March 2024 Google Core Update Roundup: The biggest take-aways

It’s that time of year again: time for the first Google Core update of 2024… and it’s a big one! Main focus points of the first big update of the year? Neutralizing unhelpful content, spammy sites, and buying up old domains to unnaturally expand your backlink arsenal. If you ask me, the March 2024 Core update looks to be one that’s going to make some waves, so let’s dive in!

Doubling down on helpful content

The main aim from Google’s perspective is to once and for all get rid of what it considers ‘unhelpful’ content. To give you a quick refresher about what is considered helpful content, check out my previous blog on the helpful content update. Elizabeth Tucker, Director of Product, Search at Google, has stated the following regarding the effect of their latest update:

“We believe these updates will reduce the amount of low-quality content on Search and send more traffic to helpful and high-quality sites. Based on our evaluations, we expect that the combination of this update and our previous efforts will collectively reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%”

So there you have it! A 40% reduction of spammy sites in the search results. As a user, I think this is going to be a fantastic improvement for my search experience. As a marketing professional though, I do wonder if some of the website Google deems unworthy, are going to be neutralized unjustly. There’s really only one thing that we all can do to protect our sites from tanking: double down on optimizing your content, making it user-centred, intent based, and by simply having your experts provide them with high-quality answers to their most burning questions.

Coming down on spammy content and domains

With the advent of Generative AI and conversational AI interfaces like ChatGPT, came (understandably) a huge influx of new content on the web. Huge websites, fighting for authority in the search engines, but producing a massive amount of low-quality, mostly auto-generated articles. This has resulted in Google search’s steadily declining SERP-quality. Something that, I might add, is not only bad for users, but also for SEO marketers that are trying to get their website into the top of the SERPs. Up until this point, it kept feeling more and more like we were fighting a losing battle against spammy content. Well, not anymore!

With the March 2024 Core Update, Google aims to tackle websites that have been (and are) adding new, low-quality content by the boatload. Google now states that this practice is against their guidelines, and they will start neutralizing accordingly. This also includes some of the more creative ways of link building, like buying expired domains, and using the residual authority to bolster your backlink profile.

The expected impact

Google seems to think that the impact of this update will be exponentially bigger than the impact of their previous Core Updates. Some of the updates will roll out over a longer period of time, like its new spam guidelines for links, which will be rolling out from the 5th of May. It all comes down to one thing, really: when push comes to shove, has Google tweaked their algorithms sufficiently to help them understand content quality through relevance, context and intention, or will this all turn out to be a whole lotta noise about nothing? I guess we’ll all discover this sooner rather than later now, but you bet that we’ll keep you posted!

Corporate Marketing Manager | Seeders Group

Niels Krikke is the Corporate Marketing Manager for Seeders Group, managing all marketing and communication efforts for all Seeders offices across the globe. Niels’s specializations include branding, copywriting & SEO.