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Time to fix hit sites before the March 2024 core update

Time to fix hit sites before the March 2024 core update


Google's John Mueller answered a question about whether the March core update is complete and whether it's OK to start fixing it in response to the update.

Core update questions on Reddit

The person who asked the question wanted to know if the core update was completed because their traffic dropped by 60% and they were waiting for the update to complete before fixing the issue in order to rank up again .

“People have advised us not to make any major changes to the blog while the core update is in progress. Unfortunately, we have experienced a significant loss of around 60% of traffic. We are now restoring these numbers. Do you have any tips? It seems that my pages with (purchased) backlinks are the most negatively affected.”

The advice Redditors received about waiting until the update is complete before fixing the issue is good advice…most of the time.

March 2024 Core Algorithm Update Not Finished Yet

Core algorithm updates are changes to the entire algorithm that is part of search. The ranking part of the algorithm is part of what makes up Google's core algorithm. Additionally, the ranking system itself is made up of multiple other components related to understanding search queries and web pages, depending on the context and meaning of the search query, relevance, quality, page experience, and many other factors. Different factors are weighted.

There are also spam related systems such as RankBrain. The core algorithm is made up of many things, and the March 2024 core update is particularly complex, which may explain why it's taking so long.

John Mueller first admitted that the March core update is not yet finished.

He explained:

“No, it's not finished yet. Once the rollout is complete, you'll see the label Completed.”

Should I wait until the update is finished?

Mueller then answers the part of the question about whether you should wait to fix your site until the update is finished.

he answered:

“Either way, if I notice something on the site that's worth improving, I'll go ahead and get it done. I'm not thinking about making changes just to search engines. Even if you haven't updated your view yet, users will be happy if you can improve the situation.”

John Mueller makes a valid point that it is always timely to correct shortcomings discovered after a website self-assessment.

I've been a search marketer for 25 years, much longer than John Mueller ever did, so from that perspective I know that rankings tend to fluctuate through algorithm updates. It is not uncommon for catastrophic ranking changes to be reversed by the time the update is complete. If you “fix” something before the update is complete, you risk changing something that isn't broken or needs to be fixed.

However, in this particular example, John Mueller's advice to go ahead and fix what's broken is completely correct. That's because paid links, an issue the Redditor mentioned, are very likely a factor in the negative change in rankings.

optimize for people

Mueller's next piece of advice is to focus on optimizing your website for users rather than search engines. Mueller's response emphasized encouraging optimization for “users,” meaning site visitors.

The rest of Mr. Mueller's response follows:

“Also, I don’t know your site, but one thing you can do no matter what: When the search engines update their opinion of your site, you can reduce your traffic. Thinking about ways to increase alternative traffic sources: High volatility (more independence from search engines).

And as you go down this path, you'll probably find yourself focusing more on building value for your users (because you want them to visit, visit, and recommend themselves) – That's ultimately what search engines want too. ”

Mueller's answer has a lot of merit, since optimizing for users is consistent with how Google ranks websites. This is his approach to SEO, which I call User Experience SEO. User Experience SEO predicts how content will impact user experience and satisfaction.

Using these principles, we were able to predict everything that would be included in Google's review updates years in advance. My clients who use the review website were not surprised by the updates. Because I anticipated everything in that update so they were ready when it happened.

Optimizing for people is more than a shallow slogan like “make your site great” or “content is king.” Optimizing for users is a viable strategy for creating and optimizing websites with strong ranking power.

A recent US government antitrust lawsuit against Google revealed that the Navboost signal, which tracks user interaction signals, is a powerful ranking factor. Google responds to user interaction signals. One of the best ways to create user interaction signals (as described in the Navboost patent) is to create a website that fosters positive responses.

Read the discussion on Reddit.

Is the March core update already finished?




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