What is a Google Core Update? - ld icon 42

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A Google core update significantly alters the search engine’s ranking algorithm and systems.

These updates are designed to improve the quality and relevance of search results for users. Google rolls out core updates several times a year, sometimes announcing them in advance and other times confirming them after webmasters and SEO professionals have noticed them.

Core updates can affect website rankings and traffic. They may cause some pages to rank higher or lower in search results based on how well they align with Google’s updated ranking criteria.

In the past year, Google has been rolling out regular core updates:

March/April 2023 – Focused on Product/service reviews
September 2023 – Helpful Content Update
October 2023 – Spam Update
November 2023 – Review Update
March 2024 – Core Update

To quote Search Engine Land

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

Let’s look at a whopping 10 websites deindexed:

What is a Google Core Update? - lily ray on x march 2024 core update

Checking the filmifeed.com site in Google clearly shows that it has been deindexed. The site is alive and well but no longer indexed in Google. I checked Bing, and the site is still indexed.

What is a Google Core Update? - google site

What happened in the Google Core Update – March 2024

The Google March 2024 core update was a significant update to the Google search algorithm. The goal was to improve the quality of search by reducing low-quality content.

The three key areas it covered included:

Reduced Unhelpful Content: Google aimed to decrease the visibility of unoriginal content in search results by up to 40%. This included automatically generated content and websites repurposed for spam.

Improved Spam Policies: New spam policies targeted manipulative practices like scaled content abuse, site reputation abuse, and expired domain abuse.

Focus on User Experience: The update aimed to prioritise websites with a good user experience, including helpful, informative content and clear website design.

This update was a major shakeup for the SEO industry, with some websites being completely deindexed by Google.

On the Reddit r/SEO forum, several discussions are taking place, with some even publishing details of the sites that have been affected. Some of this is an excuse to build links to sites, but in other cases, it’s clear a large number of sites have been affected.

What is a Google Core Update? -

The types of sites that are being affected include:

  • Blogs that are primarily written in AI
  • Site with low-quality or short-form content (below 500 words)
  • Sites that have poor site speed and poor content
  • Sites using outdated plugins and built on old tech.
  • Sites that have written content for bots rather than for end users

Many of the above sites appear to have been affiliate sites or earn money from ads/adsense. What is interesting about this update is that Google is completely deindexing sites and providing clear messages in GSC about spammy links or poor-quality content.

In other cases, there are no messages at all, leaving many businesses confused about what has happened to their business.

What is Google’s comment on this update?

Our March 2024 core update

The March 2024 core update is a more complex update than our usual core updates, involving changes to multiple core systems. It also marks an evolution in how we identify the helpfulness of content.

Just as we use multiple systems to identify reliable information, we have enhanced our core ranking systems to show more helpful results using a variety of innovative signals and approaches. There’s no longer one signal or system used to do this, and we’ve also added a new FAQ page to help explain this change.

As this is a complex update, the rollout may take up to a month. It’s likely there will be more fluctuations in rankings than with a regular core update, as different systems get fully updated and reinforce each other. We’ll post to our Google Search Status Dashboard when the update is finished.

There’s nothing new or special that creators need to do for this update as long as they’ve been making satisfying content meant for people. For those that might not be ranking as well, we strongly encourage reading our creating helpful, reliable, people-first content help page.

The above was originally published here What web creators should know about our March 2024 core update and new spam policies  |  Google Search Central Blog  |  Google for Developers

The impact of the last 12 months of core updates

I’m surprised there has been such a “rage” against this last update. Google has been showing us over several years that its core updates are focused on improving the quality of the sites indexed and that it will try to remove spammy content whenever possible. I’m sure that some people will have genuine issues with the impact this has had on their site/sites.

The lessons from this update are clear. Create content aimed at customers, following the guidance provided by E-E-A-T, and focus on ensuring your website performs well and isn’t outdated.

What is a Google Core Update? - shape img cta1

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