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Google rolled out the March 2024 Core Update between March 5 and April 19, 2024. However, Google only announced its completion one week later, on April 26, 2024. Unlike previous core updates, this was an update to multiple core systems.

Google announces March 2024 Core Update

Google’s Official Announcement

Google announced the March 2024 core update in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

In the documentation published on March 5, 2024, Google mentioned the update was intended to increase the helpful content and reduce the unhelpful content displayed in search results. The update was released alongside an updated spam policy and the March 2024 Spam Update.

What Are People Saying?

On March 6, 2024, Barry Schwartz shared reports of some search tracking tools on X (formerly Twitter). The tools indicated low volatility on search results pages.

In another post, Glenn Gabe mentioned that site owners could be affected by updates to different core systems. So, even if you don’t experience volatility now, you could experience one before the update is completed. 

In the next few days, SEOs reported significant drops in their traffic. For instance, Niche Site Lady posted some analytics data showing a massive drop in her traffic. In response to her post, Chris shared data showing that his traffic dropped to zero.

Some site owners are seeing a sharp drop in their traffic while their pages remain indexed on Google, and no manual actions are served. This indicates the drop is unlikely to be related to the March 2024 Spam Update, which runs alongside this core update. This drop can be inferred due to the algorithmic change caused by this core update.

Some SEOs are also seeing a reversal of the sudden drop in traffic, they observed their traffic go back up within a day of dropping to zero. Hence, it is advisable to stay calm and do not panic after seeing your site’s traffic tank.

Previous Core Updates

The March 2024 Core Update is one of the core updates we have reported since 2021. Below are details of the other core updates we have documented so far.

What’s Next – Dealing With This Update

The March 2024 Core Update is several core updates rolled into one. So, even if one update doesn’t affect you, there’s no guarantee that you won’t be affected by another one. For this reason, you should continuously monitor your site with Rank Math Analytics until this update is over.

The Core Update also runs alongside the March 2024 Spam Update and both updates could cause traffic loss. So, if you notice a drop in your traffic, follow the guide below to identify which of the updates is responsible. 

SEO Implications of the March 2024 Core Update

The March 2024 Core Update reduced the importance of links in Google rankings. Before this update, Google considered links “an important factor” in deciding a page’s relevance. However, Google now considers links “a factor.” 

Instead of links, Google now gives more attention to helpful, high-quality, and trustworthy content.

In the meantime, Google has opened a feedback form for this Core Update. You can use it to inform Google of ranking issues resulting from this Core Update. The form closes on May 31, 2024.

How to Identify Whether Your Site is Affected by the Core or Spam Update

Once you observe a drop in traffic, check your Google Search Console dashboard to see if you received a manual action notification. If you don’t see one, check the email registered to the Search Console. Keep in mind that the notification may arrive hours after the traffic loss.

  • If your site received a manual action notification, then you were affected by the Spam Update
  • If your site remained indexed in Google and didn’t receive a manual action notification, then it’s the Core Update

If you were affected by the Core Update, watch the video below for tips on recovering from a Google algorithm update. 

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