Google’s Google Core & Spam Update March 2024 from an Engineering Perspective

Hey, My name is Marc Moeller, I am the SEO director & Founder of my SEO agency called Ecomexperts, located in Perth, Western Australia. Ecomexperts provides SEO services for international e-commerce brands, as well as local businesses in Australia.

I, Marc Moeller, also run a successful Youtube SEO channel, where I teach search engine optimisation. The handle of my channel is @moellerseo.

Part 1 – What happened during the March 2024 Google Algo Update?

Google Core Update March 2024:

  • The update is more complex, aiming to reduce unhelpful and non-original content by 40%.
  • Helpful content system now part of the core update, no more HCU announcements.
  • Rankings may fluctuate more due to changes in multiple core systems.

Google Spam Update March 2024:

  • SEO Influencers Hit: All sites in the same GSC account.
  • Introduction of new spam policies to counter manipulative content practices including AI and expired domain abuses.
  • Focus on combating scaled content abuse and low-quality, duplicate content.
  • PBNs/GP Farms: Actions against misuse of expired domains to prevent leveraging past credibility for subpar content.
  • Parasite SEO: Stricter scrutiny on-site reputation abuse to prevent publishing third-party content for ranking manipulation.

Parasite SEO Warning March 2024:

  • Google issued a two-month warning for sites hosting low-quality parasite posts. Unfair because small sites got handed the ban hammer today, and big sites got a warning with 2 months’ time – it would be nice if small sites got that too.
  • The warning targets “Parasite SEO,” where content is posted on high-authority sites to boost rankings.
  • The term “Parasite SEO” is recognized by the SEO community, not internally by Google.

Fairness of Google’s Warning Approach:

  • Provides an opportunity for websites to correct their practices in line with Google’s guidelines.
  • Serves an educational purpose, highlighting the value of quality content over manipulative SEO.
  • Allows for gradual enforcement, giving webmasters time to adapt without immediate harsh penalties.

Part 2 – The Engineering Details

Initial Observation:

  • Websites with weak brand entities were targeted, and those lacking business justification for content creation were at risk.
  • Proof: Eric Schmidt, ex-CEO of Google (2001-2011), articulated the importance of brands online, stating, “Brands are the solution, not the problem…brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”
  • Reasoning: Google’s intent is to prioritize reputable content sources and diminish the visibility of spammy or low-value content.
  • Background: Google’s historical updates have consistently aimed to refine search results to reward strong brands and penalize manipulative web entities.

How you get on Google’s radar (for content spam):

  • Sites focused on trying to rank for low-difficulty queries.
  • High publishing frequency (i.e., news sites, celebrity sites, query pattern abuse sites i.e., how many calories in XYZ).

Application of Filters (for content AI articles spam):

Using the below filters, Google’s algo decides if the website meets the criteria for algorithmic (algo) or manual action penalty:

  • Brand age.
  • Design (total human effort).
  • The identity of the people behind the brand.
  • The brand’s purpose.
  • Poor user satisfaction signals.
  • Brand strength (i.e., how many people search your brand).
  • Truth ranges.
  • Authoritativeness (based on backlinks).
  • Expertise (based on content depth).
  • Proof: The emphasis on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines reflects these filters.
  • Reasoning: These criteria help Google assess the validity and value of a brand or website.
  • Background: Google’s algorithm increasingly relies on trust signals to filter out deceptive or low-quality content.

Application of Filters

Google filters websites to see if the website deserves a penalty. These apply to both link farm spam & content spam:

  • Articles not targeting queries.
  • Outbound links (OBL) to low-authority sites.
  • OBL to spam niches (casino, CBD, etc.).
  • Content diversity, not sticking to one topic.
  • Low-quality content (not getting impressions/clicks).
  • No custom images.
  • No human effort gone into articles.
  • No schema.
  • No relationship of topic posted back to brand.


  • Sites not exhibiting authentic brand characteristics that satisfy users are at risk of being de-indexed.
  • Proof: The observed pattern of de-indexing aligns with Google’s historical preference for established brands in search results.
  • Reasoning: Google’s mission is to connect users with trustworthy content from credible sources.
  • Background: An increase in inauthentic and low-quality web content necessitates stricter filtering measures by search engines.

AI vs Human Written Articles – What did the update target?

  • The March 2024 core update affected both AI-generated and human-written content.
  • Proof: Reports from webmasters and SEO professionals post-update indicate impacts across different types of content.
  • Reasoning: Google seeks to assess content quality irrespective of its origin.
  • Background: The advent of AI in content creation has prompted Google to adapt its approach to content valuation.

Manual Penalties Review Process & Relationship to Algorithm:

  • Sites flagged by Google’s algorithm are reviewed by humans before manual penalties are applied.
  • Proof: Google’s documentation and guidelines, as well as statements from Google spokespeople, describe the manual review process.
  • **Reason## Google’s Core & Spam Update March 2024 from an Engineering Perspective

Part 3: Actionable Tips to Surive the next update

Brand Attributes Checklist:

  • Consistent Branding: Ensure your brand has a professional logo and consistent design across all platforms.
  • User Engagement: Encourage user interaction with your brand both on and off your website.
  • Search Demand: Cultivate brand awareness that leads to users actively searching for your brand name.
  • Website Metrics: Aim for high dwell time and successful last actions (e.g., sign-ups, purchases) on your site. End search on your site.

Publish Press Releases:

  • Craft and distribute press releases to high-authority news sites like Yahoo, MSN, Bloomberg.
  • Include backlinks to your website, YouTube channel, Twitter profile, and Crunchbase page to enhance your brand’s visibility and authority.

Setup Branded Social and Company Profiles, Maintain Them:

  • Real brands have socials, simple.

Use HARO for Backlinks:

  • Sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to provide expert insights to journalists.
  • Gain high-quality backlinks from reputable news sources when cited.

Perform Competitor Backlink Analysis:

  • Analyze your competitors’ backlink profiles to identify linking opportunities.
  • Reach out to those sites to secure backlinks for your own site.
  • Reason: Backlink EAT part is still active. But forget about crap links.

Host Webinars or Online Workshops or Events, Sponsorship:

  • Organize webinars or workshops with industry experts.
  • Use the event promotion to generate backlinks and social shares.

Final Tip:

  • Google renders web pages during indexing.
  • They generate a screenshot of your website using chrome browsers.
  • This screenshot is fed into an LLM (similar to GPT) to give your site a design score.
  • This score goes from 0 for no design or human effort put in at all to 10 for a sophisticated design that relates to the main brand and topic, which currently can only be achieved with human effort.

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