Decoding Google’s March 2024 Core Update: Search Quality Enhancements Unveiled

Written By: Jesse Farley
Google March 2024 update

The pieces of Google’s search engine algorithm puzzle continue to change. Google’s new Core Update constitutes a significant enhancement of search quality. Arriving this month, the changes include several spam updates. Google representatives insist the content update will facilitate a whopping 40% decrease in unhelpful search results.

What is the Impact of Google’s March 2024 Core Update?

The popular search engine’s latest update includes several key measures designed for Google search quality enhancements. Dubbed the “March 2024 Core Update”, the enhancements include multiple spam updates. Moreover, the improvements have been weaved into the overarching search ranking system in the spirit of comprehensiveness.

Google’s brass also announced several new updates to its policies governing spam. The new policies will be implemented with the use of updated, fully automated algorithms, including some that are manually controlled. The update is the latest in a string that dates back to the summer of 2021.

The March 2024 Core Update is significant primarily because it is larger than previous ones. The hope is that the latest Google search quality enhancements will build on previous updates for a greater reduction of duplicate or partially copied web content considered low quality.

It will take some time to fully implement the new core update. Google executives noted that the rollout may be incremental, without full application, for a month or longer. The enhancement constitutes an improvement and subsequent release of several systems throughout the update. This is why many companies hire an agency to help them navigate the complexities of SEO.


What are the Key Highlights of Google’s March 2024 Spam Updates?

The latest Google search engine update is highly unique from the rest in several ways. Unlike some prior updates, the latest improves multiple components of the overarching core system.

This spring’s Google search quality enhancements add several micro-updates spanning numerous systems that fall beneath the umbrella of the overarching update. The individual system updates will be implemented in the ensuing weeks.

According to the search giant’s head, Chris Nelson, the March 2024 Core Update is highly complex when contrasted with the regular core updates. The company is making meaningful alterations to several core systems, including an enhancement of the core ranking system to display more relevant search results using numerous innovative approaches, including new signals.

The update of several core systems will cause search engine ranking changes including an increase in fluctuations that would otherwise not occur with a conventional core update. The individual systems will receive comprehensive updates for reinforcement.

Google representatives have stated that the new update makes it easier and more efficient to achieve the following:

  • Identify specific web pages that have inferior UX (user experience) design
  • Identify unhelpful pages
  • Identify pages that seem as though they were generated specifically for search engines as opposed to human beings

A company spokesperson noted that the update has the potential to encompass sites intentionally created with the underlying objective of appearing “above the fold” (meaning visually prominent) on the first page of the SERPs. SERPs is an acronym used to refer to search engine results pages.


Core Updates now Encompass Helpful Content Updates

This spring’s Google Core Update is also important in that it marks a new beginning in which the search giant will halt the announcement of new helpful content updates. The core update system now includes helpful content system updates.

The last helpful content update dates back to the autumn of 2023, when a massive enhancement was made that made a monumental impact on numerous websites. Though there is no guarantee that the same number of websites will enjoy relief from the new springtime 2024 update, it will likely make a meaningful impact.

The helpful content system classifier has been completely overhauled for incorporation into the March 2024 Core Update. However, the classifiers of helpful content are only one component of the latest changes to the search engine. According to Google, work for the springtime core update began back in 2022 in the form of a helpful content update.


How does Google’s helpful content system affect search rankings?

Google’s 2024 search engine changes include spam updates. The new spam updates include alterations to its policies covering spam content, serving as an underlying component of the spring’s Core Update.

Take a deep dive into the details of the March 2024 spam updates, and you’ll find two specific spurs: both manual and automated actions. The search engine’s spam update about reputation abuse will be implemented two months from the first week of March. If everything goes as planned, the update will be implemented on May 5.

Google’s March 2024 spam updates go as far as addressing the abuse of search spam related to scaled content. This update is an improvement on the previous spam policy, covering content that was automatically generated.

Instead of merely restricting the policy to automatically generated content that appears to be spam, the new scaled content abuse policy includes all methods of generating content at scale to rank highly in the SERPs.

Google representatives noted that generating content at scale to improve search engine rankings, be it through automation, manual human actions, or a combination of the two, constitutes a violation of its guidelines. The overarching purpose is to take action on several types of content with minimal or no value generated at scale.

As an example, the new March 2024 spam update pertains to pages that seem to have coveted answers to common searches yet do not provide meaningful and informative content. The goal is to eliminate or at least reduce the appearance of pages that claim to have relevant information yet present content that is of low quality.

In summary, the new spam policy constitutes an expansion designed to address the latest machinations in scaled content generation strategies where it is unclear whether the information was generated through an automated or manual process. Look for the search engine provider to begin taking punitive action against content that is scaled for abuse as soon as this week.

We would be remiss not to mention that Google now considers expired domain abuse to be spam. Expire domain abuse, meaning the immoral strategy of purchasing expired web domains only to repurpose them to enhance the ranking of low-quality content, now equates to spam. The search giant is cracking down on such attempts to fool web sleuths into thinking fresh content on a domain is a component of the old site when it is not.

The March 2024 spam update makes it crystal clear to content generators that buying domains that have expired with the aim of repurposing those sites for a better search ranking will no longer be tolerated. The abuse of expired domains, be it through human action or algorithm spamming techniques, will be policed starting in mid-March.


Website Reputation Abuse is Also Considered Spam

The abuse of a website’s reputation also referred to as Parasite SEO, is now considered a form of spam. The company’s new website reputation abuse policy applies to third-party websites hosting low-quality content to take advantage of those sites’ ranking power.

As an example, Google representatives have highlighted the potential for third parties to publish reviews of shady businesses on websites with reputations for trustworthiness, benefitting from that pre-established rapport even when reviews pertain to unsavory enterprises.

The hope is that the new spam policy prevents low-quality content from ranking on the initial pages of the SERPs, ultimately preventing reader confusion and patronage of businesses unworthy of consumer’s hard-earned dollars.

To be more specific, the new spam policy highlights how third-party content primarily generated for the purposes of a higher ranking in the search engine and without direct oversight of the site owner is a form of spam. The language of the new spam policy qualifies the new rules to highlight how third-party content designed to manipulate search rankings constitutes a violation that will lead to punishment.

Google provides a 60-day forewarning, indicating that it will wait two months before addressing confusing advertorial/native advertising content as soon as May 5th.


Actions to Take if Your Pages’ Search Engine Rankings Decrease

If the springtime update causes your page rankings to drop, don’t panic. Google has proactively rolled out some preventative advice for such scenarios. The search engine giant’s representatives acknowledge there is the potential for a core update to negatively impact site rankings.

Though the company has not identified specific actions to catalyze a rebound, there are some things you can do. If you are a business owner, an SEO professional, or a digital marketer, recognize that a drop in the search rankings might not mean the pages are of low quality.

It probably won’t be long until Google rolls out another update to its search engine, considering previous updates have been implemented every couple of financial quarters in previous years. The most significant changes are likely to occur after a subsequent update that might be implemented in the second half of 2024 or later.

Above all, web content creators, SEO specialists, marketers, and business owners should be cognizant of the importance of writing text for actual readers instead of search engines. Overloading content with keywords and key phrases instead of gracefully weaving in relevant search terms is likely to lead to penalties in the all-important SERPs.


Why Google is Making the Changes

Google is proactively altering its search policies in response to academic analyses and user complaints criticizing the worsening of its search results. It has been alleged that the search giant has prioritized larger sites over smaller ones.

Moreover, many online sleuths have complained that Google favors Reddit over other websites, featuring the popular online discussion forum’s relevant threads on the first page of the SERPs.

Stay tuned for the latest on Google’s springtime update. The search monolith has promised ongoing updates on its Search Status Dashboard.


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Google March 2024 update
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