Google Core Updates in 2023: How is SEO Changing in the UAE

Google core update

In the fast-paced online business world, search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for maintaining visibility and driving website traffic in the fast-paced online business world. As the world’s most popular search engine, Google plays a significant role in shaping the SEO landscape with its frequent algorithm updates. 

These updates, known as Google Core Updates, are designed to improve the relevance and quality of search results for users. Still, they can influence search rankings and organic traffic for businesses. In the UAE, where online business is snowballing, staying up-to-date with Google Core Updates is essential for maintaining and improving search rankings.

This article will tell you what you need to know about Google Core Updates, including how to track and improve them.

What Are Google Core Updates?

Google Core Updates are significant updates to the search algorithm that Google uses to rank websites in search results. These updates improve the relevance and quality of search results for users by rewarding high-quality, relevant content and penalizing low-quality or spammy content.

Google releases several Core Updates yearly, which can significantly impact website search rankings and organic traffic. The updates are not targeted at specific websites or industries but aim to improve the overall quality of search results by assessing and adjusting the importance of different ranking factors.

There are various kinds of Google Core Updates, which include the following.

Panda Update

First released in 2011, the Panda Update targeted low-quality or “thin” content, penalizing websites that used duplicate or low-value content to try to manipulate search rankings. This update is named after Navneet Panda, who used it to emphasize content quality and relevance significantly.

Before the Panda Update, website developers could manipulate search engine results through keyword stuffing and link buying, providing no genuine value to online users. Now, the Panda Update takes a more user-centric approach to Google searches.

Penguin Update

Released in 2012, the Penguin Update, named by Google’s lead engineer Matt Cutts, aimed to target websites using “black hat” SEO techniques to improve search rankings. These techniques violate search engine results in favor of short-term gains. Tactics included: 

  • Keyword stuffing: overloading web pages with keywords
  • Hidden links: hiding text or links using white text on white backgrounds
  • Link schemes: buying, exchanging, and networking cheap or poorly-performing links
  • Cloaking: displaying different content or URLs
  • Content scraping: copying or plagiarizing content from other higher-ranking websites

The Penguin Update penalized sites that used these tactics, lowering their overall rankings.

Hummingbird Update

The Hummingbird Update was first published in 2013 and took a more comprehensive approach, unlike its predecessors. Instead of focusing on unethical tactics, the Hummingbird Update cracked down on search intent. 

Google understood natural language queries better through the Hummingbird Update, zeroing in on context. This semantic method forced website developers and content creators to focus on providing accurate and relevant results.

In addition, it placed more significant emphasis on mobile search, focusing on elements like site speed, responsiveness, and other mobile-specific rankings.

Medic Update

Released in August 2018, the Medic Update primarily targeted websites functioning within the health and medical industries. In particular, the Medic Update cracked down on Your Money Your Life (YMYL) topics highlighting well-being, financial stability, and safety.

This update prioritized high-quality content, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) rankings, rewarding abiding websites with better search rankings. 

Rankbrain Update

Released in October 2015, the Rankbrain Update was a machine learning-based system that focused on search intent. It utilized artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze search patterns and intent, even for previously nonexistent queries.

Compared to its predecessors, the Rankbrain Update handled long-tail queries better.

BERT Update

The Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) was published in October 2019, designed to improve Google’s ability to understand the intent behind more complex searches. Notably, it focused on natural language processing, reading into search nuances and context.

The BERT Update was essential for queries with the following prepositions:

  • To
  • For
  • With

What’s the Difference Between Google Core Updates & Regular Google Updates?

Regular Google updates refer to the daily changes and improvements Google makes to its search algorithms. These updates can include minor changes to the ranking factors that Google uses to determine search rankings and changes to how search results are displayed.

In contrast, Google Core Updates are algorithm changes on a more significant scale. Google Core Updates also occur less frequently, with longer gaps between each update.

Finally, unlike regular Google algorithm updates, Core Updates are typically announced in advance. 

The Impact of Google Core Updates on Digital UAE Landscapes

Google Core Updates significantly impact SEO strategies because they can affect search rankings and visibility for many websites. As Google updates its algorithms to improve the accuracy and relevance of search results, SEO strategies need to adapt to these changes to maintain or improve search rankings.

Below are a few aspects of SEO marketing that you can expect to shift in 2023.

Quality Content

For websites to rank, they must contain high-quality, well-written, and informative content. Creators must look beyond the skeletal value of keywords and backlinks, instead providing meaningful, shareable, and enjoyable information. 

You can provide additional context and information to search engines through structured data and rich snippets.

User Experience

Google Core Updates also place a greater emphasis on user experience, including factors such as page load speed, mobile responsiveness, and ease of navigation. Part of optimizing websites for user experience is focusing on aspects like voice search and natural language queries.

How Do You Know When a Google Core Update Affects Your Website?

As mentioned, Google announces Core Updates before releasing them, giving business owners ample time to adjust accordingly. However, predicting how significant algorithm changes can impact traffic and performance is nearly impossible.

As such, monitoring how Google Core Updates can affect your website is essential. Below are a few signs a Google Core Update may have impacted your website:

    • Your rankings have dropped. A significant drop in SERP rankings is the most obvious sign that a Google Core Update has negatively impacted your website. Review rankings for various informational keywords with different intents.
  • You aren’t getting as much website traffic. Google claims roughly 68% of all website clicks, so a significant drop means your work is cut out for you. Consider investing in an audit or consultation with an SEO agency in Dubai.

Best Practices for Adapting to Google Core Updates in the UAE

Adapting to Google Core Updates can be challenging, but several best practices can help website owners and SEO professionals maintain or improve their search rankings.

Build High-Quality Backlinks

Google Core Updates place a greater emphasis on the quality and relevance of inbound and outbound links. Focus on building high-quality backlinks from reputable sources rather than relying on black hat SEO techniques like link schemes.

Building high-quality backlinks doesn’t have to be a chore. You can achieve them in the following ways:

  • Producing functional, shareable content
  • Conducting outreach to relevant websites
  • Leveraging social media platforms
  • Participating in online communities
  • Guest posting on relevant websites
  • Identifying broken links and replacing them

Use Structured Data & Rich Snippets

Structured data is a type of code that provides additional context and information to search engines about the content on a web page. Rich snippets are structured data that display additional info in search engine results pages (SERPs), such as review ratings, product prices, and event dates.

Incorporating structured data and rich snippets makes your listings more eye-catching and can increase click-through rates.

Take the E-A-T Approach

The E-A-T (Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness) approach is typically a foolproof way to improve Google search results. When you establish yourself as an expert in your field, Google tags your website as informative and valuable.

Support your claims by providing credible resources and citations. Improve your authoritativeness by accruing mentions and backlinks from other high-quality websites. 

Finally, reinforce trustworthiness by securing your website through HTTPS protocols, providing updated contact information, and protecting customer data.

Monitor & Analyze Search Traffic

Monitor your website’s search traffic regularly and analyze any fluctuations in search rankings and traffic. Doing so can help you identify areas for improvement and adjust your SEO strategies accordingly.

The easiest way to perform traffic analyses on Google is with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. The former tracks metrics like traffic volume, bounce rates, and conversion rates, while the latter provides alerts regarding technical issues and insights into search performance.

Alternatively, you can use third-party SEO tools like the following:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Moz

The Bottom Line

Google Core Updates have significantly impacted the world of SEO, and adapting to these updates is crucial to maintaining and improving your website’s search rankings. By understanding the purpose and effects of each update and implementing best practices for SEO, you can stay ahead of the curve and improve your website’s visibility in search results. 

Strategies such as building high-quality backlinks, using structured data and rich snippets, and monitoring search traffic can all help you stay on top of your SEO game and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Google search. 

If you’re keen on investing time in website optimization, our experts at Igloo can do the work. We have experience fine-tuning your website’s moving parts, helping you achieve the boosted results you’ve always wanted.


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