Will the March 2024 Google Core Update be the Biggest One Yet?

News, Marketing

Don’t Get Left Behind: What You Need to Know about the March 2024 Google Core Update

The first Core update of 2024 is here! For decades, Google has released massive updates that change the algorithms that either skyrocket your website to new heights or take it down to new lows. But with AI (artificial intelligence) quickening the pace of everything in our digital space, where does that leave our websites in search results?

At Now Media Group, our digital marketers always stay on top of emerging trends and Google updates. With the recent Core update, rolling out on March 5th and expected to last three weeks to one month, let’s talk about what it means for your website and how we prepare our client’s sites to survive the deafening blow that some get dealt.

The team at Now Media has been speculating about an update for a while, especially with the four back-to-back updates at the end of 2023. When both January and February passed by with no signs of a Core update, we remained vigilant. While the March update is no surprise, the rollout length and possible scale of how it will affect search results are.

What Is the March Core Update Targeting?

Google announced its commitment to elevating the user experience by rooting out low-quality content and promoting valuable insights and resources. This Core update isn’t just another slight adjustment to search results; it’s an overall enhancement of multiple Core systems that are looking to reshape the entirety of the search landscape.

The March 2024 Core update is targeting unoriginal, spammy content. We’ve also seen manual actions taking place, where entire spammy websites are being fully de-indexed. Many of these websites are known for manipulating Google’s algorithm.

The main goal of this Core update seems to lie in cultivating an environment that encourages the proliferation of helpful content, including third-party content, and the decline of clickbait. Websites that have been producing content with vastly different expectations—focused on search rankings rather than user value—are now prompted to align with the same principle and spirit of providing genuine utility.

Our Websites Are Stable, For Now

As a digital marketing agency with hundreds of clients, these Core updates are always a bit worrisome, no matter how solid our websites may be. Google does what it wants, and any website can be affected by Core updates. While it’s still early on in the rollout, we have seen little to no decline in our search rankings for the websites across the board. We’ve actually hit some new highs of impressions and clicks for certain websites.

Aesthetic Dental Associates is our top-performing website due to a new approach we’ve implemented called Topical Authority. On Thursday, March 7th, we saw a record high of 612 clicks, and we must say, for a dental website, it’s impressive. Now, you may see that dip and think it looks like we’re being targeted. However, we see dips in impressions and clicks each weekend; it’s a pattern that’s not out of the ordinary for our websites.

Google Search Console for Aesthetic Dental Associates

If you’re interested in learning more about our topical authority approach, check out our case study, or contact our marketing team today.

Tackling Spam and Manipulative Tactics

Now back to what else is taking place during this Core update. Since its uprising in late 2022, AI has allowed content to be scaled like never before. However, AI is notoriously known to produce low-quality content that contributes little to no value to users. It seems that the heart of this Core update is to penalize websites that use mass-produced AI that spams the algorithms and provides no value to users.

Google aims to diminish the prevalence of low-quality content in Google’s search results by imposing penalties on those who resort to automation and generic content. This is a clear signal: the path to success in search rankings now requires investment in quality and a commitment to the user’s search experience.

Google states:

“This will allow us to take action on more types of content with little to no value created at scale, like pages that pretend to have answers to popular searches but fail to deliver helpful content.”

Site Reputation Abuse Measures

Google’s long-standing spam policy has evolved to include measures against site reputation abuse. This abuse, characterized by hosting content that’s low-value and created purely to manipulate search rankings, is now being targeted. Google’s algorithm is on the lookout for such content, especially when it’s not closely monitored by site owners.

Google provides the following example of site reputation abuse:

“For example, a third party might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain ranking benefits from the site. Such content ranking highly in Search can confuse or mislead visitors, who may have vastly different expectations for the content on a given website.”

Expired Domain Abuse

Exploiting the credibility of expired domains is a tactic as old as time, but with the March 2024 Google Core Update, it’s one whose time has come to an end. Google has sharpened its algorithms to identify and demote sites that abuse expired domain names, aiming to purge search results of low-value content hiding behind a once-reputable guise.


Expect to See Changes in Search Results

With the March 2024 Core Update set to eliminate roughly 40% of low-quality content from its indexes, the Google search results landscape is on the brink of a significant transformation.

Shift in Link Signals

This update brings a recalibration of link signals, an essential component of Google’s search algorithms. As the update rolls out, the weight and influence of backlinks in determining search rankings will undergo refinement. This shift aims to ensure that link signals more accurately reflect the quality and relevance of content rather than simply the quantity of links a page has accrued.

Focus on User Satisfaction

Google’s update underscores a fundamental truth: user satisfaction is paramount. The push for high-quality content goes hand-in-hand with an emphasis on usability, access, and addressing specific user needs. These elements are critical to not only meeting but exceeding user expectations, which in turn influences search rankings.

User-generated content like genuine reviews can enhance the authenticity and user satisfaction of a site, a factor that Google’s search algorithms increasingly favor. By fine-tuning its ranking system, Google is shifting the focus to websites that deliver a superior user experience, not just those optimized for search engines.

Don’t Panic! Adapt Your SEO Strategy to Perform Better and Survive Core Updates

As we navigate through the March 2024 Google Core Update, it’s clear that the rules of engagement for SEO have shifted. The update’s aggressive stance on low-quality content and manipulative tactics has set a new standard for what it takes to succeed in the realm of search. As we still have a couple of weeks left for the rollout, it will be interesting to see what our search results look like at the end of it.

If you’re already suffering from the Core update, or if you’re looking for a new digital marketing company, contact Now Media Group today at (858) 333-8950.

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