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Google’s March 2024 Core and Spam Update

Illustration of Google Search Algorithm Update

Google’s Director of Product Management predicts a 40% decline in low-quality content.

Highlights:

  • Google’s March 2024 update prioritizes high-quality, user-centric content.
  • Websites with poor user experience or “thin content” may see ranking declines.
  • AI-generated content manipulation faces a crackdown, with many sites already deindexed.
  • New spam policies target tactics like repurposing expired websites and obituary spam.
  • Marketers must refocus on quality content creation and stay updated on evolving policies.

Google’s search algorithm received a major update in early March 2024, sending not so much shockwaves as subdued gasps through the world of SEO. This two-part update, comprising a core update and revamped spam policies, aims to rank high-quality content and deindex low-quality results, specifically targeting AI-generated content.

Let’s discuss the different aspects of this update and how it will affect SEO content and marketers.

Double Trouble: Core Update Focuses on User-Centric Content

Google’s March update represents a significant shift in the search engine’s ability to identify valuable content for users.

Websites with unoriginal content, poor user experience, or content created primarily for search engines, known as “thin content”—something we’ve been asking you to avoid since at least 2017—are likely to see a decline in search rankings.

This update emphasizes Google’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing human-generated content that offers genuine value and a positive user experience.

For SEO professionals, the updated spam policies necessitate a renewed focus on content strategy. Keyword stuffing and other outdated tactics will no longer suffice, but you already knew that.

Instead, creating informative, engaging content that caters to their target demographic will be key to success.

The War on AI-Generated Content: Deindexing Websites

The update’s impact has been particularly harsh on websites that have been using AI-generated content to manipulate SEO rankings. Google’s Director of Product Management, Elizabeth Tucker, predicted a 40% reduction in low-quality content.

Hundreds of websites have already been deindexed, highlighting the search engine’s success in identifying and penalizing this type of content.

This serves as a stark warning for SEO marketers who may have started leaning too much on low-quality AI-generated content. Google’s ability to detect and penalize such content is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

New Spam Policies Target Specific Tactics

In addition to the core update, Google also bolstered its spam policies. The new policies target specific tactics that have been used to manipulate search results, such as:

  • Repurposing Expired Websites for Spam: This tactic falls under scaled content abuse and involves buying expired domain names and filling them with low-quality content to improve search ranking.
  • Obituary Spam: This involves creating fake obituaries with links to unrelated websites.

These updates signal Google’s intent to create a cleaner search environment overall. Marketers will need to stay updated on these evolving spam policies to avoid inadvertently employing tactics that could harm websites.

The Takeaway for SEO Marketers: Quality Content Reigns Supreme

The March 2024 Core and Spam Update represents a significant shift in Google’s search algorithm. For SEO marketers, the key takeaway is clear: quality content is the best SEO. Focusing on creating original, informative, and user-centric content that provides genuine value will define successful SEO strategies moving forward.

By staying updated on Google’s core updates and prioritizing user experience, marketers can navigate SEO ranking changes and achieve long-term success.

Previous Updates:

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