Google March 2024 Core Update Released: bigger than before!

It's over.

Our sites aren't coming back.
It's not over yet ... still ~2 weeks to go, but ...

I am amazed how much Google favors online shops and forums compared to smaller (less than 1000 pages) sites/blogs - if it is a content site with display ads and affiliate links, Google doesn't care too much...

Which means finding other traffic sources or pretending to be an online shop - any ideas regarding the last one?
 
It's not over yet ... still ~2 weeks to go, but ...

I am amazed how much Google favors online shops and forums compared to smaller (less than 1000 pages) sites/blogs - if it is a content site with display ads and affiliate links, Google doesn't care too much...

Which means finding other traffic sources or pretending to be an online shop - any ideas regarding the last one?
Pinterest, facebook, email if you have a list, tiktok, Instagram, bing.
 
It's not over yet ... still ~2 weeks to go, but ...

I am amazed how much Google favors online shops and forums compared to smaller (less than 1000 pages) sites/blogs - if it is a content site with display ads and affiliate links, Google doesn't care too much...

Which means finding other traffic sources or pretending to be an online shop - any ideas regarding the last one?
This depends on the niche. Sometimes you can just fake a shop, or even a service, or even a physical company (doing business with whatever you write about). You can even have the shop (service) running realistically, without ever having the products or wanting to sell them. You just set the prices unrealistically high so nobody will purchase.

In some niches, however it would be extremely hard to come up with something that makes a bit of sense at least :). And I also feel this isn't the only factor playing out. Maybe it is also about the ratio of blog posts to other "service/shop" pages, etc. If you offer a service/product (real or fake) and have 10 pages related to this, and then 500 pages on your "blog" section, I do not think it will pass the google filters :)
 
Apparently it all started on March 5. I have 1 global and 1 local blog site that is affected (in a negative sense) by this. However, both of them are websites that have not been updated for at least 6 months. They are both quite old and the content quality is not great. Apparently they are trying to destroy low authority sites that do not update their content and do not publish very high quality content. However, I think the situation of spamming news sites is very important here. We'll wait and see.
 
People...Google cannot judge content or how helpful it is or isn't, it is just a bot...

Google bot doesn't know what is good or what is not, or who is an expert and who isn't...again, it is just a bot.

Human raters can judge however...

This update, in my opinion, is punishing sites that

1) Got too many unrealistic and spammy backlinks
2) Where the site is just long tail keywords over and over (Build for SEO sites)

And its promoting authority 'trusted' and user generated sites.

Honestly, long term blogging is dead unless something changes or you have a big bank balance.

If it doesn't change, then go full black hat and get some short terms wins, or just concentrate on parasite SEO, as even though Google said they will be punishing that and gave 2 months notice, I really don't think much wll come of it.
 
Bad news everyone... Spam update has been concluded:
https://status.search.google.com/products/rGHU1u87FJnkP6W2GwMi/history
The search results is WORSE than ever before... I am still seeing many spam sites ranking.

My earlier comment aged well:

I honestly want to get all excited (and worried too as some of my projects are blackhat) but...

Let's all face it: Google has a reputation now of overpromising but underdelivering.

Like how in the past when "Helpful Content Update" was first introduced, Google kept hyping that it is going to reward quality content and websites, and that their algorithm is going to be powerful, bla bla bla. Even the media news all talked about it. Affected webmasters from the 2022 May Core Update were finally given faith and hope.

But we all know what happened later - AI content sites all won, blackhat sites won, sponsored content were flooded everywhere, and whitehat sites all got obliterated. Then they later kept hyping again that there's an upcoming update coming up and they called it the "hidden gems update" and that it will sniff out under-rated content or websites and reward them accordingly. And what happened? Spam sites (forum spam, profile spam, PDF upload spam) all flooded to the top.

I can keep going on and on like how they overhyped Bard so much until they had to rename it to Gemini and it still screwed up so badly.

So yeah, as much as this update sounds 'powerful' I have a feeling it is going to have some big screwups again. Or worse yet it is all bark but no bite. That may explain why they needed a different Googler to break the news and not the typical Googler (JohnMu, Danny Sullivan, etc).

Google now have this annoying habit of overhyping their product/updates/services but later turns out crappy. Like a guy who goes around, "YEAH, we're gonna have a BIG CRAZY party!!! Lots of booze, lots of awesome tasty food like pizza, lots of girls/boys, lots of games!! YEAH!!!"
Then when you turn up, the 'party' is just playing board games and his grandma serves you homemade syrup drink with sandwiches.
 
If Google is rewarding User generated content is it worth adding a forum / User Q&A type of content to a site (niche dependent) to generate that type of content?
 
I've spent a lot of time today analyzing the sites that got hit.

It seems our biggest problem has been legacy product pages from 1-3 years ago that had low value fluff content. Most of our sites that had 60+ of these posts have disappeared from search.

We have taken a selection of these sites and removed all outdated posts. We will see what effect it has.
What effect did it have? Did you observe any changes?
Interestingly, this update destroyed a site of mine that had the most manual work put in. I'm talking about product testing, proprietary data, great social engagement, and shares of articles throughout forums, FB groups, etc. Went from 500-1000 clicks per day to 30. Spammy sites that use everything shady possible that I'm overseeing have only seen gains.

Reading up more about the sites that this update affected, I thought that I'll test the theory of Google penalizing sites that are connected to shady sites via GSC. So I deleted 6 sites from my GSC account where I did all of the testing of not so white hat tactics. Within 2 hours, the site mentioned in the beginning came back at even higher positions than it was in before. Could be pure coincidence or could be the connection between that site and 6 spam sites via GSC... Needless to say I will not be lazy going forward and use different GSC accounts.
I thought it might be related to google adsense or analytics. Were there any common analytics or adsense codes you used on the 6 sites you deleted from GSC? Did only deleting the sites from GSC fix the problem? What is the latest situation?
 
This update has caused thousands of marketers to cry.
Like with every single update. In previous updates, we were "promised" that this and that would end or severely complicate SEO, but after a few weeks everything would usually calm down. It always feels much worse during the actual rollout of the update.
 
Currently I'm running 3 different experiments on the dead sites since the update. Mainly revolving around how the sites deal with the old autogenerarted and thin content.

So far, after 2 weeks there have been zero movement on any sites, even on those with thin content removed.

Whilst they are still indexed with no manual action, they are not ranking >100 for any search term.

I have my suspicions the domains have had some kind of flag and no resurrection will be possible.


Has anyone else been able to recover from being removed from search from this update?
 
Currently I'm running 3 different experiments on the dead sites since the update. Mainly revolving around how the sites deal with the old autogenerarted and thin content.

So far, after 2 weeks there have been zero movement on any sites, even on those with thin content removed.

Whilst they are still indexed with no manual action, they are not ranking >100 for any search term.

I have my suspicions the domains have had some kind of flag and no resurrection will be possible.


Has anyone else been able to recover from being removed from search from this update?
No recover too
 
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