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Google Ranking Algorithm Updates – May 2023

Google Ranking Algorithm Updates - May 2023 Jun 23 / 2023

Google ranking algorithm updates are a regular and recurring part of online life. The objective is always to improve the quality and relevance of search results. While there have been many major updates in the past such as Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin, BERT, and the Core Web Vitals update, they are also regular monthly updates/adjustments aimed at fine-tuning the search operations and functioning. Unfortunately, the disruption this often causes to traffic patterns can affect website performance and leave webmasters frustrated while they wait for traffic to return to normal.

What Happened In May

The May 2023 updates followed a familiar pattern – confusion to start with, complaints about sharp and unexpected drops in visitors to websites and so on. There is normally no advance notification of these updates occurring and the situation only comes to light when webmasters find significant fluctuations in visitors to their sites – usually negative. This translates into changes in search rankings, once again usually negative. The situation typically stabilizes in a few days and functional balance is regained.

This month the updates came out between:

What Google Tracking Tools Say

Google tracking tools routinely track ranking updates. The tracking data often varies significantly. For example, Mozcast shows a significant rise in ranking on 22nd May while Semrush reports a noticeable drop. SERPmetrics shows a sharp spike in ranking for 4 days starting 14th May after which the volumes returned to a more-or-less stable plane. Advanced Web Rankings showed significant ranking fluctuations throughout the month. Additionally, the effect on individual websites can vary greatly – some may find a drop in rankings and traffic, others may find an increase and some may remain unaffected. It is best if each webmaster analyses the situation after each update to know where the site stands and to make any changes that may be needed.

What Webmasters Say

Webmaster’s reaction to the updates have not, overall, been positive. Among the common comments being posted are:

  • 30% of websites have lost rankings.
  • It appears to have the greatest effect on low DA sites.
  • This morning my USA traffic is -60%, UK is -22% and Search is-29%.
  • There has been a slight uptick this month.
  • A decrease in organic traffic is noticeable.
  • Traffic returned to normal after a few days.
  • I notice massive ranking changes in the middle of the night.
  • Traffic will grow for a few days and then start dropping again.
  • It seems the updates are rewarding Walmart, Amazon and other big businesses.
  • Yesterday everything snapped right back into the old traffic pattern and all of the sections of my site which were down 40%-80% since Easter were back to their old levels.

While Google ranking algorithm updates are nothing new, it appears, from the preponderance of negative reactions, that the May updates caught people off guard and the reactions, at least among those who vocalized their response, have been one of frustration and being left with no option but to wait for the situation to stabilize and hope that lost ground can be regained.

As for how ranking and traffic will be affected by future updates, it is a wait-and-watch situation.



Moz Cast


Advanced Web Ranking

Advanced Web Ranking

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