Understanding the Spring Google core updates and their impacts on SEO

Written by Bobble Digital – regular exhibitor at marketingSHOWCASE events

It’s a new season, which means Google have treated us to a whole new range of updates for us to digest.

March 2023 Google Core Update

In March 2023, Google rolled a significant algorithmic change that has stirred the SEO community.

This update aims to improve search engine result quality, relevance, and user experience. So if you’re an SEO professional, it is crucial to understand the changes implications and adapt your strategies accordingly.

Let’s delve into the key aspects of the March 2023 Google Core Update.

Content Quality and Relevance

With this update, Google emphasizes the importance of high-quality and relevant content. So if you own or run a website that offers valuable, comprehensive, and accurate information, you are more than likely to see a boost in overall rankings.

So it is vital you start to focus on creating unique and engaging content that meets users’ needs whilst also aligning with search intent. We recommend taking the time to conduct thorough keyword research alongside optimizing your content accordingly to enhance its relevance.

Backlinks and Link Quality

While backlinks remain crucial for SEO, the focus is now on link quality rather than quantity. Prioritize building natural, high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources within your industry. Monitor your backlink profile regularly and disavow any suspicious or low-quality links that may harm your site’s reputation.


I bet you’re thinking, this all sounds like any other recent Google update, but how impactful actually is this one?

Well, despite some minor disagreements between outlets such as SEMRUSH and RankRanger when taking into account the impacts of the update, both companies have agreed that the volatility of the March update is higher than the previous Google update in September 2022.

For example, SEMRUSH concluded that 8.7% of the top 10 results now ranking on the SERP previously ranked beyond position 20 prior to the update. Back in September, that number stood at 6.5%. Thus, the data again points to more significant rank fluctuations during the March update.

If you want more data on the recent update compared to its predecessors, then you can by clicking here.

Dropped four ranking systems

Spring has also seen Google update its documented ranking systems page, removing four ranking systems from their list, removing:

  • Page experience system
  • Mobile-friendly ranking system
  • Page speed system
  • Secure sites system

Making everyone in the world of SEO question whether these were significant or actual ranking systems in Googles search ranking algorithms ever.

Google themselves have noted that they saw page experience as more of a concept as opposed to an actual ranking system, saying themselves that “page experience signals had been listed as Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendly, HTTPS and no intrusive interstitials. Are these signals still used in search rankings? While not all of these may be directly used to inform ranking, we do find that all of these aspects of page experience align with success in search ranking, and are worth attention.”

Just to clarify, Google suggest that page experience is not a ranking “system” but instead a ranking “signal”.

A bit confused? Don’t worry, you can find your answers by clicking here.

Removed video thumbnails in search results when video is not main content

Google have made a significant change by removing video thumbnails from search results when the video is not the main content.

But what are the impacts of this change?

Improved Relevance and User Experience

By removing video thumbnails that are not the main content, Google is enhancing the relevance of search results.

Users can now access the primary content they are seeking without being distracted by unrelated video thumbnails. This improvement in relevance contributes to a better user experience.

Shift in SEO Focus

The removal of video thumbnails in search results calls for a shift in SEO focus. SEO professionals need to prioritize optimizing webpages with relevant textual content rather than relying solely on video thumbnails to attract clicks.

Content Optimization

To adapt to this change, it is important to optimize the textual content of webpages. Focus on creating high-quality, informative, and engaging written content that directly addresses user queries.

So get optimising people!

Video SEO Remains Important

Although video thumbnails may no longer appear for certain search results, video SEO remains important for queries where videos are the main content.

So, for video-centric searches, continue optimizing each videos metadata.

April review update

This update goes beyond Googles previous product review updates, enabling you to evaluate reviews of any topic, including:

  • Services and businesses
  • Destinations
  • Media (eg games and movies)

Google has re-worded the product system, incorporating more generic language – for example changing the name of its “product reviews system” to “reviews system” alongside editing “shoppers” to “people” and “products” to “thing/something”.

While the edits are small in terms of grammatical choices, they are big in terms of implications and scope. What was the product reviews update now essentially applies to every possible type of review as part of Google’s review system.

Why should you care, you ask?

Well, if your website publishes any type of review content, this will be an important update to watch, so take the time to check your rankings to see whether your organic traffic improves, declines or stays the same.

You can learn more about the changes to review system by clicking here.

Googles AI Search Generative Experience (SGE) experiment

Google’s introduction of the Search Generative Experience has sparked a major transformation in the world of SEO.

This ground-breaking feature leverages advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence to generate dynamic and interactive search experiences.

So if SEO is your bag, then it’s crucial to understand the impacts of this new experience and adapt your strategies accordingly.

So what exactly does Googles AI SGE do?

Enhanced User Engagement

The Search Generative Experience brings a new level of interactivity to search results – users can now access instant answers, interactive tools, visualizations, and other rich media content directly on the search engine results page (SERP).

Optimising for Featured Snippets

With the Search Generative Experience, Google emphasizes the importance of optimizing for featured snippets.

These concise, informative snippets often appear at the top of the search results, providing users with quick answers to their queries. SEO professionals need to focus on structuring content to provide concise and comprehensive answers that increase the chances of being featured prominently.

Structured Data Mark-up

Implementing structured data mark-up becomes crucial in the Search Generative Experience era.

By using structured data, we can provide explicit information about our content to Google, helping the search engine better understand and present our content in interactive formats.

Leveraging structured data can lead to higher visibility and increased chances of being featured in the dynamic search experiences.

Mobile Optimisation

Given the rising dominance of mobile search, optimizing for mobile becomes paramount in the context of the Search Generative Experience.

Ensuring responsive design, fast loading times, and a seamless user experience across various mobile devices is essential, if not, your website may miss out on these opportunities.

User Intent and Content Strategy

Understanding user intent is critical when adapting to the Search Generative Experience. Creating valuable, informative, and engaging content that directly answers user questions can increase the likelihood of being featured in interactive search experiences.

You can learn more about Googles experimental AI user experience, by clicking here.

Written by Bobble Digital – regular exhibitor at marketingSHOWCASE events

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