Seven Essential Insights on March 2024 Google Core Update

Seven Essential Insights on March 2024 Google Core Update

Google’s March 2024 core update is a significant event in the SEO world, comparable to previous major updates like Panda and Penguin. Some have seen changes in their search rankings, while others have been removed from Google Search entirely. Its effects are large and affect many, and experts agree it’s important. If your site felt the impact, there are five key points you should know to avoid penalties and keep your site visible in search results.

1. Google to Remove Websites Entirely from Search Index

Google’s March 2024 update aimed at a major cleanup, targeting to eliminate around 40% of low-quality websites, and promoting helpful content. These are sites considered to provide little to no value, often filled with irrelevant or unoriginal content, and created solely for ranking in search queries. This move led to the disappearance of many websites from Google’s search engine results and index, highlighting the emphasis on improving user experience by reducing clutter and promoting more valuable content.

2. Immediate Penalty Application

This update brought penalties quickly, catching many site owners off guard and searching for solutions.

To check if your website was affected by Google’s update, search for it on Google using “site:yourwebsite.com”. Barry Schwartz mentioned that Google wouldn’t alert owners through 

Google Search Console for ranking changes caused by the March 2024 core or spam updates. These updates are automated, and notifications for changes in site rankings, whether negative or positive, due to an algorithm update, are not provided.

3. Websites Previously Unaffected May Not Be Safe Anymore

Even older websites that had avoided penalties in past updates are now facing consequences with this latest update. There’s a sense of approval from some, who believe it’s high time these low-quality sites were removed from search results for exploiting the system for so long.

Yet, there are some who are confused, trying to figure out why their entire network has suddenly disappeared from search results.

In a private SEO group, a story surfaced about a publisher whose network of eight niche websites, established over the last two years with mostly human-written content, saw a sudden drop to zero traffic. This situation highlights the importance of demonstrating deep knowledge in specific areas, as Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines prioritize experience and expertise in ranking, suggesting the broad topic range of these sites may have contributed to their visibility issues.

4. Websites with Outdated and Erroneous Content Are At Risk

Google has introduced an additional consideration for determining untrustworthy content with the lowest E-E-A-T rating: if the content is AI-generated, outdated, or contains errors.

This means that websites with outdated information or content littered with errors are particularly vulnerable to being penalized or even removed from Google’s search results. Google wants that users are provided with accurate and trustworthy information, and websites that do not meet these criteria will face consequences.

With each update, Google continues to prioritize quality content and enhanced user experience. This means that websites that focus on producing valuable, well-written, and informative content are more likely to see positive results in search rankings. User experience also plays a crucial role, including factors such as website loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and easy navigation. Websites that prioritize these elements will be rewarded with higher rankings.

5. Spam updates

On the other hand, spam updates specifically target sites that use manipulative tactics to try and improve their rankings. These tactics can include keyword stuffing, spammy link building, and thin or duplicate content. Websites that engage in such practices will face penalties when Google’s spam updates enhance user experience.

With each update, Google aims to enhance the user experience by ensuring that search results are relevant, trustworthy, and informative. One major aspect of this is the inclusion of featured snippets, which provide users with quick answers to their queries directly on the search results page. This feature has become increasingly popular, it allows users to get the information they need without having to click through to a website.

Furthermore, Google is continually working to improve its algorithms to combat black hat SEO techniques and spammy practices. Websites that engage in keyword stuffing, hidden text, or link schemes will be penalized.

6. Placing greater emphasis on mobile-friendliness

As more and more users are accessing the internet through their mobile devices. Websites that are not optimized for mobile screens will be penalized in the search rankings, as Google wants to ensure that users have a seamless browsing experience regardless of the device they are using.

In addition to these updates, Google is also prioritizing local search results. This means that businesses with a physical presence in a specific location will have a greater chance of appearing in the top search results for that area. This update is particularly important for small businesses, as it gives them an opportunity to compete with larger companies on a local level.

7. Small AI Content Websites Were Also Impacted

Google is now more effectively identifying AI-generated content, leading to penalties for even small sites that use such material. This marks a significant improvement in Google’s detection capabilities.

Google’s focus isn’t specifically on AI-generated content; it’s on eliminating all forms of valueless, repetitive, and unoriginal content that have a poor user experience. The aim is to purge poor-quality sites and promote those with meaningful information. This serves as a reminder for website owners that continuous improvement is essential for online success. For those running older or smaller sites, beginning with a detailed site review and addressing any issues promptly is advised.

Conclusion

Google values content that’s original, insightful, and beneficial to readers. Websites removed often had shallow or copied content lacking new viewpoints. Enhancing E-E-A-T shows you’re a credible source, which involves citing trusted sources and highlighting author expertise. The recent updates also prioritize user experience, emphasizing the importance of a site’s visual appeal and ease of navigation. Optimizing for user engagement through page speed, mobile compatibility, and clear navigation not only aligns with SEO goals but enriches the web for all visitors.

Adapting is crucial in the wake of Google’s significant updates, as seen by the numerous sites removed from its index. By analyzing patterns of affected websites, you can identify and fix your site’s vulnerabilities. Prioritize high-quality content and a great user experience. Conduct a thorough audit of your site and implement necessary changes. Although the path to improvement may seem challenging, every step taken to enhance your website moves it further from the risk of penalization by Google.