Local SEO After the March 2023 Google Core Update

Most updates to Google’s core systems impact both organic search results and map pack rankings; the March 2023 update was no different. Organic results saw a major impact starting around March 15, 2023. Local pack results took more time to adapt, only starting to show the effects of the Google Core Update on March 29, 2023.

These changes can majorly affect your business and the amount of online traffic directed toward your website and social media. To understand how the March 2023 Google Core Update impacted your business, we must first discuss the specifics of the update. Then, we will look at how those updates impacted SEO across various industries.

What Happened in the March 2023 Google Core Update?

The March 2023 Google Core Update changed how the algorithm prioritizes the categories used to label businesses. Google now prioritizes a business’s primary category as a ranking factor, which significantly impacts the visibility of certain businesses. This puts increased focus on businesses that target small, specific categories such as “computer repairs” instead of simply “electronics.”

The new update also increased the strength and breadth of categories to better match queries. For example, users that search general terms like “electronics” may be recommended businesses from related industries, such as “computer stores.” Additionally, searching for certain businesses like “baby stores” brings up tangentially related industries, such as clothing companies.

These updates to Google’s core algorithm are clearly designed to help users find businesses that relate to their search query, which can be beneficial for many companies. However, these changes have also impacted SEO in other unpredicted ways.

How the March 2023 Google Core Update Impacted SEO

The March 2023 Google Core Update puts increased focus on primary categories that match the given query, giving smaller, more niche businesses an advantage in the current algorithm. If your business’s primary category matches the user’s search query, your business is more likely to appear in the top results for that term.

On the other hand, businesses in more general categories may now be at a disadvantage. Those with general primary categories but several specific secondary categories do not see the same prioritization as primarily niche businesses. This can be a detriment to businesses providing a range of services or goods, as Google’s algorithm may have difficulty neatly fitting these companies into specific categories.

Additionally, businesses with similar primary categories are now competing against each other in new ways. Users who search broad terms such as “electronics” may be recommended “computer store,” “phone repair shop,” and other related businesses. While highly niche businesses may see high success in their specific terms, they must now compete with more generalized businesses for overlapping search phrases.

Overall, Google seems to increasingly value specific, relevant categories for your business to increase your visibility on the search results page. In the months following a large update, some of these changes may be rolled back or removed completely as part of a post-update course correction. However, this update experienced minimal changes once the program went public and appears to be functioning similarly several months later.

Stay Up-To-Date with Google’s Algorithm Updates

Understanding Google’s algorithm updates and how they impact your search results is crucial for businesses trying to compete in the digital marketplace. It takes entire teams to study the changes in these algorithms and analyze how those updates impact organic search results and map pack rankings. Our team at BluShark Digital is highly experienced at studying Google Core Updates and analyzing new digital marketing strategies to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Learn more about what our team can do by contacting us today.