Google just dropped a major update with its latest search algorithm and policy revamp to crack down spammy and low-quality content that pollutes its search engine.

Dubbed the March 2024 Core Update, this is not any regular tweak, it’s pretty significant if you ask us.

So what’s in the mix? Google’s making adjustments to their algorithms to render better search results and less “unhelpful” content.

Here’s the inside scoop on how it affects your content strategy and what you should do in order to keep up.

 

What Does the Google March 2024 Core Update Address?

 

Quality-Driven Ranking

The March 2024 Core Update focuses on improving Google’s ranking systems.

Google’s Search Product Director Elizabeth Tucker put it this way, “We’re enhancing our core ranking systems to ensure that we’re providing only the most useful and relevant information in search results and cutting down on the unoriginal.”

The company’s been working extremely hard in eliminating unhelpful and recycled content since 2022. And the current update is made to build on those efforts.

These beefed up ranking systems will decide if a web page is only a search engine pawn or it could be more useful and easier to use.

With the March 2024 Core update and previous initiatives, Google hopes to reduce the amount of recycled, sub-par content in search results by 40%.

 

Changes in Link Signal

The update also stresses how important it is to build natural and authentic links. Your SEO win will now depend heavily on legitimate, high-quality backlinks from different sources. Shady link schemes like SPAM links are a no go.

 

Amended Spam Policies

Besides fortifying their rankings, Google’s also switching things up in their spam policies to remove what we call as “bottom-of-the-barrel” content from search results. And three categories were introduce:

 

Scaled Content Abuse

If you think manipulating search engine ranking is easy, think again.

Google’s strengthened policy will zero in on the dubious practice of mass-producing content that’s of little to no value to jack up search ranking, be it written by humans, AI tools like ChatGPT or Gemini, or a combination of both.

 

Site Reputation Abuse

Site reputation abuse is when trusted websites host medicore third-party content in an attempt to “harness” the hosting website’s positive rep.

This problem can be seen when unethical folks decide to post online-casino-related content on a reputable educational website to capitalise on the website’s good rep and amp up their own ranking. And when this content begins to rank highly in Google’s SERP, it can fool readers into thinking that it’s something completely different from what they’d normally find on that website.

From this update onward, Google will classify any content created only to satisfy search engines as SPAM.

Expired Domain Abuse

Google’s updated spam policies also take action against those who abuse expired domains. This is when individuals take over expired domains and modify them to boost the search rankings of low-quality content. Clever, huh? Users can be fooled to believe that the new content they’re reading is connected to the older, more reliable site.

 

When Does the Update Take Effect?

Google March 2024 Core Update goes into effect as we speak, with websites given two months to comply with the new guidelines.

In their announcement, Google stressed how they’ll not waver in their commitment to deliver excellent search results.

Tucker mentioned that billions of questions are tackled on a regular basis, and there’s always room for improvement. They strive to keep an eye on junky content and present more stuff that actually benefits readers.

 

What Happens if You Fail to Comply with Google’s March 2024 Core Update?

Google’s on a steadfast commitment to provide quality, helpful content. Even if you’ve gotten away with it in the past, you could run into hot waters if your website doesn’t comply with these new rules.

Here’s what can befall you:

  • Declined searched rankings:

Say Google doesn’t see what you’re providing as valuable, your site may experience a sharp decline in search rankings. Less business, less traffic.

  • Manual actions such as having your site de-indexed:

If you’re actively ignoring Google’s spam policies, your site may be subject to severe manual penalties, including having it completely removed from search results or lowered in rank.

  • Jepordised brand reputation:

Your content is what builds up your brand reputation. If there’s no quality content that can back your website, you risk damaging your rep, breaking your clients’ trust, and making them afraid to visit again, let alone doing business with you.

With all that said, it is in both your company’s and your audience’s best interest to review your resources and ensure that you’re adhering to the guidelines highlighted in this update. Better not to cry over spilled milk, right?

 

Sectors and Sites Expected to be Hit by the Google March 2024 Core Update

 

Here are a few ways the update can affect certain industries:

  • E-Commerce: You’re bound to have a very difficult time if your site is all about fake stuff, spamming, or misleading information.
  • Finance: If you’re in the finance sector and are offering sketchy financial service or disseminating false information, sleep with one eye open.
  • Health: Sites promoting unlicensed health products or offering medical advice may take a hit in search rankings.
  • Sites with mostly AI-generated content: Google’s putting extra pressure on sites that generate content only through AI. Yes, AI is helpful, but human inspection and edits are still required to ensure relevancy. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing anyway.

 

What Does That Mean for SEO?

The Google March 2024 Core Update marks a new era in SEO. Today, it’s more than just tossing in keywords. Your site’s link profile and content are now super important. Content that’s not just unique but also diverse and truly helpful to users is what gets you ahead of the game.

Here are some of our advices:

  • Review your content: Make sure that your content is unique, helpful, and educational.
  • Examine all your links: Remove any spammy links and zero in on the organic ones.
  • Pay attention to EAT factors: Improve the credibility and authority of your site.
  • Respect Google’s policies: Avoid getting yourself involved in shady activities that violate Google’s anti-spam guidelines.

 

Moving Forward

The Google March 2024 Core Update serves as a wake up call for us business owners and marketers to revise our digital marketing strategy. Business can thrive in this new era by focusing on high-quality content and ethical SEO tactics. As digital marketers, we must remain flexible and ready-to-adapt, constantly adjusting our game plan to meet the ever-evolving demands of the wider digital world and Google’s algorithms.

If your website was affected by the recent Google March 2024 Core Update, don’t sweat! Marketing Signal Lab Malaysia has all the know-how to recover your site We can help you with anything from regaining lost ranks to fine-tuning your digital marketing strategy. Get in touch with us today, and let’s review those opportunities together!

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