core Algorithm Update seem to be making some in the SEO community feel uneasy. Content creators, publishers, and SEO experts are bracing themselves for the aftershocks, which are sure to ripple through the search engine result rankings for months to come.

Why So Many Updates? Industry Theories

The frequency of these updates has the SEO community buzzing like a beehive in spring.

While they’re shifting strategies and trying to decode the great Google algorithm puzzle, there’s still the big elephant in the room: why now? 

To that question, there is a flurry of industry theories including:

  • Legal pressures
  • Quality concerns
  • And, holiday season prep

Let’s dive deeper.

Legal Pressures

With ongoing scrutiny from antitrust regulators and other government bodies, Google is under the microscope like never before. It’s certainly possible that these updates are an attempt to prove to the world and legislators that Google is committed to providing an unbiased, high-quality user experience.

Quality Concerns

Nobody wants spam — unless we’re talking Monty Python or Spam musubis. 

If your SERPs are filled to the brim with trash, users are more likely to try their luck elsewhere (i.e., DuckDuckGo, Bing). The Spam Update and the Helpful Content Update both seem aimed at cleaning house, ensuring the SERPs are as reputable as a nun in a convent.

Holiday Season Preparedness

Santa’s coming, and Google wants to make sure they’re on the nice list.

The holiday season is when online shopping and advertising hits its fever pitch, and Google can’t afford to drop the ball. Whether users are searching for the perfect gifts or holiday recipes, they need it fast.

Google might be prepping the SEO landscape to ensure users are greeted with the most helpful, reliable results during the most wonderful and frantic time of the year.

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Navigating the Spam Detection Update

First and foremost, if you’re participating in any spammy practices, stop. Think link spamming, clickbait, sketchy backlinks, etc. 

Google’s newest update is throwing these tactics even deeper into the virtual trashcan so they don’t clog up search results. But don’t refresh your analytics every five minutes; this will take some time to roll out. 

Google usually takes a few weeks to roll out these types of changes. Our advice? Let the dust settle before making any drastic moves.

Got hit by the Google update bug? It’s not the endgame. Start with a basic content audit. Look for any ‘spammy’ areas in your content and adjust accordingly. And, if you don’t know where to start, Google Search Console is your best friend for identifying problematic areas.

Decoding the Helpful Content Update

Think of Google as the Gordon Ramsay of the internet; they want quality, not filler. If you serve up microwaved Hot Pockets instead of Beef Wellington, you'll be sure to be sent out of the kitchen.

This update emphasizes relevant, actionable content that genuinely helps the user.

If you were looking for a rulebook, this is the closest you'll get: this update prioritizes well-researched content, beneficial user experience, and authoritative links.

Opinions were, of course, divided in the SEO community. Some praised Google’s focus on quality content, while others pitched a fit about the traffic disruptions. Either way, Google has spoken. They say the goal is to serve more helpful and accurate search results to users — and there's no going back.

Survival Guide for Content Creators and Publishers

What does this mean for content creators and other digital entrepreneurs who rely on the great Google search algorithm? Well, we’re still figuring it all out.

But don’t worry, Playwire won’t leave you hanging. Here are a few tips for surviving these changes:

  • Short-Term Strategies: Get through the holiday season without becoming the Grinch. Focus on quick wins like updating old content, improving meta descriptions, and leveraging seasonal keywords.
  • Long-Term Gameplan: 2024 might seem far away, but in SEO years, it’s practically already here. Plan for more updates and build a flexible SEO strategy that can pivot as needed.
  • Tool Suggestions: Here's your new utility belt, Batman. Invest in reliable tools like Moz Pro for keyword research, SEMrush for competitive analysis, Screaming Frog for a comprehensive SEO audit, and, of course, Playwire for all your ad ops needs.

Stay Up to Date with Playwire

If these updates have you shaking in your shoes, don’t worry; you don’t have to go it alone. Playwire is here to help you navigate the ins and outs of optimizing your quality content with the best in ad tech tooling and layout optimization.

Our comprehensive RAMP Platform helps you maximize revenue without sacrificing the user experience. Get in touch with the team today to start your journey!

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