Navigating the Google March 2024 Core Update: Insights and AI Perspectives

Last updated:
March 21, 2024

Google announced their first update this year and it’s huge—a 2-in-1 core and spam update. Looks like they’re out to annihilate poor quality content, spam and abuse.

In case you haven’t heard, here’s a quick recap of what’s happening in this one:

  • Google is changing how they “identify the helpfulness of content”—they say that this is a “more complex update” than their usuals, and it’ll remove up to 40% of low-quality pages
  • There are 3 new spam policies:
    • Expired domain abuse: Buying an expired domain and publishing low value content. This is done in hopes to rank based on the old domain’s good reputation.
    • Scaled content abuse: Mass producing content to rank for keywords but don’t actually satisfy users’ query. It doesn’t matter how you produce the content.
    • Site reputation abuse: Low-quality third-party content published on a site with strong reputation, without proper oversight from the website owner.

All the updates target sketchy behavior meant to manipulate ranking. So as long as we focus on quality, relevancy and intent, there’s nothing to worry about.

Understanding Google’s March 2024 Update

Every update from Google is meant to improve searcher’s experience. We already know that. But what constitutes good SEO strategies?

Here’s a deeper analysis into some of Google’s wording.

“to reduce unhelpful, unoriginal content”

Many SEO content strategies centre around volume—they start with a specific keyword and build their content around their keyword with little regard for what readers hope to get out of their search.

This could be sites that just aggregate reviews with no additional information or perspective. These pages won’t be helpful or original to users since they’d expect to read something fresh.

Helpful and original content takes time and effort. There’s no way that copy-pasting would work as a long-term SEO strategy since anyone can do that at scale.

When you’re working on a piece of content, ask yourself—would you bookmark this or share this content with a friend or colleague? That’d give you a good sense of its quality.

“have a poor user experience”

Good user experience is vague. But if you put yourself in the shoes for a searcher, you’d be able to identify a few things that provide good user experience.

Core Web Vitals is one–generally making sure your website loads quickly and doesn’t cause rage would be a good idea.

Others that result in poor user experience would be:

  • Content with spelling mistakes all over and are hard to read
  • Claims with no citations or research, leaving readers worried and doubtful
  • Random advertorials that don’t serve your target audience
  • Links that bring you from article to article without actually answering questions
"feel like they were created for search engines instead of people"

Google follows this statement with "sites created primarily to match very specific search queries".

Content that promise a solution in the title and not delivering it provide poor user experience and don’t serve users. Just imagine reading a full article to find that you learned nothing. It’s awful.

Other flawed SEO practices include keyword stuffing with the goal to rank for a particular keyword.

That means trying your best to use your selected keyword as many as times as you can. Usually this makes the piece of content repetitive and hard to read. A better idea would be to use semantically-related keywords that flow naturally in your content.

The AI Discussion on High-quality Content for Google Core Updates 2024

This debate has been around for the longest time. At this point, most of us are already using AI to create content.

You could be using ChatGPT to write certain phrases. Using AI to automate research. Or Hypotenuse AI to generate full-length articles.

There’s automation involved. You have hopes and dreams of your content ranking on Google. But does that mean AI-generated content will fail?

For one, it may. Sites that get penalized tend to run in a content mill fashion where they prioritize quantity over quality, automating content and generating them at scale with the sole intention to rank on search. Whether it's useful or adds value is not important.

Google considers this abusive behavior, specifically in their own words, "producing content at scale to boost search ranking—whether automation, humans or a combination are involved”.

That means as long as the piece of content is unhelpful and unoriginal, even if a human wrote it, it'll still rank poorly.

The opposite is true. Content, no matter how you produce it, as long as it’s high-quality, Google will love it all the same.

Hypotenuse AI is geared towards insightful content, putting user intent at the forefront. We're built to support and streamline your content workflows, not replace it 100%.

For example, we make it easier for you to create high-quality content quicker, with features like Content Detective for research and AI writer that creates your draft. But your input and your review of the output are most crucial.

Think of it as managing a human writer—you’d probably want to provide a detailed brief with pointers and review the work before publishing it. It’s the same with AI.

Question is, how can you write high-quality articles?

Focus on users, not the search engines

Google wants to see that you’re producing content to help users, not just to rank in search results.

So start with the user. Ask your audience, review People Also Ask on Google or research on forums like Quora. If you’re selling tights for example, users could be asking things like—how to find a pair that’s suitable for their build, or if there’s a certain way to wash it so it doesn’t shrink.

Build your content around that. Create blog articles that answer their questions, write product descriptions that help them make more informed decisions, and give them ideas on how to use your product in your social media posts.

Share your unique perspective

Anyone can write generic content. But no one else can have your own insights and perspective on the same topic. And that’s what’s valuable to the reader.

For example, there could be many articles or videos on the topic of running. But humans can come in many forms—those who suffered an injury, people with flat feet, others who only run at night.

These are different angles to go by and if you have your own unique experience on the same topic, why not angle your content around that?

Showcase your expertise

Write on topics you know well, with details and examples to help readers. Conduct research or interview experts in the field to gather pointers. Perform an experiment and journal your findings.

Especially for YMYL topics, make sure it’s written by someone who’s qualified, or are subject matter experts. Google is especially strict on these topics because we’re talking about health and money—two things keeping us alive.

Ensure readability of your content

This has got to do with user experience. Nobody wants to read walls of text, odd sentence structures or anything laden with spelling mistakes.

Our attention span is getting shorter, so any content you create needs to be easy to read. That means snappier sentences, more white space and better formatting with bullet points and tables.

Where you can, use images or illustrations to get your point across. And, brutally cut out words that don’t add value to your content.

Keep your content updated

Content get outdated very quickly in this ever-changing world. So it’s important to keep track of what you’ve published on your blog and refresh them periodically.

For example, you wrote a 101 guide about Universal Analytics years ago. When GA4 was fully launched, you’d have to refresh this guide to match what GA4 provides.

Another example—you have a listicle on the best places to visit in Japan and it might rank well at some point. But new places spawn every now and then, like you’d probably want to include the Studio Ghibli Theme Park when it launched in Nov 2022.

So it’s best that you set a cadence to update your content so they all stay relevant.

Ultimately, Google wants to create the best experience for users, and they want to reward those who support this endeavor. And when you create your content this way, search engines will naturally want to rank you—whether you’re using human or AI.

Google Core Updates 2024 FAQ

When will the updates be completed?

It’ll take up to a month. The Google Search Status Dashboard will tell you when it’s completed.

How do you know you’ve been targeted?

You’ll probably already notice it on your data—third-party metrics like impressions would drop significantly, first-party data like sign-ups might be affected too. But you could also go to Google and search “” to see if you show up.

What else do I need to know?

Unlike other updates, this is done primarily on a page level rather than site level.

What else can I do to soften the impact, if any?

While we’ve discussed how we can save our organic traffic, it’s important that we don’t put all our eggs in one basket. Diversify your traffic to other sources like influencers or ads, and take good care of your existing customers—send them useful emails and provide an amazing user experience. This way, even if somehow your organic traffic gets affected, your business wouldn’t.

Sushi has years of experience driving growth across ecommerce, tech and education. She gets excited about growth strategy and diving deep into channels like content, SEO and paid marketing. Most importantly, she enjoys good food and an excellent cup of coffee.

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