Keeping up with the… Google Updates!

Google update March 2024 by Merge Media

If you’re a business owner with a website, but not up to date with all things Google, this is what you need to know about the latest update which rolled out over March/April this year.

Google’s March 2024 Core Update

What You Need to Know

The latest Google update was quite significant, and if you’ve noticed some shifts in your site’s performance, this update might be the reason why.

There was a lot that was involved, so we have broken it down into what you really need to know!

The Rollout Recap

So, what’s the story? Google kicked off this core update on March 5, 2024, and wrapped it up 45 days later, on April 19, 2024. But here’s the kicker: they didn’t tell us it was done until April 26.

Sneaky, right? Anyway, this update is a big one; Google themselves said it’s more complex and touches multiple core systems. Plus, it marks the end of the standalone helpful content updates.

What’s the Big Deal?

You might be wondering, “Why should I care about this core update?” Well, this Google update wasn’t just a tweak here or there; it was a full-on revamp aimed at reducing low-quality, unoriginal content in search results. Originally, Google predicted a 40% reduction in such content, but they overachieved and hit a 45% reduction. That’s huge!

A Google spokesperson put it simply: “As the web and spam tactics continue to evolve, we’ll continue to work to reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in Search.”

Translation: Google is getting even better at filtering out the junk to give us the good stuff.

The Impact on Rankings

Now, if you’ve seen a drop (or a rise) in your rankings, this update could be the reason.  Google’s updates didn’t just target low-quality content; they also updated their spam policies and tackled sites created solely to rank in search engines rather than to provide value to users. It’s all about making the web a better place.

Elizabeth Tucker, Director of Product, Search at Google, noted that this update would help reduce unhelpful content by 40%, but with the final tweaks, it ended up being 45%. She said, “We expect that the combination of this update and our previous efforts will collectively reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 45%.”

Overlapping Changes

This update wasn’t working solo. Google also rolled out a March 2024 spam update, which finished on March 20, and a bunch of manual actions related to spam issues. Plus, they switched up their core web vitals, replacing FID with INP. With so many changes happening at once, it’s tricky to pinpoint which specific update might have hit your site.

What Should You Do?

First off, don’t panic! If your site’s rankings have taken a hit, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your pages. Google has reiterated their usual advice: focus on creating helpful, reliable, people-first content. They’ve even got a handy help page dedicated to this.

Here are a few steps you can take if you’ve been impacted:

  • Review Google’s Guidelines: Google’s got a list of questions to consider if your site is hit by a core update. It’s a good idea to review these and see where you can improve.
  • Keep Producing Quality Content: There’s no quick fix. Consistently producing high-quality, helpful content is your best bet for recovery.
  • Stay Patient: Sometimes, you might see a bit of a recovery between core updates, but the most significant changes will come with the next core update.
  • Google spokesperson Chris Nelson said it best: “There’s nothing new or special that creators need to do for this update as long as they’ve been making satisfying content meant for people.”

Feedback and Support

Luckily, Google’s not just making changes and leaving us in the dark. They’ve updated their help centre page to help site owners debug drops in rankings and even created a new feedback form for any ranking changes you think the Google Search team should take a closer look at. They’re encouraging feedback from users and site owners alike, which is a positive step.

Final Thoughts

The March 2024 core update is a significant milestone in Google’s ongoing battle against low-quality content and spam. By refining how they identify helpful content and incorporating the helpful content system into the core update, Google is making strides towards a cleaner, more valuable web experience for all of us.

For all the webmasters and content creators out there, the takeaway is clear: keep focusing on quality. Write for people, not for search engines, and you’ll be in good shape.

And remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint!

Keep an eye on your analytics, stay informed about updates, and keep producing the best content you can.

If you need some help with your website rankings or quality content production, get in touch!