Google’s March 2024 Core Update Completed After 45 Days

After more than a month of volatility that shook thousands of online businesses to their core, Google has (finally) announced the completion of its March 2024 Core Update. Though for some reason, they decided to make the announcement on April 26, despite the fact that the update was fully rolled out by April 19.

In any case, it brings to a head what Google itself claimed was one of its most important and extensive algorithm updates in some time, which in the end took a full 45 days to implement.

As they said at the time:

“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.”

The expectation is, therefore, that any minor or major site performance changes experienced over the past week to 10 days are here to stay. Which is unlikely to come as welcome news for those hit hardest of all, with countless sites having reported organic search traffic losses of up to 60%.

Not to mention, the complete wiping of hundreds of sites from Google’s search listings entirely, having apparently violated their guidelines.

Declaring War On Spam

While the update was indeed a multifaceted one, Google made clear its intent to intensify its war on spam, and take aim at those who attempt to climb the ranks through manipulation.

For example, they stated that the creation of low-value content in significant volumes (particularly through the use of AI) to artificially drive rankings would not be tolerated. The same would also apply to the overuse of links, and the artificial “repurposing” of expired domains.

Less Focus on Links

Echoing the more recent comments of Gary Illyes, Google has once again emphasised its fast-diminishing focus on links as a major ranking factor:

“Any links that are intended to manipulate rankings in Google Search results may be considered link spam. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”

While the update was in progress, Googles spam policies were silently updateda, removing the word “important” from the statement “links are an important factor in determining relevancy.”

Acknowledging that some sites were being hit hard while being as vague as ever with the details, Google’s John Mueller offered the following advice via a Reddit post to those struggling while the update was still rolling out:

“If you have noticed things that are worth improving on your site, I’d go ahead and get things done. The idea is not to make changes just for search engines, right? Your users will be happy if you can make things better even if search engines haven’t updated their view of your site yet.”

With no clear guidance (or guidance whatsoever) from Google on how to deal directly with any adverse consequences triggered by the Core Update, they have opened a ranking feedback forum for anyone looking to share their thoughts.

Positive or negative, site owners are being invited to join the discussion until May 31, which Google insists will help improve its current operations and future algorithm updates.