What Impact Will Google's Marc 2024 Update Have On My Website?

It was never in any doubt that Google’s March 2024 core update was going to be a biggie. But given the fact that it was still being rolled out well into April, it’s turning out to be an even more seismic shift than most had expected.

"The March 2024 core update is a more complex update than our usual core updates, involving changes to multiple core systems. It also marks an evolution in how we identify the helpfulness of content,” Google explained in a recent Twitter (X) post.

“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. We'll post to our Google Search Status Dashboard when the update is finished."

The impact of the update has already been widespread and enormous, causing panic for those hit hardest of all. But in terms of specific effects, what have been the most notable impacts of this sweeping (and still ongoing) core update so far?

1. Websites Are Being Wiped off Google Entirely

For one thing, Google’s declaration of war on irrelevant, unhelpful and unoriginal content was apparently no bluff. They pledged in their March 5 statement to eliminate up to 40% of low-quality websites from the search results, and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

For those affected, this means the unthinkable reality of suddenly finding that your website has disappeared entirely from the Google rankings. No sudden or dramatic plummet – total overnight deindexation.  Presumably as a result of a manual action on Google’s part, as opposed to automated removal.

2. Hard and Fast Penalties

Elsewhere, those who’ve been hit by Google but not completely erased from existence are feeling the brunt of increasingly hard and fast penalties. Far from gradual slowdowns in traffic or increasingly poor rankings, they’ve found themselves taking hammer-blows in one massive hit.

Something which, as Google has explained before, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something fatally wrong. It could simply mean that others have been recognized for doing things better than you, and have subsequently been rewarded with higher rankings.

3. No Immunity for Past Core Update Survivors

This is an interesting one, as to survive or even thrive in the face of a major core update usually means you’re in a good place when the next one rolls around.  In this case, there have been countless reports of websites and businesses facing huge repercussions, despite having been untouched or even rewarded by past updates.

Presumably, this is down to Google’s growing focus on E-E-A-T, and enhanced scrutinization of content quality. Or to put it another way, those who simply slipped through the net last time despite not performing on a particularly high level weren’t so lucky this time around.

4. AI-Reliant Publishers Pay the Price

Last up, Google seems to have well and truly put all AI content sites firmly in its crosshairs.  Having massively refined its AI-generated content detection capabilities, they're now firing penalties at even smaller websites that rely too heavily on systems like Chat GPT to generate content.

Which may have been a long time coming, but it was always a foregone conclusion.  Repetitive, unoriginal content is Google’s public enemy number one, and that’s exactly what almost all AI-generated text is.  Despite having once said that AI-generated copy wasn’t a no-no in its own right, they’ve now made it clear that high or total reliance on machine-generated copy in place of real human writing will not be tolerated.