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Google's March 2024 Update

Quality Content is the Name of the Game! Navigating Your Way Through Google’s March 2024 Update

Looking to wrap your head around Google’s latest core update? You are just at the right place! ...

One of the reasons why Google has managed to maintain its reputation as the world’s favorite and most used search engine is because of the periodic updates it rolls out, all of which are aimed at improving the experience of its users, helping them find what they are looking for in as hassle-free a manner as possible. Its March 2024 update holds no exception either.

Declared by Google to be more extensive than its usual core updates, the March 2024 Core Update is the company’s first core update of the year (also its first algorithmic update of the year). A bunch of spam updates have also been announced alongside this. Now, this update aims to bring into effect algorithm changes to enhance the quality of search results as well as reduce spam. Google claims that this update will help reduce low-quality, irrelevant, and unhelpful content by as much as 40%.

What more does this update entail? And what sort of changes you might need to effect to your content strategy because of it? These are precisely the questions we address in our blog today! Let’s dive in then, shall we?

March 2024 core update: primary focus

The central focus of this core update by Google is to improve its ranking systems. The March 2024 update will boost Google’s core ranking system by implementing its “helpful content system” directly into it. Housing multiple updates, rollout of the March 2024 update is expected to take a month and bring about changes to multiple core systems. This update can be viewed as the latest measure taken by Google as part of the commitment it embarked upon in 2022 to reduce unoriginal and unhelpful content. 

With this update, Google’s understanding of the relevance and purposefulness of websites, both in terms of the content they hold and the user experience they offer,  is supposed to undergo an extreme heightening as a result of this update; it’ll become better at ascertaining if a certain website is made for catering to people or search engines (some websites which are made with the specific intention of matching highly specific search queries fall under this category).

As mentioned earlier, since this update involves Google’s helpful content system getting incorporated into the core ranking system, the company will no longer be rolling out any helpful content update (the last update was in September 2023). 

Now, let’s address something that might be brewing in your mind- what if your ranking drops courtesy of this update? After all, there have always been instances of pages getting negatively affected by core updates so this is only but a logical ponderance. Here’s what Google generally advises in such an event:

  • A drop in ranking might not necessarily be indicative of something undesirable plaguing your content. Thus, in such a scenario, nothing you implement will help your cause.
  • Carry out a content audit. Check if your content satisfies the following criteria:
    • It should be original.
    • It should provide a comprehensive account of the subject matter it is tackling.
    • If it is alluding to other sources, it should have definitively built upon them rather than merely paraphrasing or plagiarising them.
    • It should be compelling enough to persuade a visitor to either bookmark it or share it with their peers.
    • The page title should steer clear of sensationalism. Instead, it should provide a concise summary of the content.
    • The integrity and value proposition of the content should be such that it warrants a mention by other reputable and credible publications.
    • It should offer insights that readers would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
    • It should be free of stylistic or spelling issues; it shouldn’t appear as something that has been put together hastily and carelessly.
  • Wait till the next core update is rolled out; sometimes, only another core update holds the power to reverse the impact of its predecessor. 

Taking a look at the spam policies

Besides releasing the core update, Google also introduced a slew of spam updates, all with the intention of eliminating inferior content. In this section, we take a detailed look at them.

Expired domain abuse

Google’s new spam policies will seek to get rid of expired domain abuse, a malpractice wherein businesses purchase expired domains and repurpose them to improve the search ranking of second-rate content. This is usually done with the intention of tricking users into thinking that new content added to a domain actually belongs to the older, credible site. Now with this update in place, businesses found guilty of indulging in this practice will be taken to task via manual actions and algorithmic spam systems.

Scaled content abuse

Scaled content abuse refers to the production of redundant and irrelevant content at a large scale, primarily with the help of automation (the update will also address cases of manual scaled content abuse as well cases that involve a combination of man and machine). Typically, businesses do this to go up in search rankings. Sites that lure in users with seemingly helpful answers to their queries only to eventually serve them platters of valueless information will be penalized under this policy. 

Site reputation abuse

This policy will take action against trusted sites who host low-quality content belonging to third-party sites with the intention of benefitting from the hosting site’s ranking power. However, not all third-party content will not come in violation of this policy; only those that appear to be hosted without careful supervision of the host and with the explicit intention of boosting search engine ranking. Hence, content posted as part of native advertising won’t face any consequences.

Creating content the right way: some best practices

There’s no shortcut other than producing high-quality content to ranking highly on Google’s search results pages. How does one produce such content, you ask? By taking into factor the following considerations:

  • Aim to create content that is people-first, that caters to their curiosities, interests, and pain points. Leverage your subject matter expertise to curate your page’s content in a manner such that it directly responds to any queries they might have. Rather than launching into a monologue about your offering’s salient features, aim to foster a dialogue that informs readers about the various ways in which your products and services can add value to their lives. On top of that, ensure that every section of your content has a distinct and laser-sharp focus; redundancy and vagueness will not do you any favors with respect to consolidating your ranking.
  • Do not create content solely to meet search engine ranking criteria; you will end up producing content that sounds mechanical and incoherent. Similarly, producing content in high volumes simply to manipulate search engine rankings will get you nowhere if, at the end of the day, said content doesn’t pack any unique insights or analysis. Of late, a lot of businesses have been found guilty of participating forcefully in trends merely for the sake of staying in the conversation. What such inorganic attempts at content creation do is yield an output that neither aligns with the personality of the brand nor is palatable for the audience it is servicing.
  • If at all you are making substantial use of AI tools to generate the content on your page, it is always a good practice to disclose the same to your readers; being transparent with your readers regarding the processes and tools that inform your content creation mechanism can go a long way towards solidifying your relationship with them.
  • Stay on top of your analytics. Frequent algorithmic changes effected by Google call for frequent audits and meticulous performance measurement. Both, producing high-quality content as well as making sure it aligns with the best practices mandated by Google’s ranking algorithms are essentially towards boosting your visibility on the world’s most popular search engine. 

Wrapping it up

Getting a clear grasp of the implications of Google’s March 2024 Core Update is essential for it’ll shape the very way in which you go about auditing your content strategy. We hope the insights shared above help you with the same, enabling you to create content that is rich in value and high on performance.

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Prajakti Pathak - Content Writer

Prajakti is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Mavlers. She brings with her a rich content creation experience of over 10 years. A creative mind and a good hold on syntax make her traverse her writing through different forms of content including blogs, interviews, infographics, case studies, etc. While writing is her first love, she’s also an avid birdwatcher.

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