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Navigating the Waves of the Google Core Update Mid-Swing

Mar. 22, 2024 | Dwight Zahringer

Google Core Update Early March Results

March 2024 Google Core Update Unveiled

On March 5th, 2024, the digital world braced itself as Google announced its latest core update, setting the stage for a seismic shift in how content is ranked and valued across the web. As we stand on March 19th, the ripples of this update have begun to show, marking clear winners and losers in its wake. Yet, with Google’s announcement that this is but the first in a series of updates stretching into early May, the full spectrum of its impact remains a subject of keen speculation.

Unpacking the Update: A Closer Look at the Early Effects

The Winners and Losers Emerge

In these initial two weeks, data analytics have begun to sketch the contours of change with Google’s 2024 Core Update (when is the last time you had a real SEO Audit of your website, anyways?). Large sites, particularly those ingrained with rich, helpful content, have seen an uptick in their rankings. This trend underscores Google’s continued commitment to rewarding quality and relevance in the vast ocean of online information. Conversely, recently, sites that have historically relied on AI-generated content or have skirted the edge of spammy practices are witnessing a decline. These shifts signal Google’s refining eye, ever more adept at distinguishing genuine value from the chaff.

The Legacy of the Helpful Content Update

In our opinion, the threads of this core update are inextricably woven with the principles laid out in the 2023’s fall Helpful Content Update. That earlier shift paved the way for a more nuanced understanding of what makes content truly beneficial for users. Websites that heeded Google’s call to focus on depth, accuracy, and user engagement over shallow keyword-stuffing have found themselves on the right side of change. This continuity between updates illustrates a clear path forward for content creators: genuine value stands the test of time.

EEAT Signals: The New Benchmark for Trust

The core update has also cast a spotlight on EEAT signals—Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Google states:

Many creators are familiar with the concept of E-A-T, which is used in how we evaluate if our search ranking systems are providing helpful, relevant information. Would ordinary people feel the results they get demonstrate E-A-T, that is: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness?

Now, to better assess our results, E-A-T is gaining an E: experience. Does content also demonstrate that it was produced with some degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced? There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has first-hand, life experience on the topic at hand.

For example, if you’re looking for information on how to correctly fill out your tax returns, that’s probably a situation where you want to see content produced by an expert in the field of accounting. But if you’re looking for reviews of a tax preparation software, you might be looking for a different kind of information—maybe it’s a forum discussion from people who have experience with different services.

Google Quality Raters Guidelines excerpt

These criteria have become the linchpins of website evaluation, emphasizing the importance of credibility and factual accuracy in content. Sites that have invested in showcasing their credentials, sourcing their information diligently, and building a reputation for reliability are now reaping the rewards of their efforts.

G’s Battle Against AI-Influenced Spammers

In an age where AI-generated content can flood the internet with unprecedented speed, Google’s core update serves as a bulwark against the tide of low-quality, spammy material. By refining its algorithms to discern the nuances of human vs. AI-produced content, Google is safeguarding the integrity of its search results, ensuring that users find genuinely helpful information at their fingertips.

Google Core Update Early March Results

The Path Ahead: Caution and Patience Advised

Our Concluding Recommendation

As the digital community digests the ramifications of this core update, the message from our accompanying podcast is clear: remain vigilant, but hold steady. With Google’s announcement of ongoing updates until the beginning of May, premature reactions could be more detrimental than beneficial. The landscape of search is in flux, and what may seem like a setback today could very well be an advantage tomorrow.

In this period of transition, the wise course of action is to observe and analyze. Keep a close watch on how your site’s metrics evolve, take note of industry trends, and most importantly, continue to prioritize the creation of high-quality, EEAT-aligned content. The key to navigating this and future updates lies not in rapid, reactive changes but in a steadfast commitment to excellence and relevance in the content we offer to the world.

As we sail through these choppy waters, remember that the North Star of digital success remains unchanged: quality, value, and user focus. By adhering to these principles, we can ride the waves of Google’s updates with confidence, poised to emerge stronger on the other side.

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*images made with AI-assistance, content creation sprinkled with some AI salt-n-peppa.