Being on the first Google page organically is indeed no small feat. To achieve such a high accolade, web pages have to score extremely well in front of Google’s algorithms. Acting as the arbiters of content relevance and quality across the internet, these complex, ever-evolving systems are designed to sift through billions of web pages to present users with the most relevant, useful, and reliable content in response to their search queries. In March, for a whole month, Google are running a core update for their algorithms, which seems much more important than an usual core update. Focusing on finding low quality content generated solely by AI, as well as manipulative SEO practices, the update comes with added benefits, as well as many implications for business owners.

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The March 2024 core update is one of Google’s most important so far. We said it before – Google will find a way to differentiate through millions of pages using content created with AI tools and the ones using content that people find useful. Additionally, the update will take into account new spam policies to handle the practices that can negatively impact Google’s search results more efficiently.

The fact that algorithms are active systems, made them some of the main ‘culprits’ why Google is now one of the most used search engines, with close to 92% of all global internet searches being conducted on it.

Indeed, focus shifted throughout the years. New organic ranking factors like ‘page experience’ appeared, with Core Web Vitals developed to measure it. But classic metrics like the quality of the content have always stood on a high position when it came to optimizing for search engines. And this March core update shows that good quality content is still key.

Last year, there were many who saw AI developments like ChatGPT being used to handle all content creation tasks. However, the new algorithm update is Google’s way to differentiate. When the ability to write content, using the right keywords is at everyone’s fingertips, encouraging website owners and content creators to make satisfying content meant for people is the search engine’s way of saying ‘If you want to stand out, you have to do better than copy and paste!’ 

Now, we’re not saying that ChatGPT cannot be used. On the contrary, it can well be used as a virtual assistant which provides correlated information or why not, a content structure and ideas. But its full potential will be unleashed by the ones who know how to take the ideas generated by AI and turn it into high quality, fresh and relevant content which exudes the human touch.

In fact Google clearly specifies that the use of content generated through automation, including generative AI, is spam ONLY if the primary purpose is manipulating ranking in Search results.

Google’s way of spotting helpful content

With this important update, Google is showing that its focus is now shifting towards its end users, prioritizing user experience and genuine content. And this makes a lot of sense, especially for eCommerce websites, where the whole experience, from searching for the products to product pages, is integral to the success of the business.

This is Google’s voice saying that in order to be relevant, merchants have to create content that serves the needs of their visitors, rather than algorithms. This will not only improve user experience dramatically, but will also result in a more informative and trustworthy web space, a stigma that has been placed on the internet for a long time.

Updated Spam Policies

Another important part of this core update increases the level of scrutiny on practices that negatively affect search results, namely expired domain abuse, scaled search abuse and website reputation abuse.

Expired domain abuse has been a common practice employed to manipulate search rankings by purchasing an expired domain, hoping to cash in on the old business’s reputation. However, the algorithms are trained to differentiate between these malicious habits and using an old domain name for a new, original site that’s designed to serve people first.

Scaled content abuse is sometimes employed to manipulate search rankings by creating large amounts of un-original content that provides little to no value to users. This is where AI-generated content was massively used, but as we explained before, the differences between this practice and using AI to generate a structure, an idea, are immense and Google will not penalize the latter if the end result is helpful to users.

Site reputation abuse happens when a third-party page is published, having no relation whatsoever with the first-party page in terms of relevance of content. When its purpose is to manipulate search rankings by taking advantage of the first-party site’s ranking signals, Google will consider it as Spam. However, Google doesn’t penalize all these pages. For example, websites owned by publications often have advertorial pages. Even though they don’t have the same content as the main pages, these are still relevant to the business.

Even so, to make sure they don’t fall beyond the red line, Google advises web admins to use the noindex robots meta tag, a rule that tells Google not to index the content or let it appear in Google search results.


The update is a clear message from Google that providing genuine value to visitors is the right way to high organic ranking. The update is complex and its range, from regulating AI-generated content to enhanced spam detection, means that website owners will have to better scrutinize their content creation practices and SEO strategies to abide by new requirements.

While the update is running, businesses may witness fluctuations of their organic search rankings, which will likely stabilize as various components of the update fully integrate and reinforce each other.

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