Thursday, November 2, 2023
Google Search regularly updates our search ranking systems to ensure we’re showing the most
relevant, helpful content that we can. We’ve had a series of notable updates we’ve shared about
in the past few weeks, and we have two for this month. Given this, it’s a good time to share some
reminders in a Q&A format about how we do updates, why we share about them, and what (if anything)
creators need to consider when one happens.
What updates are coming this month?
We’ve announced that the November 2023 core update is rolling out,
starting today. Why another so soon after the October 2023 core update? We have different systems
that are considered core to our ranking process; this month’s core update involves an improvement
to a different core system than last month. However, our guidance about core updates
is the same for both.
We expect an update to our reviews system to start
rolling out next week. That will also mark a point when we’ll no longer be giving periodic
notifications of improvements to our reviews system, because they will be happening at a regular
and ongoing pace. We’ll be updating our page about the system to reflect this; we’ll also update
that page if the system evolves in some notable way, such as covering more languages. Those who do
reviews should read our guidance
and stay focused on that over time.
What’s the difference between a ranking system and an update?
Ranking systems are what we use to generate search results. We use multiple ranking systems that
do different things. We have a guide to Google search ranking systems
that explains some of our more notable ones. Updates are when we make an improvement to a ranking system.
Why does Google do updates?
We use automated systems to rank search results, and like anything, these aren’t perfect. We’re
always looking at ways to improve these systems to show better results. Our blog post from 2021
is still useful in explaining more about this:
How we update Search to improve your results.
Are you doing more updates than in the past?
We update Google Search thousands of times
per year. We don’t share about all these updates, because many of them are relatively small and
make incremental changes. We do share about updates we think are notable. We shared 10 updates in
2021, another 10 updates in 2022, and expect about the same in 2023.
What should I do if there’s an update?
If there’s an update, chances are, there’s nothing to do for most creators who have already been
working to create helpful, reliable, people-first content.
That’s what our systems seek to reward. Those doing so will largely seek updates come and go
without notice, or they might find themselves performing better in search.
If a particular update happens, and you notice a change in traffic, look closely at the guidance
we provide specific to that update. The Google Search Status Dashboard
will link to this guidance. Review to see if there are improvements you should make.
If my traffic drops after an update, does that mean I’m spamming?
If you see a change after a non-spam update, it’s not a spam issue. However, there might be other
non-spam content issues to consider.
If you saw a change after a spam update, our systems might have determined you were spamming or
perhaps discounting spam links that might have benefited your site. Learn more on our page about
Google Search spam updates.
What updates do you share about?
We share when we think an update might be notable in some way, to give guidance in case sites see
We share notable updates through our Google Search Status Dashboard.
You can see if an update is currently rolling out, subscribe to our updates RSS feed
to be alerted, and view historical information.
Why do you sometimes have notable updates that overlap?
We do try to separate notable updates, so that if they produce changes, site owners can better
identify which system is involved. However, given we have so many updates overall, it’s not always
possible. In addition, when an update is evaluated and approved because it will make Search better,
we don’t want to hold that back.
We do try to avoid having updates during the late-November to mid-December period when possible.
But it’s not always possible. If we have updates that can improve Search, that have been developed
over the course of several months, we release them when they’re ready.
How do you know that an update really works to make things better?
We put all possible changes to Search through a rigorous evaluation process to analyze metrics and
decide whether to implement a proposed change. Learn more about this process
here on the How Search Works site.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to post in the
Google Search Central Community,
to discuss with other experts.