when was the last google update

Certain online marketing techniques go in and out of fashion. But one that has stood the test of time is SEO. It still dominates, with organic searches making up over half of all website traffic.

Yet sometimes, ranking on Google can feel like trying to hit an ever-moving target. Google regularly updates its algorithm, and you may find your site analytics look a little bit like a rollercoaster.

Here is an overview of Google’s latest activity and how it might affect your SEO efforts. So when was the last Google update, and what does it mean for you? Read on for the answer.

When Was the Last Google Update?

The latest Google update happened in August 2023. That was their core update.

However, several smaller Google algorithm updates have been this year, and some more are planned for 2024. We’ll review some of the most significant in this article.

Google’s February 2023 Review Update

In February, Google made the first of two major updates to reviews in 2023. The first one focused on updates to how the review system functions globally.

The aim here was to improve the quality of reviews. They wanted to prioritize reviews that were longer and more in-depth. Simultaneously, they aimed to lower the visibility of generic reviews, offering minimal value.

If websites posted generic, basic, or spam-like reviews, they were likely to see lower webpage rankings on the searches after this update.

Google rolled out the change across multiple languages, including English, French, and German.

The change shows that Google wants to make reviews more of a feature on the search results pages. SEO marketers will have noticed reviews gaining prominence over the past few years. That’s likely to continue.

March 2023 Core Update

In March, Google made an update that changed the rankings for many websites. Their goal with this update was to improve the value they deliver to users.

Google sought to enhance the rankings of pages, providing the best content to visitors instead of those that have historically performed well in the SEO rankings.

The purpose of this update was to give users a better experience when relying on Google for relevant search results.

This core update meant users saw noticeable rankings and organic traffic fluctuations during March. It seemed the algorithm took time to adapt as those fluctuations died away after a while.

But the takeaway of this update is clear.

Like many businesses, you undoubtedly want your web content at the top of a Google search results page. To do that, you must deliver quality and value that surpasses anything else on that first page of results.

Google Review Update: April 2023

Google’s online review platform underwent an overhaul in April this year. Before, reviews on Google only existed for products. But now, Google has introduced a review system that covers services and other items.

During this time, Google also worked on improving the quality of reviews. Google released guidelines in the form of new best practices to ensure reviews were authentic and meaningful for users, with plenty of supporting evidence.

It’s part of Google’s ambition to provide more valuable feedback on businesses to their users. It will encourage people to begin a company search via Google and use the reviews to help narrow their shortlist.

Since reviews are a useful resource for customers buying online, this is likely an area that Google will continue to expand. This update had an impact on search rankings for websites in April.

That was reported at the time by the search tool business SEMRush. The change Google made to the reviews caused many websites’ rankings to change dramatically during that period.

August 2023 Core Update

In August 2023, Google released a broad (core) update to the search engine. The first of 2023 was back in March. Despite the rollout officially happening in August, search companies noticed fluctuations in rankings happening before this date.

Search tools call this volatility, and they ranked it as high in the summer of this year, suggesting that the Google algorithm was undergoing several updates. Again, the aim here was to rank quality content higher.

One interesting note from Google was about content written by real people. That could suggest that Google is beginning to filter AI-produced content.

Sites that suffered during the rollout did see an improvement once the update was finished. Nevertheless, websites that want to remain high in the rankings must increase their efforts to produce the best and most relevant content in their niche.

Predictions for Google Updates in 2024

Search and online discovery is ever-evolving, so it’s without question that Google will continue to change in 2024. Based on what happened in 2023, Google will likely continue to prioritize user experience. They’ll focus on ranking the highest-quality content with the most relevant answers.

They will also pursue problems with misinformation – something that social media platforms have begun to tackle.

Google will also address the rise of AI. They’ve started work in this area, and that will continue. They’ll also take steps to address AI-produced content in their search results, but how they rank that is unknown at this point.

Key Lessons for Website Owners

There are several key takeaways from the latest Google updates. First, if you have a website, you need to focus on content quality in 2024.

If you have existing content that you rank for, check what pages rank higher than you. Use that to pinpoint ways you can improve your content.

You should also focus on gathering high-quality Google reviews for your business. Use email marketing and incentives to get customers to provide you with feedback.

Getting Ahead With SEO

Search efforts may feel rewarding, but they also come with continuous effort. You’ve got to stay updated with the changes Google makes to ensure your rankings don’t drop.

Now you know the answer to the question: When was the last Google update? So, it’s up to you to update your content to keep those valuable top spots.

For more support with your SEO, get in touch with our team at WSI for expert help.

Learn more about WSI Proven Results.