Data Behind May 2023 Algorithm Update

TL;DR: Question-based queries have seen the biggest drop during this update.


May the 4th 2023 marks one of the craziest and most turbulent updates ever. A SERP flux this turbulent was last recorded by Algoroo on the 13th of February 2020, but more or less an isolated event. Last time we had a whole month like this was back in 2018, just before  the August Core and Medic updates.


The Analysis

We looked at a sample of 10M queries retrieved from Google Search Console from a diverse sample of industries and looked for those that are:

  1. Gone (47,730)
  2. Down by 1-10 (43,808)
  3. Down by 10-20 (2,656)
  4. Down by more than 20 (1,829)

It’s immediately obvious that the majority of the affected queries were either demoted by between 1 and 10 positions or completely gone.

What types of queries are affected?

We’ve seen a variety of affected queries but a significant portion of them was in a question or how to format. Average length of impacted queries was 3.65 words which was a surprise as we expected questions to be associated with longer queries.

Here’s a sample:

(how, many, ____)214
(how, to, get)204
(how, do, i)192
(how, to, make)184
(how, long, does)179
(what, is, a)175
(what, is, the)154
(how, do, you)113
(how, long, to)96
(how, to, fix)94
(many, _____, in)94
(how, to, remove)89
(does, it, take)88
(long, does, it)87
(how, to, calculate)82
(get, rid, of)80
(to, get, a)70
(how, much, does)63
(wallet, how, to)63
(______, how, to)61
(how, to, find)60
(best, time, to)59
(do, you, need)59
(how, much, is)58
(mean, what, does)57
(do, i, fix)56
(card, how, to)55
(lawn, how, to)55
(how, to, use)53
(to, get, rid)53
(how, to, check)52
(how, much, should)52
(business, how, to)51
(how, much, can)50
(how, to, cancel)48
(account, how, to)48
(is, the, best)47
(apple, pay, how)47
(take, how, long)46
(how, long, do)44
(do, i, need)43
(how, much, money)42
(how, to, delete)42
(how, to, grow)42
(best, way, to)41
(how, can, i)41

That’s all we know so far. Further updates will be posted on this page.

If you want to contribute with your own data please let us know.

Reader Comments and Interpretation

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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