5 things you need to know about Google


Google’s March 2024 major update is bringing a big change to the SEO industry. This major update could spread across the web in the same way as the Panda and Penguin updates did.

The impact of this is huge and widespread and every experienced marketer I’ve spoken to agrees that this update is a big deal. Is your website affected by the March 2024 core update?

Here are five things you need to know to avoid getting penalized and maintain your good standing in search results.

1. Google is completely de-indexing websites

Imagine waking up to find that your website is missing from Google’s search results. This is exactly what happened to many websites after the release of the March 2024 update.

In its March 5 announcement, Google emphasized its goal of reducing useless, irrelevant, irrelevant content from search results.

This cleanup campaign promises to remove 40% of low-quality websites that provide useless information and a poor user experience – pages created solely to match specific search queries.

Websites that are found violating Google’s guidelines or adopting questionable SEO tactics will not only be penalized but also removed completely from both search results and the index.

In the days following the announcement, the SEO world was turned upside down.

Here’s a tweet from Jeff Coyle:

Jeff Coyle on X - March 2024 Core Update

Please note that completely deindexing websites is usually related to Google manual action and is not often the case with Google core updates.

2. The punishments are intense

What’s notable about this update is that the penalties came hard and fast, with site owners scrambling for answers.

Let’s take a look at the 10 deindexed websites:

Lily Ray on X - March 2024 Core UpdateLily Ray on X - March 2024 Core Update

To check if your site has been affected by the Google update, look for your website by typing “site:website.com” into Google and see if you show up in search results.

It’s important to note that sites affected by the March 2024 core update or spam update “will not be notified of ranking drops through Google Search Console’s manual action viewer,” as Barry Schwartz points out.

Schwartz writes, “Algorithmic updates are automatic and Google does not notify the site owner when a site is negatively (or positively) affected by an algorithm update.”

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3. Websites that survived the last update are not immune

Even old websites are not spared. Even people untouched by previous algorithm updates are now facing consequences.

Some people are happy to say that it’s time for those low-quality sites to get the boot after years of gaming the system and staying in the SERPs.

This is an example of a “link building agency” that was thrown out:

Gail Brayton and Bobstack X – March 2024 Core UpdateGail Brayton and Bobstack X – March 2024 Core Update

But others are left scratching their heads wondering why their entire network has disappeared.

X User – March 2024 Core UpdateX User – March 2024 Core Update

In a discussion within the private Affiliate SEO Mastermind group, a member shared the unfortunate experience of a publisher whose entire network collapsed.

According to the post, the publisher’s eight affected sites, which were set up within the last two years, cover a variety of specific topics. The author emphasized that the content was primarily human-written with minimal assistance from AI.

All eight websites are now showing zero traffic impressions.

This is where the EAT would have played an important factor.

The wide range of topics covered by these sites indicates a lack of deep topical knowledge – experience and expertise – which Google prioritizes when ranking websites.

4. Old, error-filled sites are unsafe

Speaking of EEAT, see how Google has now added another factor when viewing content as unreliable and with the lowest EEAT:

The content is generated by AI, is out of date and is not error free.

Natzir on X – March 2024 Core UpdateNatzir on X – March 2024 Core Update

These are the surefire ways to get de-ranking!

5. Even small AI content sites were affected

An interesting development is how smaller AI content sites have come under scrutiny. Google’s ability to detect AI-generated content has become more sophisticated, resulting in penalizing even smaller players in this space.

Craig Griffiths believes that the biggest indicator of an AI website is the frequency with which it publishes content.

Craig Griffiths on X - March 2024 Core UpdateCraig Griffiths on X - March 2024 Core Update

But that’s not the case here:

Pete Reynolds X - March 2024 On Core UpdatePete Reynolds X - March 2024 On Core Update

Digging deeper into this conversation reveals more specific signals Google may be looking for:

Pete Reynolds and Craig Griffiths on X – March 2024 Core UpdatePete Reynolds and Craig Griffiths on X – March 2024 Core Update
Pete Reynolds & Cassie McBlane X - March 2024 at the Core UpdatePete Reynolds & Cassie McBlane X - March 2024 at the Core Update

Let’s make one thing clear: Google is not going after AI content. What Google wants to clear from its search results is useless, repetitive, inauthentic content, whether written by humans or AI or both.

The latest update aims to remove bad websites that do nothing for people, while bringing good websites with valuable content to the surface.

This is a warning to website owners who thought their legacy would keep them safe. This proves again that adaptation is the key to survival in the digital world.

If you’re managing one of these older, smaller domains, don’t panic just yet. Start by performing a comprehensive site audit and fix these issues immediately.

Takeaway: Quality trumps quantity

Google’s emphasis has always been on originality, depth and value for the reader. The websites that were removed and deindexed often relied heavily on thin or duplicate content without providing unique insight or perspective.

To deal with this problem, reform of EAT becomes necessary. The EEAT principles show Google – and, more importantly, your readers – that you’re an authority worth listening to. This includes citing reputable sources within your field and clearly demonstrating author expertise on your site.

User experience also takes center stage with the latest algorithm changes. Your site should look good and be easy and intuitive for visitors. Websites that focus only on keyword optimization instead of holistic UX design principles will be penalized.

Focusing on page speed, mobile-friendliness, and clear calls to action will help keep users engaged longer, sending positive signals up the SEO food chain.

Remember, by making these adjustments, you are not only playing nice with the search engines; You’re creating a better online space for everyone who visits.

adapt or fall behind

The sheer number of de-indexed websites reported by the search marketing community confirms Google’s plans to implement a major change to its ranking systems.

It is wise to study the patterns of websites affected by algorithm incidents to detect common trends so that you can uncover your websites’ weaknesses and realign your strategies.

  • Pay attention to the quality of the content.
  • Enhance user experience.
  • Start auditing your site and make changes.

The road ahead may seem difficult, but remember, every step towards improvement is a step away from Google hell.

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