Technical SEO 6 min read

Braking down Google’s Hard-Hitting March 2024 Update

By Scott Donnelly 14 March, 2024

As you will have likely seen, last week Google released the March 2024 Core Algorithm Update. With it, comes a host of changes aiming to improve the quality of ranking results and reducing the presence of spam from search results, including the targeting of low-quality content produced at scale by automation.

While we have become accustomed to these core algorithm updates coming and going with limited wholesale changes, this one seems to have hit differently, with some in the industry even saying it’s on par with the impact felt by Panda and Penguin, which truly is saying something. 

So what is the update? 

Google has stated that this update was designed to focus on two key areas: 

  • Improving the quality of ranking results 
  • Removing spam from search results 

Google has been on the warpath in recent months (or years for that matter), to eradicate poor-quality sites from the SERPs. In this update, Google has been pretty specific about 3 core areas they are looking to clamp down on: 

Scaled Content Abuse

Google is wanting to remove sites that are using low-quality content automation to create masses of content. Will still focus on the quality of the content as a primary factor.

Site Reputation Abuse

Looking to eradicate low quality sites leeching off authoritative domains to boost search ranking. This policy is being published now ahead of a May 5th launch. So start reviewing your site now to see if you could be at risk.

Expired Domain Abuse

This is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, aimed to target the buying of expired domains and repurposing them to boost the performance of low-quality or unoriginal content. Naturally, as great SEO practitioners, you won’t be doing this anyway, but if you are, stop!

What impact has it had thus far? 

There have been differing reports coming in from around the SEO community. Some sites have allegedly disappeared into the ether (eek), where as others have seen an improvement in their overall rankings.  

At QueryClick, we have seen either no impact for our clients, or in some instances, we have seen small amounts of visibility growth.  

What can you do to avoid being impacted? 

First and foremost, these algorithm updates aren’t designed to catch you out if you are executing a high-quality SEO strategy already. These updates are here to remove those sites that are creating content purely for the sake of ranking, without ensuring they are adding value to customers. 

Through creating, quality, expert content you will likely be able to avoid being impacted by this, and similar, algorithm updates in the future.

To do this, whenever you are creating content you should always consider: 

  • Does the content I am creating provide the information a customer would be needing in order to feel informed after reading? Is it thorough and all encompassing? 
  • Do I have the genuine expertise and experience to be writing about this? 
  • Is what I am writing adding something new to the conversation or am I re-hashing old information? 

If you can answer the three statements above positively, then you should be in a good position with your content. Remember SEO, and content in general, is all about E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness). We should be using as the mantle for all content we create!

What’s next? 

This update is still rolling out, and I would imagine over the next several weeks we will begin to see the complete impact of the changes. We’ll be keeping our eye on things and rest assured we’ll let you know if things change.

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