What the March 2024 Google core update means for your content strategy

Google rolled out its March 2024 core update earlier this month. It releases one or two big core updates each year to tweak its search algorithms and improve results for users.

Helpful content

For a couple of years now, Google has been promoting helpful content and this latest update continues with this theme. The two major changes are:

  • Improved quality ranking – helpful content will rank well, and unoriginal content will appear less frequently in search results.
  • New spam policies – a crackdown on websites used solely for spam and low-quality content. This Wired article is a great example of a website used for spam purposes and why Google is trying to curtail this practice.

Lots of websites have already been deindexed (meaning they no longer appear in search results) since this update. Many of them weren’t necessarily spam content, but may have been pumping out lots of low-quality content for the sake of targeting niche searches, rather than being helpful to readers. Google states in its blog about this update:

This update involves refining some of our core ranking systems to help us better understand if webpages are unhelpful, have a poor user experience or feel like they were created for search engines instead of people. This could include sites created primarily to match very specific search queries.

Content strategies

What does this mean for you? It shouldn’t be anything to worry about so long as you haven’t been engaging in any of these practices, but it is another reminder that it’s really important to create genuinely helpful content that is original and answers a question, solves a problem or gives a unique viewpoint.

It’s also a good reminder that while generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT may have their uses as tools, they cannot be relied on to create quality content. Our white paper explored the early impact of ChatGPT on the comms industry, and we’re currently working on a research project with the University of Sussex that explores this in much greater depth.

These updates, in addition to a big focus from Google on E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) are clear signs that Google will reward helpful content written for humans, by humans.

Content and SEO support

I hope this was helpful!

If you’d like more information on content and digital strategies, check out our content marketing and search engine optimisation pages, or email me on greg@magentaassociates.co.

Greg Bortkiewicz