Google's Core Update March 2023: The Impact on Local SEO

Google's March 2023 algorithm took 13 days to complete. It impacted Local SEO rankings by highlighting primary categories in Google Business Profiles.


Google confirmed the rollout of its core algorithm update on March 15th, 2023, on Twitter. The rollout took about 13 days to complete. View all updated statuses to Google Search on Google's Status Dashboard. 

With the core update complete, there is consensus within the Local SEO community on the significant impacts of the update and what you need to look out for. We've summarized everything here for you. 

The Impact

We can never predict what a core update will impact, but historically we know rankings will be affected - good or bad. So, we recommend monitoring site metrics, focusing on relevant content, and keeping up with Local SEO best practices and technical optimization.

Primary Category on Google Business Profile

The Google core update prioritizes the primary category as a ranking factor, supported by research and community consensus.

Below is an image of the local search for Dentists. The primary category is highlighted in red, indicating where a user may see a business category. 

Google query of local Dentists highlighting their primary category on Google.


Prioritizing the primary category may change the visibility of some business listings. For some, it will boost their ranking. However, it will also add more competitor listings, in some cases decreasing rankings.

The categories themselves are additionally matching broader queries. Look at the complete study and how the core update impacted primary categories.

Next Steps

Want to learn if you have been impacted? Check your rankings for popular keywords and keyword phrases. If you need a platform to check these rankings, we recommend 

Make sure your categories within the Google Business Profile are set up accurately. Check out our blog, Properly Optimizing Google Business Profile Categories, for a deep dive. 


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