How Will Google’s March 2024 Core Update Affect My Travel Blog?

As travel bloggers, staying informed about updates in search engine algorithms is crucial for maintaining visibility and relevance in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Google’s recent announcement of the March 2024 core update and new spam policies holds significant implications for content creators.

March 2024 Core Update

Google’s March 2024 core update aims to enhance the quality of search results by prioritizing content that genuinely serves users’ needs. Unlike previous updates, this one employs a multifaceted approach, incorporating various signals and innovative techniques to evaluate the helpfulness of content. The core update started rolling out on March 5, 2024, and will take roughly 30 days.

Visit the Google Status Update Dashboard to determine when the updates start and end.

Tip: Use the SEMrush Volatility Sensor to determine how volatile search engine rankings have been within the last 30 days. This tool also gives you information specific to the travel niche, and it’s free!

March 2024 Core Update Observations

“I would let the update complete before deciding if there are any fundamental changes you might want to make.”

Google Search Liason Danny Sullivan via Twitter

The impact of Google’s March 2024 Core Update is increasingly visible as it progresses. The update mainly targets low-quality content and spam. Many website owners, including travel bloggers, have seen manual actions appear in Google Search Console, followed by the complete deindexation of their site from Google Search.

Ian Nuttall of Niche Site Metrics has been monitoring the indexing status of 49,345 websites since the update’s launch. His findings are telling: Of these sites, 837 have been completely removed from Google’s search index, accounting for roughly 1.7% of the total monitored. These deindexed sites span various categories and ad networks, underscoring the broad reach of Google’s crackdown.

This sweeping action seems to mainly target AI-generated content. A study by Originality.ai examining deindexed sites found pervasive signs of AI-generated content, with half of these sites having 90-100% of their content created by AI. This aligns with Google’s intent to combat AI-driven spam and uphold content quality.

Key Points to Consider

  1. Diverse Ranking Signals: Google now utilizes multiple systems to identify reliable information, ensuring a more comprehensive evaluation of content quality.
  2. Complex Rollout: The update rollout may span up to a month, leading to fluctuations in rankings as different systems are updated and integrated.
  3. Focus on User Satisfaction: Travel bloggers needn’t make significant changes if their content prioritizes user satisfaction. However, ensuring that content is genuinely valuable to readers is essential.

Travel bloggers should continue creating high-quality, informative content that resonates with their audience. Emphasizing user experience, addressing common traveler questions, and providing genuine insights will likely align well with Google’s updated algorithms.

New Spam Policies

In addition to the core update, Google introduced three new spam policies targeting practices detrimental to search result quality: expired domain abuse, scaled content abuse, and site reputation abuse. Understanding these policies is crucial to maintaining compliance and visibility in search results.

Spam Policies Explained

  • Expired Domain Abuse: Purchasing expired domains to manipulate search rankings with low-value content is considered abusive. Travel bloggers should prioritize originality and value in their content rather than relying on past domain reputations.
  • Scaled Content Abuse: Generating numerous pages solely to manipulate search rankings is discouraged. Travel bloggers should focus on quality over quantity, ensuring each piece of content provides genuine value to readers.
  • Site Reputation Abuse: Effective May 5, 2024, hosting third-party pages with minimal oversight to exploit the host site’s ranking signals is prohibited. While sponsored content is permissible, it must offer value to users and maintain transparency.

Core Update Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is AI-generated content considered spam? Google’s focus is on content quality rather than its generation method. As long as AI-generated content adds genuine value and serves user needs, it’s not considered spam.
  • What’s the difference between “automatically-generated content” and “scaled abuse”? While the previous policy targeted automated content, the updated policy addresses any method used to produce low-value content at scale, including both automated and manual processes.
  • Are coupon areas produced with third parties considered spam? It depends on the content’s quality and intent. If the coupon area offers genuine value to users and aligns with the blog’s overall purpose, it’s unlikely to be considered spam.

Google’s March 2024 Core Update

Google’s March 2024 update and new spam policies underscore the importance of prioritizing user satisfaction and content quality in travel blogging; otherwise, you may face manual actions. By adhering to best practices, providing valuable insights, and staying informed about algorithm updates, travel bloggers can maintain visibility and credibility in search results, ultimately enhancing their online presence and audience engagement.

Photo Credit: [@dolphfynlow/DEpositPhotos]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandrea Sumuel

Alexandrea Sumuel is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. With 16 years of digital marketing and SEO experience, a business management and information technology degree, and a profitable travel blog, she can help you start a travel blog or accelerate your existing blog with one-on-one coaching.