15 Mar, 2024

“Massive” Google March Core Update Targets Spam, Unhelpful Content

Google March Algorithm Core Update 2024

As you know, Google has long been committed to battling spam and maintaining the quality of its search results. Over the years, it has continuously refined its algorithms and introduced various measures to combat low-quality and unoriginal content. Recently, in its ongoing effort to bolster its fight against spam, the search giant started rolling out the Google March core update, which is touted to be larger in scope than its predecessors.

Google Tightens Measures Vs Poor Content

The March core update, which started rolling out on March 8th, is Google’s first core update of 2024 and its first algorithm update of the year. Elizabeth Tucker, Google’s director of Product Management, revealed that the update is designed to eliminate unhelpful content in search results by 40%. It is also said to be “more complex” than previous alterations to Google’s search algorithms as it refines how the search engine understands which webpages are unhelpful and provide poor user experience.

As part of the core update, Google overhauled the classifiers for its helpful content system, using innovative signals and approaches to prioritise high-quality content in its search results. Consequently, the search giant will stop announcing new helpful content updates since the helpful content system has already been integrated into the March 2024 core update.

Given the scope of the Google March core update, the search giant predicted that it would take about a month to complete its rollout. It warned marketers and site owners to expect more fluctuations in search rankings during this time as multiple systems are being fully modified and reinforced. Should you experience a drop in rankings, there’s no need to take specific actions to recover as Google explained that fluctuating rankings do not always indicate a problem with your web pages.

Stricter Regulations Against Spam

Besides overhauling its helpful content system, Google has also announced a series of updates targeting spam, including the March 2024 spam update, alongside policy adjustments to align with the March 2024 core update. These include immediate actions on two spam updates and the implementation of the site reputation abuse spam update on May 5, 2024.

The scaled content abuse search spam update broadens the scope beyond “spammy auto-generated content,” targeting any method of mass content creation aimed at manipulating search rankings. Examples include pages promising answers to popular queries but failing to deliver substantial content. Google emphasised that content production at scale, whether automated or human-driven, violates guidelines if aimed at ranking manipulation. Actions against scaled content abuse will be taken algorithmically and manually.

Furthermore, Google now considers the practice of buying and repurposing expired domains to increase the search ranking of low-quality content as spam. The search giant’s new site reputation abuse policy also addresses tactics such as “Parasite SEO,” where third-party sites host low-quality content to leverage the ranking authority of trusted domains.

However, Google clarified that not all third-party content is considered spam. Only those without close oversight of their owners and are intended to manipulate search rankings will be penalised under Google’s stricter spam regulations. Enforcement of site reputation abuse will commence on May 5th, so it would be wise to make the necessary preparations.

The Aftermath

Google has yet to finish updating its core search algorithm. However, many marketers and site owners are already reporting significant damage to their search rankings, with some websites being completely removed from the search engine altogether.

1. Tons of websites get de-indexed

Several days after Google’s announcement, a significant number of low-quality spam sites have been completely de-indexed from search result pages. Those that weren’t removed from Google were either hidden in filter=0 or placed at the bottommost part of search results. However, experts noted that deindexing websites is often related to a manual penalty and rarely occurs after a core algorithm update.

Many of the sites that got de-indexed contained low-quality AI-generated content. While Google doesn’t forbid the use of AI, site owners must ensure their web content is up-to-date, of high quality, and meets the search giant’s EEAT guidelines. Furthermore, surviving previous core updates doesn’t guarantee their safety. If their websites contain poorly made content, they are likely to get de-indexed from search result pages.

2. Google works quickly

Websites that have been found in violation of Google’s policies are dealt with swift and harsh penalties. Owners of de-indexed websites reportedly found their sites gone from search result pages almost overnight with nary a peep from the search giant.

To see if your website is still showing up in search result pages, type in site:yourwebsite.com on Google. As algorithmic updates are automated, sites affected by the latest core or spam update do not receive any notifications on Google Search Console’s manual action viewer. It is up to site owners or managers to perform manual checks.

Why It Pays More to Know More

With so many things happening all at once, it can be easy to lose track of important news and updates from Google. However, at Springhill Marketing, we believe it always pays more to know more.

Stay compliant

Staying informed about Google’s evolving policies is crucial for website owners, digital marketers, and anyone involved in online content creation. As the dominant search engine, Google’s policies directly impact website visibility and traffic. Understanding these policies helps maintain compliance and prevent penalties that can severely affect your search rankings and overall online presence.

Adjust your strategies

Being aware of Google’s policy changes allows you to adapt your strategies accordingly. Updates such as the Google March core update and accompanying spam policy adjustments signify shifts in Google’s algorithmic priorities. By staying informed, you can anticipate potential impacts on your site’s visibility and take proactive measures to meet new guidelines, ensuring continued search engine visibility.

Maintain online visibility

Staying abreast of policy changes helps you maintain a high-quality online presence. Google’s focus on combating spam and promoting valuable, user-centric content means that outdated or manipulative tactics can lead to penalties. By staying informed about policy updates, you can ensure your content adheres to current best practices, fostering trust with users and search engines.

Stay One Step Ahead

In a rapidly changing digital landscape, keeping track of Google’s policies and updates is not just advantageous; it’s essential. From the latest core algorithm updates to the crackdown on spam tactics, each change brings challenges and opportunities for businesses and marketers like you.

At Springhill Marketing, we emphasise the importance of remaining proactive and adaptable in response to these shifts. If you need help crafting an SEO strategy that adheres to the latest Google policies and best practices, we are happy to lend our expertise. Get in touch with us, and we’ll provide solutions tailored to your business.

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