SEOIntel Weekly News Round-up (3rd week of March, 2024)

Two weeks in since the March 2024 updates have been released and the spam update has finally been completed. That and a lot more notable SEO news this week.
Marie Aquino
March 22, 2024

Two weeks in since the March 2024 Core update and Spam update have been released and this week, the spam update has finally been completed. We still have two more weeks of waiting for the core update to finish roll-out. We’ve heard a lot of sites have been negatively affected by these updates. According to Danny Sullivan, best to wait for the updates to complete before making any changes. Read more of it and other notable SEO news this week in our weekly news roundup below:

Google’s March 2024 Spam Update, Completed!

The March 2024 Spam update, which rolled out last March 5 is now complete. It took nearly 15 days to complete, with it finally completing roll out on the 20th. On the other hand, the March 2024 Core update, which was released the same time as the spam update, is still ongoing and is expected to roll out in the next couple of weeks.

Sites Penalized With Spam Manual Action, Still Not Recovering

A few days after Google’s release of its new spam policies and roll out of the March 2024 Spam update, manual action penalties were issued to a ton of sites, with most being a pure spam penalty. The penalty resulted in lower rankings with some, being completely deindexed and not showing up in search. According to this SERoundtable article, most, if not all of those sites that were hit have not yet recovered. Glenn Gabe has been tracking 1000 websites that were hit and two weeks later, none have seen any kind of recovery.

It may take a while to see recovery for these sites. Two weeks is a bit too early and it might require a lot of changes and updates in the part of the site owners/developers to regain the trust of Google, especially since it’s a spam penalty.

Wait For The Update To Complete Before Making Changes

It’s been two weeks since the March 2024 Core update has rolled out and we have been faced with a lot of volatility in rank, which Google has said is expected as this core update is a lot more complex compared to a regular core update. Up and down movement can be expected as different systems get fully updated and reinforce each other. The volatility has a lot of site owners, SEOs, content creators, etc. at the edge of their seat and in a panic especially when they see drops. One particular site owner posted on X his experience with losing rank and not bouncing back, and has asked for advice.

Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, has responded and advised to let the core update complete before deciding if there are any fundamental changes to make on your site as there might not be any to do at all.

We still have another two weeks before the supposed completion of the rollout of this core update. We just have to wait and see, with crossed fingers, how everything fares once it’s all completed, before deciding on our next steps.

Liz Reid, New Head of Google Search

Liz Reid, who has been with Google for more than 20 years, is the new head of Search. She was one of the first engineers who built Google Local, which laid the foundation for the local information in Google Search and Maps today. For the past few years, Reid has been leading up core search experiences, working on both AI search and multisearch. This leads people to believe that it is further evidence that Google believes AI is the future of search.

Here is Reid’s post on Linkedin regarding her new role:

Aside from Reid heading the Google Search team, Pandu Nayak, Google’s longtime executive who has been overseeing search quality and rankings is now going to be the Chief Scientist of Search, while Cheenu Venkatachary, who has been working on AI products in Search will be replacing him. Cathy Edwards, who led Google Apps, Google News, and Google discover will be taking on Google’s long-term bets team. While Prabhakar Raghavan who leads up all of Google Search, not just the core search engine, but also Knowledge and Information, inclusive of various areas such as Ads, Assistant & Gemini, Geo, Commerce, etc. is still in charge, with Reid reporting to him.