Google Core Update

March 2024 saw two significant updates to Google’s algorithm, a Core Update, which aims to cut unhelpful content by 40% in conjunction with ongoing efforts since 2022 to enhance the quality of search results by filtering out low-quality, unoriginal content, and a Spam Update. Both have significant potential to affect search rankings and both updates are rolled out and live. We will continue to monitor for any ranking volatility with our keyword strategy and adjust our optimization strategy if necessary.

What’s the March 2024 Core Update?

Google’s primary goal right now is reducing spam and low-quality search results for users. Their helpful content updates, previously introduced, are now incorporated into their core updates, underscoring their commitment to enhancing user experience by promoting high-quality, user-centric content. Google continues to prioritize genuinely helpful content that offers a positive user experience, emphasizing that content should be created for users rather than for manipulating search rankings.

It is important to note that the actual impact of the March 2024 Core Update alone on reducing unhelpful content has not been separately quantified in the available public communications from Google, nor has Google previously announced past data points that could be used to determine the exact impact of the 2024 Core Update. 

This discrepancy is a bit odd, possibly showing more of a PR motive from Google in releasing the 40% figure than a useful piece of information. This approach highlights Google's sustained efforts to better discern and elevate content that genuinely meets user needs, despite not providing detailed metrics on the specific impacts of individual updates.

While this does not mean that businesses can’t use AI-generated content on their websites, it does mean that it should still have input, editing, and curation by an actual human. To add value to AI-generated material, businesses should incorporate their unique brand voice, utilize real-world stories and experiences that are unique to their operations, and leverage data and insights gathered from their teams. These steps ensure that the content not only resonates more deeply with its audience but also adheres to quality standards that search engines favor.

What Are the New Spam Updates?

Google rolled out 3 new spam updates to combat bad SEO strategies that are now classified as spam tactics:

  • Scaled content abuse
  • Expired domain abuse
  • Site reputation abuse

Scaled Content Abuse

Scaled content abuse means the widespread production of content aimed at manipulating search engine rankings, whether crafted by AI or humans. Google's algorithms have become increasingly capable of identifying such content by evaluating not only the volume but also engagement signals that indicate whether content is useful to users. This policy targets content that is produced in large volumes without meaningful user engagement or added value, emphasizing the need for quality and relevance in content creation, regardless of the quantity produced.

Expired Domain Abuse

Expired domain abuse is another tactic used to manipulate search rankings. This black hat SEO strategy involves buying or repurposing expired domains in order to host low-quality content and trick search users into thinking they’re reading new content on an old website, bypassing the efforts required to build genuine site value organically. Such practices not only mislead users but also undermine the integrity of domain authority as a reliable metric, potentially diluting user trust in established web metrics and the authenticity of search results. 

Site Reputation Abuse

Site reputation abuse has also been called “Parasite SEO” which should tip you off immediately that this is not a good practice. Think of a parasite–they “piggyback” on healthy hosts to reap the benefits. In this case, websites will host low-quality content (also known as thin content) provided by third parties in order to reap potential ranking power from higher authority websites. As Google explains, “A third party might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain ranking benefits from the site.” 

This practice exploits the trust and authority of well-regarded sites to boost the rankings of lower-quality content, which can degrade the user experience by presenting misleading or irrelevant information on otherwise reputable sites. By highlighting the need for webmasters to closely monitor and curate third-party content, Google aims to preserve the authenticity of trusted domains and ensure that they continue to offer valuable, relevant information to users.

Your Business in Mind

The world of SEO best practices continues to evolve, so rest assured our team of dedicated content writers and SEO experts always puts your business first when producing content for your website. 

Need help with your web content? Contact iMarket Solutions today to get started with content services to reach more relevant customers online.