Key Insights on Google’s March Broad Core Algorithm Update

30-Second Summary:

  • Google’s March 2024 Core Update targets enhancing search result quality by reducing low-quality content by 40%, emphasising quality over quantity.
  • The update addresses scaled content abuse, site reputation abuse, and expired domain abuse, signalling a crackdown on manipulative SEO practices.
  • Site owners can adapt by focusing on creating high-quality, original content, improving user experience, adhering to E-E-A-T principles, avoiding manipulative SEO tactics, and continuously adjusting their content strategy.

With another broad core update, Google as always are keeping websites on their toes to ensure that users are getting the best experience possible. The March Core Update from Google was announced on 5th March and marks a significant milestone, aimed at enhancing the quality of search results, by taking a firm stance against unhelpful and low-quality content, pledging to reduce it by a substantial 40%.

For site owners and marketers, this update presents both challenges and opportunities, so what are the main aspects to consider? Below, we’ll take a look into the specifics of the Google Core update for March and explore how site owners can adapt and adjust for this.Top of Form

Overview of the Google March 2024 Core Update

In Google’s ongoing efforts to prioritise the quality of content in its search results, this update is one of the more extensive in recent years, introducing substantial changes aimed at reducing the prevalence of low-quality, unoriginal content by an ambitious 40%.

Google stated in its post on Google Search Central that this update is a “more complex update than our usual core updates, involving changes to multiple core systems. It also marks an evolution in how we identify the helpfulness of content.” In effect, Google wants to ensure the user experience is elevated and provides more helpful, high-quality information for every search.

At the heart of this update are algorithm changes designed to improve search result quality alongside new spam policies targeting manipulative practices. These policies specifically address three main areas:

  • Scaled content abuse – mass production of low-value or unoriginal content aimed at manipulating search rankings.
  • Site reputation abuse – leveraging high-authority domains to publish low-quality content to boost rankings.
  • Expired domain abuse – buying old domains to repurpose them for SEO advantages with low-quality content​.

As Search Engine Journal noted, the Google March Core update builds upon previous efforts to demote unhelpful and unoriginal content since 2022. It represents a significant step forward in refining Google’s ranking systems to better identify web pages that may not be as useful or that seem primarily designed to rank well rather than to provide actual value to users​.

Google’s crackdown reflects a broader trend towards promoting quality over quantity when it comes to content. By penalising sites that engage in these manipulative behaviours, Google believes “these updates will reduce the amount of low-quality content on Search and send more traffic to helpful and high-quality sites.”  Overall it wants to direct people to content that is genuinely informative and useful, improving the overall user experience on the web.

Key Changes and Their Impact

The update introduces targeted changes designed to significantly impact how websites are evaluated and ranked in search results. These changes primarily focus on combating three forms of issues related to content and SEO, each aimed at enhancing the quality and reliability of information available to users online.

Scaled Content Abuse – Google’s updated policy now thoroughly addresses the creation of large-scale, unoriginal, or low-quality content designed to boost search rankings artificially. The update takes a stringent stance against content that is mass-generated through automation, human efforts, or a combination of both, that fails to deliver meaningful or helpful information. This broad approach underscores the importance of originality and user value in content creation​.

Site Reputation Abuse – This tactic involves exploiting high-authority domains to publish low-quality content, thereby manipulating search rankings. The March Google Core update puts an end to such practices by penalising third-party content that does not contribute value and is produced solely for ranking purposes. This adjustment ensures that only valuable and relevant content benefits from the reputation of established sites​, with Google enforcing this on 5 May to give sites 2 months’ notice.

Expired Domain Abuse – The purchase and misuse of expired domains to publish irrelevant, low-quality content for SEO gains have also been addressed. By taking action, Google aims to preserve the integrity of search results and prevent misleading practices that exploit a domain’s past reputation for present gains​.

These updates together signal that Google is intensifying their efforts to prioritise high-quality, relevant, and original content in search over sites trying to manipulate them. The impact could potentially impact sites across the board — from those previously unaffected by updates to even small fully AI-generated content sites. The update is expected to take about a month to fully roll out, with Google saying, “it’s likely there will be more fluctuations in rankings than with a regular core update, as different systems get fully updated and reinforce each other.”

You’ll be able to see when the update is complete on the Google Search Status Dashboard here.

How Site Owners Can Adapt to the Google March Core Update

So, what do businesses need to do? Whilst it continues to roll out, Google states “there’s nothing new or special that creators need to do for this update as long as they’ve been making satisfying content meant for people.”

In other words, some site owners will need to renew their approach to content creation and their SEO strategies so that they do not fall foul of Google’s new standards. Here are some actionable tips to consider:

Focus on High-Quality, Original Content – Creating original, high-quality content has been necessary for a while now, meaning your content should offer genuine value to users, addressing their needs and queries comprehensively. The goal is to move away from thin, unoriginal content and towards in-depth, insightful, and useful content.

Elevate User Experience (UX) – Improving the user experience on your site can have a significant impact on how Google evaluates your content. Sites should be user-friendly, mobile-optimised, and easy to navigate for an overall positive user experience.

Utilise E-E-A-T Principles – Demonstrating Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) within your content is more crucial than ever. Ensure that your site and its content clearly display your qualifications and expertise in your niche. This involves citing reputable sources, showcasing author credentials, and producing content that reflects a deep understanding of your subject matter.

Avoid Manipulative SEO Practices – Steer clear of SEO tactics deemed manipulative by Google, such as keyword stuffing, hidden text, and the use of irrelevant links. Instead, focus on organic SEO strategies that align with Google’s guidelines, including the use of relevant, natural keywords, and earning links from reputable sites through the quality of your content​.

Monitor and Adapt Content Strategy – Continuously monitor your site’s performance and adjust your content strategy accordingly. Google Analytics and Search Console can tell you which pages are performing well, and which aren’t.

Embracing these strategies is all about providing more value and an engaging experience for users. Google wants to ensure when people choose to use them that they get the best results for their query. So much so that they have even deindexed sites completely since the Google core algo March update started.

How We Can Help

Our digital marketing agency can help guide you through the nuances of Google’s March 2024 update, helping you adapt where needed if you’re not sure where to start.

With a deep understanding of SEO best practices and content strategy, we’re here to help you audit your site, enhance your content quality, and develop a strategy that not only complies with the latest update but also drives long-term success and visibility for your brand.Top of Form

Contact us today to discuss any concerns you may have with the latest core update, and we can look at an action plan to help you recover and improve.

For more insights, please visit our blog, where you can discover 10 tips for writing effective email subject lines and content, and 5 factors that influence your rankings.

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