Written by Aaron Rains March 5th 2024

Google announced a massive update today, March 5, 2024. The update includes a core update, a few spam updates, new manual actions, and the helpful content system, which has been rehauled and is now part of the core.

The March 2024 core update is much more than what we are used to in terms of core updates. It’s designed to show people “more useful information and fewer results that feel made for search engines.”Google core update March 2024

Here’s what you need to know about the core update 2024:

Re the core update and the helpful content system

  • This update marks an “evolution in how [Google] identifies the helpfulness of content.”
  • Google says, “We’re making algorithmic enhancements to our core ranking systems to ensure we surface the most helpful information on the web and reduce unoriginal content in search results.”
  • The helpful content system has been wholly rehauled and is now integrated into the core ranking systems.
  • The core ranking systems have been refined to understand better if webpages are unhelpful or feel like they were created for search engines instead of people.
  • The rollout will take a month.
  • Google predicts this update and their previous efforts will reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%. To put this in perspective, the first rollout of Panda affected 12% of queries.
  • There will be a lot of ranking fluctuations as systems get fully updated.

Re spam

Massive changes are coming regarding spam. These changes start May 5, 2024. (It’s still being determined whether all spam changes begin in May or some are implemented now.)

  • Spam updates will impact sites algorithmically or via manual action. 
  • Expired domain abuse: When you buy an expired domain and repurpose it to manipulate search rankings.
  • Scaled content abuse Will impact sites that create content at scale using AI to manipulate Search rankings. 
  • Site reputation abuse: This sounds like it’s targeted at “parasite SEO,” where people publish content on an authoritative website.
  • Examples of scaled content abuse
  • New info has been added to Google’s spam policies.

Example of Scaled content abuse

  • Using gernerative AI tools or other similar tools to generate many pages without adding value for user
  • Scraping feeds, search results, or other content to generate many pages
  • Combining content from different web pages

Examples of Site reputation abuse

  • An educational site hosting a page about reviews of payday loans written by a third-party that distributes the same page to other websites
  • A medical site hosting a third-party page about “best casinos” that’t designed to manipulate search rankings. Again, from Google’s documentation:

And here are some examples of hosting third-party content that are not considered spam.

  • Wire service or press releases service sites
  • New publications that have syndicated new content from other news publication
  • sites designed to allow user-generated content, such as a forum website or comments sections

What to do if impacted by the core update March 2024

First, wait. Google has said to expect many shifts in rankings as these different systems are implemented and work together. The update will take up to a month to roll out.

If you were impacted, unfortunately, I expect recovery to be complicated. These updates will likely impact sites that previously benefited more from SEO than because of the quality and helpfulness of content. Significant changes will likely need to be made to recover; only some stem from SEO. You will likely need to create a website and business that people are actively seeking out because it is known for the quality of its content on your topic.


Google will do more and more to reward helpful content like I’ve been preaching. I encourage you to read Barry Schwartz’s coverage of these changes. He has had conversations with Google about the upcoming changes. What do I expect from this update? I expect that we will see a bigger shift than usual in Google’s reward of authoritative and helpful content. The spam update targeted at scaled content will be monumental. So many blackhats were thriving by generating copious amounts of AI content to manipulate topical authority.

​Google’s announcement of the changes.​