Google updates a major part of their system periodically. They roll out small changes regularly but formally announce the bigger changes. I have watched these over the years, and they bring terror to anyone in the digital marketing industry.

Google is trying to improve the results by removing those trying to game the system. Due to Google’s use of AI and bots, there are always websites that do everything right but get caught in the crossfire.

In the past, I watched Google updates getting rolled out in December, which hit all e-commerce sellers hard; thankfully, they don’t make changes at that time of year anymore.

Google Core Update March 2024

March 2024 was one of the most significant updates for several years, starting March 5 and finishing 45 days later on April 19. This was a large adjustment, where Google said this core update is more complex and involves changes to multiple core systems.

If you read between the lines of all the geek speak, Google said the following:

“We want sites to have original content with your point of view on the subject, which then provides the maximum help to the user.”

At the same time, politely saying that generation of large scale content, AI produced, won’t work and we can tell when you are doing it” (I paraphrase, but you get the idea)

These changes are nothing new; these tools have been around for years, and now easy access to AI makes it available for everyone.

We have seen the recreation of these tools, with AI added to every name, stating you can produce content fast and in volume. It was called auto blogging or spun content, but it had the same concept, poor content created to serve pages to Google

The short answer (and I have said this to clients): Google is not stupid. If you try to cut corners and produce content without the use of a writer, not only will it be easy to detect, but most likely, it will not have the prose that comes from a good content writer. You might get away with it for a while, but in the long game, it is not worth it and will cost you more.

In New Zealand, I think we got off lightly with the update. See what international SEO specialist Marie Haynes is saying:

“Google updates have devastated many sites, and Google has very little clear guidance on what to do.”

Below is an example of decreasing data Marie Haynes referred to regarding her friend’s recipe site.

Website data sourced from Marie Haynes

Read the full story here.

Google updated its advice on diagnosing traffic drops with some helpful information. If most of your drops are small, like from position two to four, then these can be normal ranking changes, just a shuffling of the top listings.

These changes can have a smaller effect in the international market, where there is much more search traffic. It can have a larger effect in New Zealand, with a smaller search volume in our tiny country.

Having seen these happen many times over the years, the best way to look at them is like an “adjustment” of the market, something like what happens in the financial market.

This, together with a change in seasons and the change to Google Analytics Four (we can’t go back and compare year on year), has made it interesting, to say the least.

Fresh and updated content will be rewarded

The content we are producing and have always focused on still works, but the playing field has changed, and we are changing with it.

While we have always produced user-focused, helpful content, Google now wants your specific point of view on the information, making it highly valuable to the reader.

So, as an example, instead of saying you need fresh content on your site, your best move is to update articles with your opinion and your knowledge about the industry.

Fresh and updated content will always be rewarded, Google even has a freshness patent.

Search is a library. Google is the librarian. Searchers decide which resources are helpful and the librarian moves things accordingly. Updating the content and making changes helps the librarian.

While I have been in the Google ranking space for over 20 years, I always see it as part of the whole plan to grow your business. Google Ads can provide insights in a very short period of time, and waiting for Google Organic can take years to prove.

Understand Google better with our free SEO video

Every week, the director of Whippet Digital, Mike Morgan and I do a live, unscripted discussion on changes in the digital industry, recorded on video for your benefit which you can watch by following us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Get access to our exclusive FREE one hour long video to help you to understand Google better and to avoid the most common mistakes we see New Zealand businesses making with SEO, Google Ads, websites and content.

Website data via Marie Haynes website.