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Navigating Google’s March 2024 Core Update: 4 Things Website Owners Should Prioritize

If you haven’t heard about all the recent shakeups from Google’s March 2024 core update (or perhaps you’re wondering what to do), fear not. The changes are indeed having a significant impact on some websites. But, we’re here to share 4 things all website owners should prioritize now to remain in good standing and avoid any potential issues from Google’s latest crackdown.

What is a Google Core Update?

During the course of the year, Google makes “significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems”. They refer to these changes as core updates. In March (2024), Google rolled out a core update to – in their words, “enhance Search so you see more useful information and fewer results that feel made for search engines.” This update (along with previous ones) are predicted to clear out approximately 40% of what Google deems low-quality, unoriginal websites and content from search results. 

So what happened? If you have been stuffing your “original” content with AI-generated copy – you may be seeing a dramatic drop in your organic website traffic. Some sites were even de-indexed entirely (although that penalty is reserved for sites that directly violate Google’s site guidelines for providing helpful, non-spammy content.)

If you weren’t affected, congratulations, and if you continue to be proactive, you can confidently avoid the Google bot’s crosshairs in the future.

computer programming

What’s the Impact and Who’s at Risk?

It’s worth noting that this isn’t new. Google has been implementing updates and clean-ups similar to this since 2022. However, it’s likely no coincidence that the timing aligns with the rise of generative AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which have made content creation exponentially easier but not necessarily improved or more valuable, something Google aims to rectify. If you are currently using AI-generated content, our best advice is to make sure you’re editing, revising, and injecting your thought leadership into it. Using AI as a tool is great, but the minute it becomes your entire content strategy, you run the risk of having your website flagged.

What’s the Impact?

  • Manual warnings
  • Severe impacts on SEO ranking, positioning, and overall site traffic
  • De-indexing of entire websites

Who’s at Risk?

  • Outdated sites: Sites with outdated and generic content are considered untrustworthy and may be de-ranked. Google is focusing on the quality of content versus the overall age of the site so even a site that has been around for a while may be subject to penalties if the content and optimization are dated.
  • Websites with unoriginal or high volume content (think high AI written blogs and landing pages)
  • Poor user experience (UX), clunky mobile responsiveness, and slow page speed
  • SEO issues (from technical SEO to meta descriptions and tags)
  • Manipulative SEO strategies: This could include keyword stuffing, misleading content, or creating landing pages solely for SERP ranking

We’re continually monitoring and improving our client’s websites from an SEO and content perspective to stay compliant and perform at the highest levels. If you’re concerned about your website and want help from an expert, reach out to us and we can help!

4 Things All Website Owners Should Focus On Now

#1 – Audit and Improve Your Site

The number one thing you can do right now is to assess any potential risk factors your current site may have. Conduct a thorough audit of your site to identify areas for improvement such as low-quality content, broken links, mixed messaging, or misleading landing pages. Ensure your content aligns with search intent and prioritize your audience over search engines. This task may be substantial, but it’s essential for the longevity and compliance of your site.

Want some help with this step? Our site audit process can give you a clear picture of how your site is performing, any risk factors to address, and a clear roadmap for how to move forward. Learn more about our website management services here.

#2 – Create Better Content (Or Rework Existing Content)

Writing and creating content that aligns with what your audience is searching for is the key here. Google’s main purpose behind updates like these is to help audiences find accurate and relevant information quickly and efficiently. The more your content showcases your expertise and provides a clear value for your audience, the better.

Gone are the days when websites could thrive on pages tailored solely for search engines. Instead, focus on creating content that offers genuine value and insight to readers, rather than simply targeting keywords. Google even tells creators how to approach content with its E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) guidelines, which stresses the importance of a user-centric approach. Ultimately, prioritizing originality and delivering genuine value to readers remains paramount.

#3 – Prioritize User Experience (UX)

Another factor Google prioritizes is delivering the best possible page experience for users. Having a great UX on your website not only increases your chances of ranking higher in search results, but you’re much more likely to see engagement and revenue as a result of a frictionless web experience. Also, don’t forget to prioritize the mobile experience. Not only does Google take this into account, but visitors on mobile devices accounted for 233% more unique visits than those on desktop (SEMrush).

#4 – Solid SEO Practices

Whether it’s having a proper sitemap, accurate meta descriptions, or technical SEO factors, the simple truth is websites with poor SEO are less likely to rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs). In addition, if you’ve recently migrated your website or are thinking about migrating a website, this is a critical time to ensure your SEO is in check, and more importantly, that any value your site currently has doesn’t get lost in the transfer.

Our SEO program includes a comprehensive audit and site implementation, in-depth analytics, a strategic roadmap for improvement areas, content development, and more. All are designed to increase your site’s performance, rankings, and authority. Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more!

Make Your Website Stand Out

Make a plan, be proactive, adapt, and partner with someone to help. By taking action and making the necessary adjustments, website owners can keep their sites in good standing, improve their search ranking, and build a better online experience for their audience.

At Peaktwo, websites are what we do. We not only build strategic, high-performing websites but we’re tasked with managing and optimizing sites to continue performing at the highest possible level. Questions about the potential impact of Google’s recent changes on your site, we’re here to help.