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Google’s “March 2024 Core Update” creates a negative shockwave… for some!

16th May 2024

Google’s latest March 2024 Core Update has been a big shock to some, a predicted turn for others and the saving grace for a few – but why has this particular update been so polarising, and what does it all really mean for you and your digital marketing strategy?

What is Google’s search algorithm and how has it evolved?

Googles search algorithms are the heart and mind that drives the search engine’s results. They control what we see at the top, and why, and this has been an ever-evolving and developing process since Google’s inception. In short, Google want to make sure that only the most genuinely relevant, good quality results are visible based on any search criteria, and they are constantly trying to mitigate the manipulation of their algorithm to artificially inflate the perceived relevance of articles (which is why this latest update has hit some companies harder than others – more on that later).

The highlights of Googles “March 2024 Core Update”

Let’s break down what’s new in the March 2024 core update, keeping things straightforward so you can easily understand the main points.

There’s no doubting it – this update is big, has far reaching implications and notice needs to be paid. Google describes this update as an “evolution in how [they] identify the helpfulness of content” and it’s all about quality, relevance and actually helping people get to the information that they need. This is combination of defensive tactics to mitigate spammy articles, Poor quality and AI written content and articles that have been written purely to artificially inflate the rankings of a website.

Protection against spam and manipulative techniques

Google’s March 2024 Spam Update has hit hard against several methods of manipulation:

  • Buying and repurposing expired domains to take advantage of their inherent reputation and flood it with poor content
  • Mass production of poor quality and or unoriginal articles, in particular those written by AI bots
  • Poor quality articles written by third parties and uploaded to a website that has an otherwise strong reputation

These are all attempts to try and manipulate content to rank higher in Google than they deserve based on the credit of the content alone. As with most things in life, taking shortcuts will only harm you in the end and there are huge companies that have either used these methods to try and artificially increase their ranking, or even more dangerously – been harmed by putting their trust into digital marketing companies who have taken them for a ride – short term gains are likely to return long term pains!

Google’s goal: Safer, more trustworthy results

By prioritising high-quality, relevant and helpful content, and by ensuring that third-party content aligns with the website’s values, Google is aiming to keep the internet safer and more trustworthy for it’s audience. For us, it’s great news – it means that better quality content will stand out, reach it’s intended audience, and results won’t be watered down by the swathe of AI written articles all regurgitating the same article 100’s of times. It also better protects us here at Spotlight against competitors who prefer to use manipulative strategies and go against Google’s guidelines for their clients.

How might it affect you, and what can you do about it?

We’ll talk about how the March 2024 core update might impact your website and share some practical tips on adjusting your strategy to keep your rankings healthy.

A word of caution: What happened to so many news publishers?

The Press Gazette has revealed challenges some news publishers have faced in light of the March 2024 core update. So how can you avoid falling into the same trap?

In a revealing analysis by the Press Gazette, it’s clear that the ‘March 2024 Core Update’ has been especially difficult for many news publishers, who have experienced significant drops in search visibility. This demonstrates the very real risk for websites that rely heavily on SEO strategies that are no longer effective, especially those who are too keen to jump onto trending techniques (such as farming out articles with the help of AI, or relying on catchy, misleading click-bait article titles).

This sharp decline reinforces the importance of originality, care and attention – ultimately, quality control should be as important within your marketing strategies as it is within your products and services.

If you’ve fallen victim to a reduction in rankings, then all is not lost – here are a few key steps to recovery:

  • Read through you content and check it for quality, relevance and helpfulness. Don’t fluff out your content to make it longer, Google is smarter than that.
  • Don’t use shortcuts within your own content creation or marketing strategy, and if you’re approached by a company that gives you guarantees, quick solutions or any too-good-to-be-true offer, then consider the risks, first.
  • Focus on good quality content. As we’ve mentioned a lot, the priority should be relevance and by Google’s own words “helpfulness”. Keep in mind that Google is a search engine, so if you make your content the genuinely most valuable for any given search phrase, this is what Google wants to see at number one.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re here to support you and use proactive steps so that you are represented in search results the way that you should be.

Stay ahead with our support

At Spotlight Studios, we understand the potential impact that Google’s algorithm updates can have your business. Our SEO services are designed to flow alongside these changes, leveraging them in a way that enhances your online presence. We focus on sustainable SEO strategies that prioritise trustworthy backlinking strategies, high-quality, relevant content (and a plethora of in-house Google-friendly secrets to boot) to ensure your website not only meets Google’s strict and everchanging standards, but is seen a source of authority within your industry.

Partnering with us gives you access to cutting-edge SEO expertise; keeping you ahead in a constantly evolving digital world – and whilst we’re focusing on Google, we’ll make sure that you show up in Bing and other major search engines, too!

Google's "March 2024 Core Update" creates a negative shockwave... for some! 1

Google “Core Updates” are nothing new

Algorithm “core updates” are nothing new and are part of Google’s continuous efforts to enhance user experience – for instance there were 4 core updates in 2023. Google constantly seeks to promote high-quality, relevant, and trustworthy content. However, the March 2024 Google core update is particularly noteworthy as it directly addresses the surge of AI-generated content flooding the search engine. With generative AI, such as ChatGPT, now widely accessible, the web has seen a significant increase in content that lacks the depth and accuracy of human-written material. While Google does not prohibit the use of AI for content creation, it emphasises and rewards genuine quality.

Google Core Update 2023

Your main takeaway: Emphasise quality content

At the danger of becoming repetitive.. At the end of the day, the Google March 2024 core update reinforces the importance of providing your audience with top-quality, accurate, and useful content—a strategy that we’ve always backed. As usual, if something seems to good to be true – it probably is. Companies that have offloaded their content creation to AI bots, as well as those who rely on click-bait style headings with meaningless content are in for a rude awakening, as demonstrated by the Press Gazette.

We’re excited, whilst some companies might be tearing their hair out – changes like this give us and our clients even more of an advantage.

Something in the article peaked your interest? We’re never more than a contact form or a quick call away so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

16th May 2024
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