How to Navigate the March Google Core Update

How to Navigate the March Google Core Update

Navigating a Google Core Update presents challenges and turmoil similar to navigating uncharted waters. You’ve probably already heard whispers, or screams rather, regarding the March Google Core Update, and this update certainly wasn’t a minor one. It is a clear indication from Google that their prioritisation of helpful, valuable content is here to stay, and marketers, content creators and business owners must take action.

Google Core Updates typically intends to improve the search engine’s ability to understand and determine the usefulness and relevance of content and rank it for users’ search queries. This is a part of Google’s plan to make the search engine experience more relevant, informative, and satisfying.

Google has tanked some websites, deindexing hundreds as it targets low-quality content and AI-generated spam.

 

What is the March Google Core Update

On the 6th of March 2024, Google released its latest Google Core Update, which released new details of improved search engine signals that has led to many websites losing organic traffic and organic rankings and in some cases, being removed entirely from Google. It focuses particularly on improving its spam policies to eradicate content generated by artificial intelligence and attempts to make the search engine results pages a more informative and relevant place for users’ search queries. 

Elizabeth Tucker, Director of Product for Search at Google, said: “We’re making algorithmic enhancements to our core ranking systems to ensure we surface the most helpful information on the web and reduce unoriginal content in search results”.

In the early stages of the update, over 800 websites were deindexed entirely from Google’s search results.

How to Navigate the March Google Core Update

How to Navigate the March Google Core Update - 7 steps

Backlinks

Google is cracking the whip on sketchy backlinks! If your website has an abundance of backlinks that are predominantly from dropped domains as an attempt to ‘recycle’ the previous website’s domain authority to boost your site, you may be in trouble.

To combat these detrimental backlinks, your immediate reaction should be to disavow any unwanted links from being associated with your website. This means removing the link between your site and the unwanted website, which tells search engines that you do not want these links to be associated with your website regarding indexing, crawling, and Google search rankings. 

After this, you should also re-focus your backlink strategy to source quality links from reputable domains.

Artificial Intelligence

The recent update from Google has AI at the forefront and sends a strong message to those filling their website with AI-generated content.

The debate around the legitimacy of AI-generated content has long stood within the marketing and SEO communities. This recent update has presented challenges that marketers and SEO specialists must navigate if they intend to utilise AI to support them in the future. 

Google is not trying to shut down the use of AI; in fact, its relationship with AI has come a long way in the last few years. Google previously described AI as “spam and breaks our guidelines”, which now has developed into “our focus is on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced.”

However, AI-generated content still lacks credibility, consciousness and emotions, significantly limiting its ability to understand human experiences and produce original creative work. 

Google’s crackdown on websites using AI to churn out spammy, unhelpful content reinforces the need for relevant, helpful content optimised appropriately. Remember to write for your audience, not the search engines. 

For more, see our recent blog, ‘The Future of SEO: Can AI Content Rank on Google?’.

Expired Domain Abuse

Some may have interpreted the late core update as intending to crack down on expired domains – however, this is only partially accurate. 

Initially, Google’s updated spam policies will target websites that have purchased expired domains to boost their search engine rankings. This tactic can lead online users to believe the new content is a part of the previous website and is used to manipulate audiences and search engines.

Instead, Google has introduced new signals that relate to how domains are used and can scan for changes in how a domain was previously used and its new purpose. Google’s expired domain signal examines how a new site built on an expired domain differs from its previous purpose. 

It doesn’t necessarily mean that similar content on an older domain can cause Google to penalise it completely, as the signal looks at the purpose of a website and its content. 

Spam Content

This particular Google Core Update has reinforced Google’s commitment to the relevance and quality of content they want to provide their users. Websites should create and share informed, quality content that is engaging and provides readers with content that satisfies their search queries and increases the quality of search results. It is worth noting that mass-producing, low-quality content can dramatically affect how search engines now assess your web pages, thanks to this recent core update.

In terms of avoiding spam content on your website, it is worth focusing on preventing keyword stuffing your website page copy and other content and avoiding churning out low-quality content. You should publish accurate content with a purpose directly related to what your audience would expect from your business – instead of what you think a search engine wants to hear.

UX (User Experience)

Your website should offer a hassle-free experience for your users. This includes a website that is easy to navigate, loads fast, and optimised for mobile device use.  If your website offers a poor user experience, is full of bugs, takes ages to load, or doesn’t offer a smooth, easy-to-navigate user experience, you may have seen your Google search rankings plummet.

Statistics show that sites with excellent UX design and optimisation see a 60% increase in user retention and a 50% improvement in conversion rates. 

sites with excellent UX design and optimisation see a 60% increase in user retention and a 50% improvement in conversion rates. 

Simple steps can be taken to improve the speed of your site, including reducing the size of visual aids. In terms of making your website easy to navigate and optimal for mobile use, the focus should shift to the functionality of your website, creating a responsive and consistent design accessible to visitors. 

E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness):

This core update reinforces Google’s commitment to providing its users with experienced, expert, authoritative, and trustworthy online content. This particular type of content will be a priority regarding Google search rankings. 

 

You should continue to write helpful content that has a purpose, shows your experience and expertise and responds directly to search queries from your audience or customers.

Local SEO and Personalisation

With Google increasing its focus on delivering personalised search results to users, it is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses to optimise their online presence to appear for local searches.

Businesses should target location-based keywords, create a Google Business Profile, add Schema to webpages and utilise local citations.

 

Our Final Thoughts

When navigating a Google Core Update and its challenges, businesses and marketers must remember that this significant update emphasises Google’s commitment to prioritising helpful, relevant, high-quality content. At ROAR, our unique, data-led 12-week content strategy, the SEO Bomb®, can help you create cutting-edge, innovative content that adheres to Google Core Updates and enhances your online visibility.

Whilst the Google search engine cracks down on sketchy backlinks, AI-generated spam, domain abuse and spam content, the update reinforces the importance of quality content creation. Marketers, business owners and content creators should focus on Google E-E-A-T principles as a bare minimum. 

As the search engine landscape evolves, harnessing an adaptable, user-centric approach is critical to ensuring you do not lose and continue to improve your online visibility.

 


 

Stay ahead of the curve with our expert guidance on navigating the latest and future Google Core Updates. Discover our SEO Management Services today!

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