Google’s Latest AI Update – What It Means for Your SEO

by | May 7, 2024 | Google, Local SEO, Marketing, SEO

Google AI Penalty Explained

In March 2024, Google rolled out a massive core update that shifted the way its search algorithm works.
The bulk of the changes were aimed at deindexing sites that Google perceives to be entirely AI-generated or containing spam content.
Unfortunately, the update had unintended effects. We’ve seen legitimate sites deindexed while some AI sites flew under the radar.
So, how can you prove to Google your site was created by a real human? Keep content objectively helpful and use prudence when committing to emerging technologies that have not been well tested.

Let’s break it down:

An overview of the Google March 2024 core algorithm update

Key Takeaways:

  • The Big Picture: The goal of the March 2024 update is to reduce the amount of low-quality search results that might clutter your search. It aims to improve results about what you’re looking for and to elevate the most relevant, specific results
  • Scaled content:  The policy addresses low-quality, rank-manipulating, automated content being generated at scale. What exactly is “scaled content”? Imagine an article written about Chicago, but the information is so generic it becomes applicable to ANY city. If a website generates and posts the same article for every city in the US, replacing only the city name, it’s creating low-quality scaled content.
  • Site reputation abuse: There is plenty of discourse about the complicated search result factor of Domain Authority. While it has been proven to directly correlate with rankings, Domain Authority is widely known to not be a ranking factor in and of itself. Sites that have a high domain authority score tend to lend more rank power to sites they link out to. Because of this, many sites are created solely to obtain a high authority ranking. Unscrupulous websites sell backlinks to third parties looking to increase their own website’s ranking. The March update aims to reduce the power of site reputation abuse.
  • Expired domain abuse: The last big crackdown is aimed at another easy and unprincipled method to increase search rank quickly: purchasing expired domain names. Shady users purchase domains that already have a high Domain Authority score. Often, these domain names previously belonged to a legitimate website or company. The new purchaser fraudulently recreates the former website and effectively has their own distribution network for high-powered links, enabling them to increase the rank on their websites or sell backlinks to others.

What this means for you, your business, and your SEO

The changing algorithm has a balance of positive and negative shifts for SEO at large.

Backlink Vendors

The practice of purchasing backlinks has been a universally accepted step in SEO; corporate brands and well-known service providers publicly announce their partnerships with aggregators like Yext. While backlinks are still a valid and legitimate strategy for increasing rank, users must be cautious about the quality of backlink vendors.

Before making a purchase, do your due diligence. From my perspective, I can see this as a shift towards a more wholesome means of obtaining legitimate backlinks. I for one am in favor of leaving behind the bad practice of purchasing low-quality, spammy backlinks en masse as an algorithm cheat code.

Expired Domains

As for expired domains, this SEO professional has always seen this strategy as deceitful. At the end of the day, SEO should be done to positively benefit the website and the company that owns it, and the practice of purchasing expired domains to create a backlink economy has always seemed like a risky strategy.

Most businesses and site owners have no reason to fear Google’s increased focus on expired domain abuse. SEO aims to organically improve a website’s performance for the benefit of its owner and search engine users. Acquiring expired domains and generating artificial backlinks is dishonest at best, meaning you won’t see this strategy in an honest SEO manager’s playbook.

AI Content

The jury is still out on whether AI content is helpful or harmful to a site’s reputation. The fact remains that people utilize search engines to find meaningful, helpful content as quickly as possible. In the SEO space, we’re finding not all AI content was decimated. Quite the opposite: with plenty of competition removed, the more fortunate pieces of AI-generated content have been thriving in a less crowded search place.

What separates one AI-generated article from another? The content that survived Google’s purge was carefully researched, planned, reviewed, edited, and published by real humans with practical knowledge.

Closing thoughts

Google’s March 2024 core algorithm update marks a significant shift in its approach to combating low-quality search results and manipulative SEO tactics. While the update aims to improve search relevance and combat spam, it has inadvertently affected legitimate sites and highlighted the importance of human-created, high-quality content. Moving forward, businesses and site owners should exercise caution when engaging with backlink vendors, avoiding spammy practices and focusing on organic growth.

The unethical practice of purchasing expired domains for artificial backlinks should be eschewed entirely in favor of genuine, ethical SEO strategies. Furthermore, while the role of AI-generated content remains a topic of debate, the survival of such content post-update underscores the importance of human curation and expertise in producing meaningful and valuable content for users. As SEO continues to evolve, prioritizing quality and authenticity will remain paramount for long-term success in online visibility and search rankings.

The changes can be daunting for business owners unfamiliar with search engine optimization, but you don’t have to do it on your own! Learn more about emerging trends in website design and how and when to use AI on your website. Reach out to Comit Developers and schedule an SEO consultation to discuss how we can tailor a customized strategy to meet your business goals. Whether you’re looking to improve search rankings, optimize your website for better performance, or enhance your online visibility, our team is here to help. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to stay ahead of the competition – take the first step towards SEO success now!

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Garrett Stelly

Garrett brings years of experience in search engine optimization (SEO) to the web development team. His attention to detail ensures that website updates are made with the user experience in mind. Garrett is passionate about writing articles that pertain to website best practices, web accessibility, and various SEO topics such as technical SEO, website speed optimization, local SEO, and search ranking factors.

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