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Google SEO Update March 2024, A Brief Guide.

By Gavin Kilgallon on Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Changes to the Google algorithm are nothing new. Based on a simple online search, most experts estimate that Google will update its algorithm on average around 550 times yearly. Often, these updates are inconsequential and will have little effect on most websites. However, major updates can be introduced a few times a year that will profoundly affect SERPs. Examples of major past updates include Panda and Penguin.

Google updates aim to improve the quality of its results by targeting spam and low-quality links and favouring valuable and meaningful content that fulfils its EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) criteria.

This article aims to simplify and explain Google's latest major update, including who should be worried, what to do (if necessary), and who the likely winners will be.

Reason For The Update

The primary purpose of updates is to enhance the quality of Google searches, ensuring that users receive the most appropriate and valuable content. By refining its search algorithm, Google aims to improve the relevance and accuracy of its results. This helps them to perfect their search results, making them more precise and useful for their users.

Another reason for rolling out updates is to counter improper SEO practices, often called 'Black Hat'. These tactics aim to take advantage of how Google works, incorporating tactics that manipulate their algorithm to gain higher search results. Penalising or completely removing these websites will help improve the quality of search results.

Google is taking significant action against 'scaled content' violations, which involve using artificial intelligence to churn out large quantities of articles with the intent of cheating search results. Google has taken necessary measures as the internet is increasingly inundated with spam-generated content, requiring it to take a firm stance. However, it must be noted that Elizabeth Tucker, Director of Product Management at Google, stated, 'AI isn’t the enemy', and at ID Studio, we agree that AI in Web design can be very useful and productive when used appropriately.

Technology also influences Google's decision-making. For example, with the widespread adoption and usage of mobile devices, Google prioritises responsive websites that function well on these devices.

Who Should Be Concerned?

The Google blog post for this March 2024 update pretty much sums up who they target - spammy, low-quality, manipulative content. Two core objectives have been targeted.

  • Better quality ranking, in other words, provides the most relevant, helpful content in the SERPs. Examples of content likely to be negatively impacted by this update are AI-generated 'fluffy' content, which adds little value and is produced with little thought or effort.
  • Boosted spam policies, certain target areas include individuals purchasing expired domains to enhance their websites with low-quality content. Websites featuring substandard, low-value content will face penalties, regardless of whether humans or AI generates the content. Moreover, websites hosting irrelevant content on third-party platforms will also be subject to scrutiny.

One consequence of this update is that some websites will be deindexed (completely removing a website from search results). Google expects this new update to reduce irrelevant and low-quality, unhelpful search result content by up to 40%. 

Google has also stated that websites will have two months from 5th March 2024 to make necessary changes to comply with their new policies. 

What Practices Can Businesses Adapt?

Worried businesses should audit their entire website. This is especially true if you have been using AI-generated content without thought or direction. If your content falls into this category, removing it, or creating original, helpful, and authoritative content would be wise. It would also be a good time to look at your on-page optimisation options and review titles, descriptions, headings, and internal linking.

Keeping up to date with the latest search essentials will also help to ensure you don't miss any updates and comply with new policies. This provides all the latest information about technical requirements for your website, spam policies and best practices to improve overall SEO. 

ID Studio's key advice is to create better content with strong EEAT fundamentals. As long as your website is user-first and offers valuable information while adhering to natural SEO promotion, you have nothing to fear from the latest core Google update.