As you know, Google released its first core update in over five months, the Google August 2023 core update, on August 22nd at around 1:30 pm ET. Since then, I’ve been tracking the volatility and the chatter from within the SEO community to see how widespread, extensive, and impactful this update has been.
So far, and keep in mind, it is far from over yet, and the update does not seem as widespread as previous core updates. That is not to say sites were not hit hard and in a significant way, but it just doesn’t seem like this update had a footprint on tons of sites SEOs are working on. The update seem to hit some sites in a really big way on Friday, August 25th.
Again, if this update impacted a site, they could have seen 20 to 80% gains or losses in terms of Google Search visibility. And yes, we have some examples of that to share…
To summarize the details below, here is what I am seeing so far:
- Google August 2023 core update announced on August 22 at 1:30 pm ET
- First movement noticed around Friday, August 25th
- Sites impacted can be impacted in a huge way with traffic gains or losses from 20 to 80%
- Impact is not as widespread as previous core updates
Let’s dig into the sources I track to show you why I came up with the above summary.
Here is some of the chatter from the SEO forums and comment areas across this site, WebmasterWorld and BlackHatWorld. Most of the chatter started on Friday, August 25th and continued through the weekend:
Sunday: Today, once again, there has been a nearly 50% traffic drop, and an additional 30% of pages have been deindexed, which has been ongoing since August 17th
Sunday: Had a nice boost in rankings for the past 2 days.
Saturday: well, all of my sites officially dead now… And all of competitors sites are also dead.
its like one day site up, next day site down. it goes like 30% up but next day 20% down, and next day 1% up, and next day 5% down and so on (and after some time, one point came where whole site is dead)..
Friday: Huge drop for our UK hotel site, lowest day of August at 63% of this month’s average and one of the lowest for 2023.
Friday: I am seeing some movement in the US finance sector. Started about 11 am PT.
Friday: It seems like there are some fluctuation (based on real-time report). Since the universal analytics is down, unable to see hourly search engine traffic. GA4 reports takes 24-48 hrs to update. So, we have to wait for the accurate results.
Friday: After 12 hours of my Googleday my hotel venue traffic is at 11% of its August daily average, yes that is -89%
Friday: Seeing some positive traffic improvements today.
Up 20-50% each hour.
Friday: However on Jul 20th, my largest website –with 900k pages indexed– started to show a +20% traffic boost (+15% in GSC’s total impressions). It was an increase (that still remains) in the number of indexed pages, not in the rank.
Friday: For my global sites and UK focussed sites traffic has been down since the core update announcement, not a good start.
Friday: After getting hit by the 2022 October ”spam” update and losing 90% of my traffic and revenue. I was finally able to recover this month. August was looking like a great month. Now the G update has arrived though. SMACK. I am now down by 15-20%. However, thankfully I am still up by 45% compared to last month.
Friday: There was a big jump today. My impression so far is that it’s all about “conversion by algo” backlinks.
– Domains that have recently acquired a lot of strong backlinks, strong growth.
– Domains with sporadic outflow of backlinks and no new ones, strong declines.
Sunday: For about 2-3 days, the advertising revenue fell by 40%, and then returned to normal.
Sunday: Traffic has been gangbusters this weekend…search is up 27% and direct is up 53% today at 3pm. I am dubious about such large increases, there’s no way that will last. But for now the new customer inquiries are rolling in. Perhaps the post-COVID economy is stabilizing a bit, and the fear of a major recession is easing?
Update: 8/27/2023: Slight gain in traffic and impressions. The update seems far less impactful than the countless unannounced updates previously.
Here are some charts of specific sites with changes:
Here’s another example of impact from the August broad core update. It’s an ecommerce site seeing a significant drop in visibility since the update started rolling out. You can see big drops in rank across top queries for the site. Sometimes dropping completely out… pic.twitter.com/T2QWDkqhEA
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) August 26, 2023
Continuing to see movement across sites based on the August core update across verticals. E.g. this science site is not only seeing surges in rankings for key queries, but also People Also Ask (PAA). Remember, those are like mini-featured snippets. pic.twitter.com/mcJtFhgJ8M
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) August 27, 2023
Tracking Tools On August 2023 Core Update
The tools, at least most of them, noticed more volatility around Friday, August 25th and then seemed to calm down after. Here is what they show:
So you can see, we had volatility spotted by both the Google Search tracking tools and also via SEOs on the ground. It spiked around Friday, August 25th.
I am expecting more from this update – I don’t think this update sunk its teeth into enough of the web. Or maybe this is it? I will continue to track this in aggregate and keep you posted.