Google’s March 2024 Core Update

March 28, 2024

Everything you need to know about the latest search engine changes and how it will impact your website

As a website and marketing agency serving clients in the automotive industry, it’s crucial for us to stay informed about Google’s latest core updates and their potential impact on our clients’ websites. The March 2024 core update marks a significant shift in how Google evaluates the helpfulness and relevance of web-based content for businesses across all sectors.

This update (which is more complex than previous core updates) introduces new ways of identifying online content that genuinely serves users’ needs and interests. For car dealers in particular, this means that their associated websites must prioritise creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content that addresses the unique needs and questions of consumers.

In this article, we’ll discuss the potential impact of this update on car dealership websites and provide actionable insights on how to adapt and improve your search performance in light of these changes. Whether you’re a 67 Degrees car dealer or any other business with an online presence, understanding the implications of Google’s March 2024 core update is essential – read on to find out more… 

What is a Google core update?

A core update is a significant change to Google’s search ranking algorithms and systems, which typically occurs several times a year. These updates are designed to improve the overall quality and relevance of search results for users.

5 key points about Google core updates

1. They are extensive updates that affect Google’s entire search index, rather than targeting specific categories.

2. The updates aim to better understand user intent and provide more relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative content in search results.

3. Websites may experience fluctuations in rankings and organic traffic following a core update, either positively or negatively.

4. Google does not usually provide specific details about what has changed in each update, as they want to maintain the integrity of their search algorithms.

5. To recover from a negative impact or maintain positive rankings after a core update, website owners should focus on creating high-quality, user-centric content that adheres to Google’s guidelines based on the principles of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

What major core update did Google release in March 2024?

Google’s core update in March 2024 is more complex than usual and involves changes to multiple core systems. Its aim is to show more helpful and satisfying content to users while reducing the visibility of content designed primarily to attract clicks – also known as clickbait. This means that your website needs to focus on creating valuable, people-first content that genuinely helps its target audience, rather than relying on tactics designed to play the search algorithms.

Making an effort to produce high-quality, original content is the key to enhancing your website’s online presence; this may include informative blog posts, detailed vehicle comparisons, helpful guides for maintenance and repairs, and engaging multimedia content showcasing the latest automotive trends and technologies.

As part of the March 2024 core update, Google has introduced new spam policies to ensure that websites are not engaging in any practices that could be considered ‘spammy’. Examples of these include:

Expired domain abuse

This refers to purchasing expired domain names with a strong reputation and repurposing them for low-quality, irrelevant content, which is a no-go.

Scaled content abuse

This is when a large number of pages are generated with unoriginal content that provides little to no value to users. Just to add, this is regardless of whether that content is created by humans, automation (AI), or a combination of both.

Site reputation abuse

This occurs when third-party content is published (e.g., sponsored or advertising content) with little involvement from the host website in a bid to manipulate search rankings.

How does the Google March 2024 core update affect websites?

The March 2024 Google core update is designed to improve the quality of search results by prioritising content that is more useful to users while reducing the visibility of content that seems primarily designed to attract clicks, without providing much value.

5 ways Google’s core update can affect websites

1 – Ranking fluctuations

Websites may experience more significant ranking fluctuations than usual during the rollout of Google’s March 2024 core update, which could take up to a month to fully implement. Some sites may see improvements in their rankings, while others may experience obvious drops.

2 – Emphasis on helpful content

Websites that focus on creating genuine, people-first content are more likely to benefit from the March 2024 Google core update. Sites with thin, low-quality, or clickbait content may see a decline in ranking in both rankings and traffic. 

3 – Spam policies

As part of the March 2024 core update, Google has introduced new spam policies targeting the likes of expired domain abuse, scaled content abuse, and site reputation abuse. Websites engaging in these practices (whether intentionally or unintentionally) may face ranking penalties or even manual actions.

4 – Adaptation and monitoring

To fully understand the implications of Google’s March 2024 core update, website owners will need to closely monitor their search performance during and after the rollout of the update. It may be that content strategies need adapting and new processes implemented to fully conform with Google’s algorithm changes. 

5 – Long-term impact

As Google’s March 2024 update involves changes to multiple core systems and introduces new ways of identifying helpful content, its impact on search results and user behaviour may be more significant and long-lasting compared to regular core updates and certainly should not be overlooked. 

Why are Google’s core updates important?

While they may be deemed a nuisance by some, Google’s core updates are actually very important for several reasons:

  • They improve user experience
  • They help evolve the search landscape for users
  • They encourage quality content over quantity 
  • They help maintain search integrity
  • They reflect industry trends
  • They can have a significant impact on a website’s visibility  

So to summarise, Google’s core updates are essential for delivering a high-quality search experience to users while encouraging websites to create valuable, relevant content.

What core update changes can you make to your website?

To align your website with the goals of Google’s core updates and improve your chances of maintaining or improving your search rankings, there are a number of changes you can consider making:

Focus on quality content

Create original, in-depth, and well-researched content that addresses your target audience’s needs, questions, and interests. Ensure your content is easy to read, engaging, and provides genuine value to users.

Optimise the user experience

Improve your website’s usability, navigation, and overall design to provide a seamless and enjoyable user experience. This includes ensuring faster loading times, mobile responsiveness, clear site structure, and intuitive navigation.

Demonstrate Google’s E-A-T principle

Emphasise your website’s Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) by showcasing your credentials online. This can be done by including author bylines, detailed and descriptive ‘About Us’ pages, and references to authoritative sources to support your content.

Avoid spammy tactics

Stay away from manipulative practices that violate Google’s spam policies, such as expired domain abuse, scaled content abuse, and site reputation abuse. Instead, focus on creating genuine, user-centric content to build trustworthiness and a higher reputation score. 

Improve website security

Ensure your website uses HTTPS (as opposed to just HTTP) encryption to protect user data and maintain visitor trust. Regularly monitor your site for any security vulnerabilities and address them promptly.

Enhance core web vitals

Work on improving your website’s core web vitals, which include loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. These factors contribute to a positive user experience and can readily influence your search rankings.

Conduct regular content audits

Regularly review your website’s content to identify and update or remove outdated, thin, or low-quality pages. Ensure your content remains fresh, accurate, and relevant to your target audience.

Build quality backlinks

Focus on earning high-quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative websites in your sector. This can help demonstrate your website’s credibility and value to search engines.

Leverage structured data

Implement structured data markup (such as Schema markup) – a language to help search engines better understand and showcase your content in rich snippets, which can improve click-through rates and online visibility.

Monitor search performance

Regularly monitor your website’s search performance using tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics (GA4). Identify areas for improvement and adapt your strategies based on the insights highlighted by these tools.

Remember that the impact of core updates may not be immediately apparent, and it may take time for your website to see improvements in search rankings. Consistently implementing these best practices and focusing on providing value to your users will help you navigate core updates and maintain a strong search presence in the long run.

Seek support from the professionals

As a car dealer, navigating the complexities of Google’s core updates and their impact on your website’s search performance can be a daunting task. That’s where 67 Degrees comes in. We’re an award-winning website design and marketing agency working exclusively in the automotive industry. Among our services, we provide professional SEO for car dealers, tailored to help car dealerships align with Google’s latest guidelines and best practices. 

By partnering with us, you gain access to a team of experienced marketing experts who stay up to speed with the latest trends and changes in the search landscape, including the March 2024 core update. We can conduct a comprehensive audit of your website, identify areas for improvement, and develop a customised SEO strategy that focuses on creating high-quality, user-centric content.

We’ll help you confidently navigate the challenges posed by Google’s core updates and ensure your website remains a valuable resource for customers, ultimately driving more qualified traffic, leads, and sales for your dealership. Get in touch with us to find out more. 

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