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Google’s 2024 Core Update and New Spam Policies:
What Marketers NEED to Know

introduction

Google’s March 2024 core update and new spam policies introduce significant changes aimed at elevating the quality of content marketing SEO and combatting manipulative practices. Let’s delve into what marketers should know about these updates and how they can navigate the evolving landscape of Google Search.

 

tldr summary

 

1. The March 2024 Google Core Update

As digital marketers, we know that adapting to the latest Google core update is essential for maintaining or improving search visibility.

This time, Google has fortified its core ranking systems to deliver more beneficial results. Unlike previous updates, this evolution involves multiple systems that aim to prioritize content that better serves user needs. To understand this change, Google has introduced a new FAQ page and further emphasized the importance of original, helpful, and reliable content that is informative, authoritative, and leaves the users feeling they’ve had a satisfying experience.

According to Google, this is a particularly complex update, and the rollout may take up to a month. Also, there will likely be more fluctuations in rankings than with a regular core update as different systems get fully updated and reinforce each other. Google will post to their Google Search Status Dashboard when the update is finished.

There’s nothing new or special that digital marketers and content creators need to do for this update…as long as they’ve been making satisfying content meant for people!

For those that might not be ranking as well, we strongly encourage reading Google’s content help page.

 

2. Google’s Clean Sweep: Cracking Down on Manipulative Tactics 

Google has also introduced new spam policies designed to curb practices that undermine the integrity of search results. Some examples of exploitative practices that Google is punishing blackhat marketers for using:

Cloaking: This refers to the practice of presenting different content to users and search engines with the intent to manipulate search rankings and mislead users. An example would be showing one page to search engines while displaying different content to users.

Doorways: Doorway pages are created to rank for specific search queries, but they often lead users to intermediate pages that lack useful content. This can include having multiple websites targeting similar queries or funneling users to a single page through various domains.

Expired Domain Abuse: This occurs when expired domain names are repurposed primarily to manipulate search rankings by hosting low-value content. For example, an expired government agency domain might be repurposed to host affiliate content.

Hacked Content: Hackers may inject malicious code or create new pages on a website without permission, leading to poor search results and potential security risks for users.

Hidden Text and Links: Placing content on a page solely to manipulate search engines, such as hiding text behind images or using CSS to position text off-screen, violates Google’s policies.

Keyword Stuffing: Filling a web page with keywords in an attempt to manipulate search rankings. This can include repeating the same words or phrases unnaturally throughout the content.

Link Spam: Any behavior intended to manipulate links to or from a site for ranking purposes, such as buying or selling links, excessive link exchanges, or using automated programs to create links.

Machine-Generated Traffic: Sending automated queries to Google or scraping search results without permission can interfere with the search experience and violate Google’s spam policies.

Malware and Malicious Behaviors: Google checks websites for malware or unwanted software that could harm users’ devices or compromise their security.

Misleading Functionality: Creating websites with misleading services or functionality intended to deceive users, such as fake generators or deceptive ads.

Scaled Content Abuse: Generating large amounts of unoriginal content with little to no value to users, often through automated means or by stitching together content from various sources.

Scraped Content: Copying content from other sites without adding original value can result in copyright infringement and provide a poor user experience.

Sneaky Redirects: Redirecting users to content different from what was initially requested, often with the intent to deceive users or manipulate search rankings.

Site Reputation Abuse: Publishing third-party pages with little oversight or involvement from the host site to manipulate search rankings.

Thin Affiliate Pages: Pages with affiliate links and copied product descriptions that lack original content or added value for users.

User-Generated Spam: Spammy content added to a site by users through forums, comments, or other user-generated channels.

Google also takes action against scams and fraud, including impersonating legitimate businesses or services. By adhering to these spam policies and upholding ethical SEO practices, digital marketers and business can safeguard their online reputation and foster sustained growth in search rankings.

 

3. Implications for AI-Generated Content 

While AI has revolutionized content creation, its misuse for spammy purposes remains a major concern. Google’s stance on AI content is consistent with its broader spam policies – content generated solely for the purpose of manipulating search rankings is subject to penalties, regardless of its origin.

The distinction lies in the intent behind content creation. Whether produced by AI or human efforts, content should prioritize user value and relevance. Marketers leveraging AI technologies should ensure that their content adds genuine value to users and complies with Google’s quality guidelines.

 

4. Adapting to an Evolving Search Landscape

As Google continues to refine its algorithms and spam detection mechanisms, digital marketers must remain agile and proactive in their approach to SEO.

For digital marketers, this necessitates focusing on quality, relevance, and ethical SEO practices. By prioritizing user-centric content creation, adhering to Google’s spam policies, and staying informed about industry developments, marketers can navigate the evolving search landscape with confidence and maintain a competitive edge in the digital sphere.

Looking to elevate your online presence and drive impactful results? Contact Estes Media today to explore our comprehensive suite of digital growth marketing and content marketing services tailored to your business needs.

 

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