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Google Implements Core and Spam Updates in March 2024

May 28, 2024 | 2024, May

Last month, Google rolled out two significant updates (core and spam), both happening on March 5th, just one minute apart in the morning. These updates, focusing on core algorithms and spam detection, represent a departure from Google’s typical update routine. They’re more intricate, involving tweaks across various core systems and reflecting a shift in how Google evaluates content usefulness. Alongside the updates’ rollout, Google’s Search Central shared detailed insights and guidance to help users navigate these changes. Check them out here.

The post further explains that Google’s revamped spam detection systems aim to prioritize the visibility of helpful content over spammy pages. This initiative addresses a longstanding issue that has subjected Google Search to significant criticism over time.

A Surge of ‘Pure Spam’ Manual Action Notices
If you found a ‘Pure Spam’ Manual Action Notice waiting for you in Search Console, you weren’t alone. Starting from March 7th, a multitude of these manual actions were reported. The issue became so widespread that on March 11th, Google published a new help document titled: Received a ‘Pure Spam’ Manual Action Notice? Learn What It Implies for Your Site and How to Tackle It.

In the March 2024 Spam Update, several website categories experienced significant repercussions:

  • Low-Quality Content Farms: These websites churn out unoriginal, low-quality content in an attempt to manipulate search rankings.
  • Affiliate Marketing Sites: Websites heavily reliant on thin content or keyword stuffing, primarily for affiliate links, faced a substantial impact from the update.
  • Doorway Pages: Specifically targeted by the update, temporary pages designed to redirect users saw many of them removed from search results altogether.

If you find yourself among the unfortunate ones, make sure to thoroughly read through the ‘Pure Spam’ help document. Additionally, it’s worth noting that, as of now, there haven’t been any reports of individuals recovering their rankings after receiving one of those Manual Actions. Keep that in mind.

Furthermore, here’s a compilation of other Google resources you should consider checking out:

As of March 20, 2024, in the evening (U.S. Pacific Time), the spam update was successfully concluded. If your website wasn’t affected, you’re in the clear.

However, the core update is still in progress as of March 31st. According to Google’s Search Status Dashboard, the rollout may take “up to a month” to finalize. If Google maintains its schedule, the update should wrap up around April 5th.

The March 2024 core update zeroed in on websites featuring low-quality content and employing manipulative tactics such as keyword stuffing, thin content, and unnatural link schemes. Its goal was to enhance search results by eliminating unhelpful or irrelevant content.

This comprehensive update to Google’s core search algorithm prioritizes various factors contributing to a webpage’s overall quality and usefulness to users. It appears to focus on the following elements:

  • Expertise & Authoritativeness of Content: Google seeks to acknowledge and elevate authors who exhibit expertise and credibility, while taking measures against those who don’t meet these standards.
  • Value & Helpfulness of Content: Content that delivers valuable information, meeting users’ needs effectively, is given priority in ranking.
  • Readability & User Experience of Content: Google emphasizes content that is well-crafted, easily understandable, and engaging for users.
  • Mobile-Friendliness: Websites offering a smooth experience on mobile devices are favored over those lacking in mobile compatibility.

Website Categories Hit Hardest
To avoid redundancy while highlighting the obvious, here’s a rundown of the general website categories facing significant challenges in the latest update:

  • Websites with Thin Content: Sites featuring scant or shallow content are facing penalties, particularly if they fail to offer substantial value to users.
  • “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) Websites: Platforms related to health, finance, and other crucial domains continue to undergo heightened scrutiny regarding content quality and factual accuracy.
  • Websites with Unnatural Backlink Profiles: Platforms that utilized manipulative strategies to boost their rankings through unnatural backlinks are experiencing a decline in visibility.
  • Automatically Generated Content Sites: Platforms generating content solely through AI, without human review or editing, are being flagged as low-quality.
  • Websites with Poor User Experience: Sites plagued by slow loading times, lack of mobile-friendliness, or intrusive advertisements are also witnessing adverse effects from the update.