Navigating the Google October 2023 Core Update

Navigating the Google October 2023 Core Update

A Guide for Recruitment Website Owners

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There has been some seismic activity from Google in recent months sending ripples through the digital landscape. As a recruitment website owner, it’s essential to be well-informed about these changes and what it means for the future of organic search as a channel. The Google October 2023 Core Update is at the forefront of these seismic shifts, and understanding its implications in light of advancements in generative AI is vital to ensuring your website thrives in the ever-evolving digital ecosystem.

Google’s Unprecedented Activity

Over the past eight weeks, Google has unleashed a flurry of algorithm updates, an unprecedented four in total. These updates include the Core Update on 22nd August, the Helpful Content Update on 14th September, the Spam Update on 4th October, and another Core Update on 5th October. Core updates are significant recalibrations of search results, aimed at providing users with the most relevant and high-quality content.

The recent updates have focused on refining Google’s AI and content guidelines, specifically targeting hacked, autogenerated, scraped, and cloaked content. The message is clear: Google aims to eliminate low-value, AI-generated, and spam content from its search results.

 

Surviving and Thriving in the New Landscape

As recruitment website owners, how can you ensure your website not only survives but thrives in the wake of these updates? Here are some key strategies to consider:

  1. E-E-A-T Matters: E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and it plays a crucial role in Google’s ranking algorithm.
    • Trust – how trusted are we as a brand on the subject matter? Are we well reviewed online? Do we present reviews?
    • Experience – How well does the website demonstrate first-hand experience of the subject matter? How packed out are our About Us sections?
    • Expertise – Is our content authored by a qualified professional? e.g. Are thought leaders used? Can we prove expertise in our language and our authors?
    • Authority – What qualifies our authority? Are we referenced in other relevant publications/press? Do quality sites link to us?

Build trust in your brand by garnering positive online reviews, showcasing your experience in About Us sections, and using qualified professionals to create content. Seek authoritative references and quality backlinks from reputable sources.

  1. User Experience is Paramount: Ensure that your website meets Core Web Vitals, offering a seamless and fast user experience. Your site should be user-friendly, informative, and not overly sales-focused. Provide a balance between commercial and informational content, creating nurture pathways for your audience.

 

What to Avoid

In light of the Google October 2023 Core Update, there are specific practices recruitment websites should steer clear of:

  1. Avoid AI-Generated Content: Although the temptation to use AI to create content may be strong, Google is actively working to reduce the visibility of AI-generated, low-value content. This includes introducing more measures to qualify the value and relevance of content in an AI-world. It’s therefore essential to continue producing high-quality content with human writers to maintain a strong online presence.
  2. Exercise Caution with Backlinks: While backlinks are essential for SEO, be cautious when acquiring them. To gain organic, high-quality links into your site requires media connections and PR efforts and can be resource intensive. As such, many turn to paying for links or placements. Buying or acquiring backlinks at scale on low-quality domains is not recommended as Google is wise to this, however, paying for ‘sponsored content’ on a site where you pay for an article to be written about your brand on a high authority publishing website is more acceptable. Google finds it hard to trace, however it can be a very expensive exercise as you try to scale.

Google’s AI-Driven Search Engine

Google’s AI assistant, Bard, is set to be integrated into the search engine in late December or early January, giving birth to the Search Generative Experience (SGE). (Take an in-depth look into the new search engine). This integration will revolutionise the way users interact with Google, allowing them to ask in-depth questions and receive highly relevant content.

While Bard will be similar to the first iteration of ChatGPT, with the ability to ask in-depth questions, however by using generative AI, it will find the most relevant content on the web to more specific questions.

For recruitment agencies, this means creating comprehensive, deep-diving content to anticipate users’ questions. With the power of generative AI, Bard can pull information from the web, potentially including older content. This underscores the importance of producing your own up-to-date and accurate content to avoid AI-generated answers that may be dated and not serve your brand well.

The advent of Bard also makes it clear why Google wants to remove AI content from the results, otherwise Bard will be pulling AI content into its AI-generated answers. It’s also why Google are dropping things like the FAQ Rich Results to make way for this new format.

 

The Future Following the Google October 2023 Core Update

In the wake of the Google October 2023 Core Update and the imminent integration of AI into search results, recruitment website owners need to adapt their strategies. Focus on building trust, optimising user experience, and producing high-quality, human-authored content to remain visible and valuable in the evolving digital landscape. Embrace the changes as opportunities to showcase your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, ensuring your website continues to attract and engage the right candidates and clients.

At Thrive, we will ensure we keep you informed about how changes to the Google algorithm will affect the industry and your site specifically. Michael Payne, our resident SEO consult is keeping afloat of all things recruitment SEO and will communicate any findings that need to be considered moving forward.

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