google core update

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More than 50 days of March 2024 Google Core Update

March 2024 Google Core Update's extended rollout causes SEO community anxiety, awaits conclusions. Our Chief Growth Officer has reviewed the outcomes so far.

On 5th March 2024, Google released their latest Core Algorythm update. Back then, they already announced that the rollout for a month, twice as long as the usual Core Updates released vefore.

It is known, that during rollout period for Google updates, rankings fluctuate, and it’s required to wait until the full update is deployed, in order to make cinal conclusions.

This actualization of “Google’s Algo” has been almost 7 weeks running, and the SEO community is anxious for Google to announce the conclusion of the “new algorithm changes”, so they can start redefining their strategy, because as many people know, during the update rollout, rankings fluctuate, and results can’t be analysed until this one has officially concluded.

On 26th april Google announced that 7 days before, 19th April, the rollout was concluded, somethign without precedents, since normally Google highlights the conclusion of an update on the day when its conluded, will this be a new standard of Google announcing with a week delay Google Updates? or just an isolated case for unknown reasons?

Ranking Volatility of March 2024 Google Core Update

This Core Update, which is expected to have an impact on 40% of the low-quality websites, was released at the same time as a new SPAM update, however, while this last one concluded in 14 days, we are still awaiting to hear news about the first one’s completion.

How long does a Google Core Update last?

Normally Google Core Updates rollout in approximately 2 weeks, while there is no exact number of days, historically, it has taken between 11-15 days to see stable results on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). But something is changing on Google, last November they deployed a new update which took 25 days to conclude:

Update Name Deployment Date Rollout Period
March 2024 Core Update 05/03/2024 45 days
November 2023 Core Update 02/11/2023 25 days
October 2023 Core Update 05/10/2023 13 days
August 2023 Core Update 22/08/2023 16 days
March 2023 Core Update 15/03/2023 13 days
September 2022 Core Update 12/09/2022 14 days
May 2022 Core Update 25/05/2022 15 days
November 2021 Core Update 17/11/2021 13 days
July 2021 Core Update 01/07/2021 11 days
June 2021 Core Update 02/06/2021 10 days
December 2020 Core Update 03/12/2020 13 days
May 2020 Core Update 04/05/2020 14 days
January 2020 Core Update 13/01/2020 3 days

(information extracted from Google)

There have been longer Google updates, but never Core updates

Google presents every year different types of updates, related to different components of the algorithm. In the past, there have been updates taking even more time than this one:

  • Page Experience update in June 2021 has the record, which took 79 days to complete its rollout.
  • Helpful Content update in December 2022 was rolling out for 38 days.
  • Link SPAM update in July 2021 also took almost a month to complete after 29 days.

However, this is the first time the algorithm took so much time to reset its archive and apply the new norm. What does this mean? According to Google nothing special, however, in my opinion, if something takes longer to “build”, I assume it’s going to be big, and so will the repercussions.

What conclusions can we find so far about the March 2024 Google Core Update?

While final conclusions can’t be made until Google announces that the update is finished. While some websites have been so far devastated, nothing has changed on the usual mantra the search engine repeats, giving priority to Content Quality, to provide users with more reliable and informative content on their search queries as we can read on Google’s Product Director comments upon the release:

We’re making algorithmic enhancements to our core ranking systems to ensure we surface the most helpful information on the web and reduce unoriginal content in search results.” – Elizabeth Tucker, Director of Product for Search at Google.

Google declarations about the March 24 Core Update

With the latest release, Google made some very insightful statements:

  • Impact of the Core Update: “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%.”
  • New SPAM policies: “We’ll take action on more types of these manipulative behaviors starting today. While our ranking systems keep many types of low-quality content from ranking highly on Search, these updates allow us to take more targeted action under our spam policies.”
    • Related to AI & Automated content: “This will allow us to take action on more types of content with little to no value created at scale, like pages that pretend to have answers to popular searches but fail to deliver helpful content.”.
    • Or to the Expired Domain abuse: “This practice can mislead users into thinking the new content is part of the older, trusted site”.
    • Referring to the so popular Parasite SEO (paid content published on external websites to benefit their authority): “Such content ranking highly in Search can confuse or mislead visitors who may have vastly different expectations for the content on a given website”.
    • And updated their Affiliate Links policy: When we find sites failing to qualify affiliate links appropriately, we may issue manual actions to prevent these links from affecting Search, and our systems might also take algorithmic actions”.

We’ve already analyzed many data, and can make several assumptions:

  • Google has implemented manual actions on March 6th and 7th related to “pure spam” penalties. Most of the analysed websites had +75% if it has content generated by AI.
    March 2024 Core Update AI content websites affected by manual action
  • Big volatility was spotted from March 9th, resulting in many websites losing +90% of their traffic and impressions.
    March Google Core Update Fluctuations after 1 month
  • Google completely deindexed many low-quality websites.
    Websites deindexed, and sudden traffic drop after Google 2024 Core Update

How to recover from the March 2024 Google Core Update

There is not a unique trick you can do in order to recover from any update, and contrary to the rankings drop, it won’t happen in a couple of weeks. But there’s a list of important elements to consider when trying to recover from this algorithm update:

  1. Content quality is the main focus of this update. Overall, ensure you have human-written and original SEO content on your website, prioritising quality over quantity.
  2. Enhance the EEAT (Experience-Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness) of your website: Are your writers experts in the topics they are writing about? Then show it to the Search Engine; link to their pages to show that experience.
  3. Google is focusing the latest algo updates on websites providing a good user experience, therefore, you need to start counting the user interface (UX/UI) as part of your SEO strategy.
  4. Keep distance from fast results strategies(commonly called Black-hat). Google is focusing on fighting spammy tactics, and all your resources spent in getting “speedy rankings”, are now ending at the bottom of the SERP.
  5. If you’ve done in the past some aggressive strategies, consider running an SEO or off-page audit of your existing backlinks. There might be old links created in the past (by yourself or a previous domain owner) damaging your current performance.
  6. Ensure your website is mobile-first, depending on the targeted countries, mobile may represent +75% of the global search. And that’s why Google switched to mobile-first index, last Nov ‘23. 
  7. Despite Google has stated several times that site speed is not a ranking factor, loading times are strongly connected to user experience. So considering any low-hanging fruits to improve your Core Web Vitals is a must.

Help needed with any Google Update?

If you would like our team to assess your website, and how can we help you recover your rankings, book a free call here.

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