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Google March Core Update: Is Google losing the AI War or it’s a Comeback for Writers in 2024?

Online marketing has had a roller coaster ride since Artificial intelligence (AI) became a reality in the last quarter of 2022. The inception of Chat GPT changed how we produce and consume content. AI is a revolutionary technology and it has proved to be of great help in industries such as health care, transportation, cybersecurity, and marketing among many others. 

2023 was an AI-free trial period. We saw the rise of AI companies such as Open AI which is mainly funded by Microsoft,  Google Bard and Elon Musk’s Grok AI. Microsoft dared to dethrone Google search by integrating AI in Microsoft Edge to provide users with better search results.

Google dominates search queries with over 90% happening on Google Chrome. This has made it the undisputed champion. The status quo was creating content that would rank on Google to get more leads and customers. 

However, things were about to change with the introduction of AI. At the time, Microsoft was leading with investments in Open AI and they wanted to get more traffic from search queries. 

Google search brings more than 57% of Alphabet Inc’s income and Microsoft wanted a slice of the pie. This led to Google making a variety of updates in its search algorithms. In this blog post, we will have a look at the latest March 2024 update. 

Skale Money Key Takeaways

  • Google’s March 2024 Core Update aims to improve search quality by targeting AI-generated and low-quality content.
  • The update focuses on rewarding content that informs readers rather than just attracting clicks.
  • Google is implementing stricter measures against spam, including manual actions against non-compliant websites.
  • Mass publishing of content, whether AI-generated or not, may be viewed as content automation and could lead to lower rankings.
  • Website owners are given a two-month notice to improve third-party content quality or risk de-ranking.
  • Outdated content and misuse of expired domains for unrelated content are now considered spam.
  • To maintain good rankings, businesses should focus on creating high-quality, human-centric content that follows Google’s EEAT principles.
  • The update suggests a potential shift back towards human-written content, possibly benefiting professional writers and content creators.

Create content for humans instead of SERPs

Creating content is not as easy as many people think. The introduction of AI for marketing campaigns led to companies laying off writers. The ripple effect was the mass publishing of ‘SEO-AI content’ to cut costs. Some companies increased their traffic since they tricked the algorithm by editing and publishing AI content to suit Google’s SEO requirements.

According to Google, they started tuning their ranking systems in 2022 when they noticed the mass publishing of AI content. This was called more content by people, for people in search. Google has implemented their findings in the 2024 March Google update. It involves: 

  • Create algorithms that check if content informs readers and not attract clicks.
  • De-ranking of unoriginal low-quality content. 
  • Rank product reviews written by experts.
  • Check if websites have a poor user experience

According to Google, the Google update will reduce low-quality unoriginal content on search by 40%.

A user on X lamenting:

Fight against spammers

As technology evolves so do unscrupulous individuals who want to spam people. AI has made it easy to publish content fast. Unfortunately, using AI without a subject expert or high-quality writer leads to the creation of low-quality spammy content that can rank on Google. 

Google uses advanced spam fighting systems and spam policies. The March Google update has taken an extra step by having targeted actions such as manual actions.  A manual action is when an expert from Google establishes that a website is not compliant with Google’s spam policies.  According to Google, a manual action can: 

  • Lead to low-ranking
  • Omission from search results
  • De-indexing from search

Content Automation

Now here’s where things are not so clear with the March Google update. Initially, in 2022, Google search advocate John Mueller said  AI content was against their guidelines. In 2023 they changed their guidelines and said they reward high-quality content, however it is produced. 

At the moment Google doesn’t care how you create content as long as it’s of value to readers. However, in the March Google update, it seems like the company has an issue with scaled content abuse where companies mass publish content. Google admits it’s not always certain whether the content was AI-written, human-written or a combination of both. 

This means that mass publishing of articles will no longer be a ranking factor. Google will assume that as content automation which can lead to low-quality content. 

Site publishers be warned

Publishers of high-ranking websites often receive guest post articles and link-building requests. Unfortunately, some publishers don’t scrutinize the articles to see if they are of high quality.  AI has led to scaled content abuse by publishing low-quality content on high-ranking websites. 

In the March Google update, Google has given site owners and publishers a two-month notice to make changes to their third-party content else on May 5th their pages will be deranked or omitted from search. 

Outdated content and expired domains

As part of its spam policies, Google now requires websites to match their intended purpose. Buying high-quality domains to increase the ranking of low-quality content or content that’s not related to the initial website is now considered spam in the March Google update.

It’s important to note that not updating your articles could also harm your traffic. For instance, you can update some new statistics that have occurred and remove the outdated ones. If your content is evergreen, try updating the year to the current year.

What to do

Google updates are not a new thing. The big tech company will always change their algorithms to provide its users with the best possible experience. As a business owner, ensure you: 

  • Stay up to date with Google’s policies.
  • Publish high-quality content for humans by hiring a content writer or agency. 
  • Apply Google’s EEAT principles. 
  • Ensure your website has the best user experience. 
  • Audit your website regularly and make changes when necessary. 
  • Avoid black hat SEO tactics.

A comeback for writers in 2024? 

As you can see, there are no shortcuts to ranking on Google. Even though Google claims that it’s not against AI content, all signs indicate that AI is not as great as we might have thought.  

In 2024, companies are shifting back to hiring freelance writers to ensure they publish high-quality content that abides by Google’s principles. To be on the safe side it’s better to hire a writing agency or freelance writers.

I’m a freelance writer and I like writing for B2B SaaS, Finance, I-gaming and B2C companies. Feel free to reach out to me on my LinkedIn or send me an email

FAQ:

What is the Google March Core Update? 

It’s a 2024 algorithm update aimed at improving search quality by targeting low-quality and AI-generated content, with a focus on rewarding content that informs readers.

How does the update affect AI-generated content? 

While Google doesn’t explicitly ban AI content, the update targets mass-produced content and may lower rankings for low-quality AI-generated articles.

What actions is Google taking against spam?

Google is implementing stricter measures, including manual actions against non-compliant websites and targeting scaled content abuse.

How can website owners prepare for this update? 

Focus on creating high-quality, human-centric content, follow Google’s EEAT principles, and regularly audit your website for outdated or low-quality content.

Will this update benefit human writers? 

The update suggests a potential shift back towards human-written content, which could benefit professional writers and content creators as companies aim to meet Google’s quality standards.

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