LIVE updates: This month in search marketing [March 2024]

Mar 20th, 2024

March Google Core Update Launched

The first Google core algorithm update of the year is here! And it’s going to be a BIG one. On 5th March, Google announced the latest update stating:

“The March 2024 core update is more complex than our usual core updates, involving changes to multiple core systems… As this is a complex update, the rollout may take up to a month. It’s likely there will be more fluctuations in rankings than with a regular core update.”

The new advanced algorithms will now demote unoriginal content by 40%, so businesses creating content at scale to manipulate search engine rankings or taking part in any of the below spam behaviour could find themselves being targeted.
Spam update details below:

  1.  Expired domain abuse : This is combating people buying expired domains and getting value from the domain’s reputation and links in Search- essentially a way of cheating the system.
  2. Scaled content abuse : Building on the previous spam policy, content built out at scale and in an automated way is being targeted. Interestingly, they make specific mention that no matter whether content is “produced through automation, human efforts, or some combination of human and automated processes”, it will be penalised.
  3. Site reputation abuse : Cracking down on websites that, despite hosting great content, allow low-quality third-party content solely for ranking benefits.

Google’s overlapping updates & confusion

Google’s March core update is shaking things up! With the March core update, spam policy updates, manual actions, and core web vitals happening simultaneously, businesses are finding it difficult to understand what is affecting what. Google has stated they do ‘generally try to avoid’ this overlapping, but with the ongoing goal to improve search, the updates have been launched at the same time. Expect to see the effects for at least the next month.

Google issues search engine penalties

Following the release of its updated search spam policies, Google initiated penalties for websites deemed to have violated these policies. Consequently, some sites faced complete or partial removal from Google’s search results, resulting in a significant loss of search traffic. The affected websites were notified of these penalties in the manual actions section within Google Search Console.

Brands wasting ad money on MFA websites

Numerous prominent brands are inadvertently having their advertisements displayed on Made for Advertising (MFA) websites. A recent study by Analytics reveals that ads are being placed on these sites through both programmatic and non-programmatic channels.

Is TikTok developing a rival IG app?

TikTok is said to be creating a photo-centric app to rival Instagram, as indicated by recent findings in the app’s code. The references to “TikTok Photos” suggest that users will be prompted to share still images in the new app, aiming to connect with like-minded individuals who appreciate photo posts.


INP is launched this week!

On March 12, 2024, Google will implement a change to the Core Web Vitals metrics by replacing First Input Delay (FID) with Interaction to Next Paint (INP). This update is separate from the ongoing March 2024 Google Core update, with no correlation between core updates and Core Web Vitals. The transition from FID to INP has been anticipated, and Google has provided prior notice, confirming its implementation this Tuesday.

Potential TikTok ban for US

It’s not looking good for TikTok in the USA. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill mandating ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell the platform within six months, or face a complete ban in the United States. Failure to comply would result in the loss of TikTok’s 150 million American users. This development is of significant concern to advertisers, particularly those targeting Generation Z, as TikTok is a preferred platform for this demographic. Its potential ban would heavily impact advertisers reliant on TikTok to reach this audience, making it a crucial channel for their marketing efforts.

So, how has this ban come about? Well, due to ByteDance being based in China, it comes under official Chinese cybersecurity laws. Meaning all of the data collected from US TikTok users could be passed over to the Chinese Communist Party, thus posing a risk on national security. Whether the bill will be passed is still uncertain.

Third-party cookie deprecation grace period extended

The grace period for the third-party cookie deprecation trials has been extended until 30th June 2024, with the original end date having been 1st April 2024.

LinkedIn sponsoring organic posts

LinkedIn has a new feature which allows businesses to promote organic users posts, rather than just verified employees. This is an important step for brands, as promoting content about your business that has come from external sources improves credibility and trust which could lead to more conversions.

Help your brand stay ahead of emerging trends to remain present and relevant in the competitive market, and speak to our experts at Click Consult today!

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