What You Need to Know About Google’s August 2023 Core Update

Scott Walldren is the Head of SEO at Acadia 


Every few months, the digital landscape experiences seismic shifts courtesy of Google's core updates. As Google’s August 2023 core update completed its rollout on September 7, 2023, webmasters and SEO experts were abuzz with discussions about the most recent changes. Let's unravel the intricacies of this latest update.

Before diving into the specifics of the August 2023 update, it’s worth revisiting the premise behind Google's core updates. They aim to enhance the user search experience by refining algorithms and better aligning search results with user intent. The March 2023 Core Update, for instance, already hinted at the growing importance of authoritative and user-centric content.

Key Takeaways from the August 2023 Core Update

Promotion of User-Generated Content

On LinkedIn, SEO expert Lily Ray noted significant traction for platforms like Reddit, Quora, Stack Exchange, and Stack Overflow in the aftermath of this update. The prominence of these platforms suggest a growing preference for real-time user comments, threads, and discussions. It seems Google is recognizing the authenticity and immediacy of user-generated content, acknowledging its value in the search ecosystem.

Understanding Shifts in Search Intent

One of the standout observations post-update is the dynamic shift in how Google perceives user intent. For instance, a previously generic term like "Barbie" now leans towards reviews of the new Barbie movie. This underlines the imperative for webmasters to stay agile, adapting to evolving interpretations of keyword intent.

Emphasis on Real-Life Experience

With the August 2023 Core Update, it's clear that Google is placing a significant emphasis on authentic lived experiences. When we refer to "Experience" within the EEAT framework, we're not talking about a site's technical performance or navigational ease, but rather the depth and authenticity of content derived from real-life events and situations.

In this context, lived experiences provide a depth of insight and understanding that can't be replicated by surface-level research. For instance, an article about living with cancer penned by someone who has walked that journey offers unparalleled authenticity, emotion, and nuance. These firsthand accounts resonate more deeply with readers because they offer genuine perspectives and insights that generic content lacks.

Impact on Brands and Recommendations

Content Quality and Diversity

In light of the update, brands should prioritize content that encompasses a gamut of user intents. This means crafting content that not only informs but also guides, persuades, and addresses specific queries:

  • Informational Content: Dive deep into topics, ensuring that information is thorough, accurate, and of high value.
  • Navigational Content: Ensure that brand or product names are clear, distinct, and easily findable on search engines.
  • Transactional Content: Streamline your product and service pages, optimizing them for users ready to take action.
  • Commercial Investigation Content: Offer comprehensive comparison content, highlighting features, benefits, and differentiators.

Engage with User-Generated Content Platforms

Given the surge in platforms like Reddit and Quora, brands should consider building a presence there. Participate in relevant discussions, share expertise, and gather insights directly from the community.

Prioritize Authentic Storytelling

Encourage the sharing of personal stories, testimonials, or case studies that highlight real-life experiences related to your industry or domain. Authenticity is key, and firsthand accounts can significantly enhance your content's value and trustworthiness.

Engage with Real Experts

Whether it's a guest post, interview, or testimonial, involving individuals with firsthand experience or deep expertise in a subject matter can bolster the credibility and depth of your content. If you have an expert on staff, consider leveraging their expertise and their byline in the creation of expert-led content.

Build Community Engagement

Platforms that prioritize user engagement, like Reddit and Quora, are gaining traction because they offer real insights from actual users. Brands should consider fostering a community where users can share their stories, ask questions, and engage in genuine discussions.

Stay Vigilant and Adaptable

The only constant in SEO is change. Webmasters must be prepared to pivot their strategies in response to these evolving core updates. Regular audits, keen observation of traffic and ranking fluctuations, and a willingness to adapt are crucial.


Google's August 2023 Core Update underscores the relentless pursuit of delivering unparalleled search experiences. As webmasters, our challenge is to interpret these signals, align with them, and continue providing content that is valuable, authentic, and user-centric.

Acadia remains at the forefront of these digital shifts. We're dedicated to helping our clients navigate through the ever-changing waters of SEO. If you're feeling the impact of the August Core Update or simply want to future-proof your digital strategy, reach out to us. Together, we can ensure that your online presence remains strong, relevant, and resilient.

Posted in

Scott Walldren