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Google's March 2024 Core Update: What You Need to Know About the Latest Algorithm Changes in SEO

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The first core update to Google Search algorithms in 2024

Google Algorithm Update 2024 - Illustration of a Website Ranking Fluctuation Graph

On its X account (Twitter), Google announced this Tuesday, March 5, an update to its Google Search algorithms. This aims to “improve the quality of search by displaying less content that seems to have been designed to attract clicks and more useful content,"  specifies the blog post. And it could significantly impact the performance of certain websites, according to Google. According to Elizabeth Tucker, search product director at Google, who spoke in the columns of the specialized site Search Engine Land, "tthe combination of this update and previous efforts will reduce low-quality content by 40%. and non-original content in search results. » In addition, the company reveals that it has updated its spam regulations “to better manage practices that could negatively impact Google’s search results."

This is the first major update to Google search algorithms in 2024. In 2023, the firm adopted a sustained update frequency, deploying no less than four main updates (or “core updates”) of its algorithms during the year. The latest date is November 2023. In September, Google also redesigned its Helpful Content algorithm, aiming in the same way, it seems, as this Core Update, to reward sites that produce reliable content that meets user needs.

What are the consequences of the March 2024 Core Update?

“The March 2024 Core Update is more complex than our usual main updates because it involves adjustments to several fundamental systems,” Google announces straight away. Without disclosing the precise nature of the changes made, which can, however, significantly impact the performance of a website, the company indicates that it has “improved the main ranking systems to display more useful results, using a variety of signals and methods.”.  A FAQ page has also been put online to guide SEO professionals.

Since this is a more complex update than usual, the deployment could last a month. “It is likely that there will be more fluctuations in rankings than with a regular main update,” adds the company. However, if you notice a drop in traffic, it is advisable to avoid reacting hastily, but rather to identify the affected pages and carefully analyze their content. It is usually necessary to wait several days before seeing any changes. As with each release of a new iteration of its algorithms, the summary page of updates will be updated at the end of deployment, according to the company.

Google reveals changes to spam rules.

At the same time, Google reveals that it has added three rules to its anti-spam policy in order to “fight against bad practices that have gained popularity”:

  • Expired domain names: This practice against Google guidelines boils down to “purchasing an expired domain name” in order to knowingly redirect users to low-quality content by capitalizing on the site's previous reputation.
  • Mass-Produced Content: This abusive technique involves mass-populating a site with “large amounts of unoriginal content that offers little or no value to users,” typically produced using artificial intelligence. This rule complements the policy already put in place by the search engine to combat automatically generated content.
  • Site reputation: According to Google, abuse consists of producing third-party pages, including sponsored or advertising content, with "little or no involvement and supervision" of the host site, which allows search results to be manipulated by taking advantage of the reputation of said host site. “Our new policy does not consider all third-party content to be a violation, only that which is hosted without close supervision and which aims to manipulate search rankings,” adds Google.

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