Google Speaks, We Listen! March 2024 Core Update Takeaways for B2B Content

Here's what your B2B content team needs to know about Google's March core update and spam update.

In the most ironic way possible, Google announced two  updates — the March core update and the March spam update — right as one of the biggest digital marketing and SEO conferences, Pubcon, was kicking off. It was a sight to behold, watching hundreds of SEO experts collectively look at their phones at 9:01 a.m. PT — trying to understand why Google would now mess with all of their hard work.

(Side note: huge shoutout to SEO expert/newsletter writer Marie Haynes, who said multiple times during her Master Class presentation at Pubcon on Monday that she could feel an update coming.)

In a surprise to no one, both updates combine to take on the influx of AI-generated content we’ve seen over the past 18 months, even if Google isn’t saying it directly. While the core update continues to focus on how search understands and ranks helpful content, the spam update is the first that seems to truly take aim at AI content. 

How Google’s March Updates Focus on AI Spam

One of the most newsworthy points made by Google is that it’s taking everything it has learned from helpful content updates over the last few years and applying them to the March 2024 updates. This development will likely result in more in-depth core updates that embrace helpful content rather than dedicated content updates. According to Google, this should reduce spam results by 40%, driving useful, in-depth content back to the top of search results.

Within the core and spam updates, Google addressed three main areas: expired domain abuse, site reputation abuse, and scaled content abuse. The first two are highly important to day-to-day consumer search and ensuring users engage with accurate, authoritative, and relevant content. But they aren’t as important for B2B organizations, who aren’t typically the culprits of purchasing domains and spamming content to game the system for advertising revenue. 

The third point, scaled content abuse, is where B2B organizations must be highly aware. Why? Because publishing content at scale is hard, and publishing great, helpful content that ranks well is even harder. Startups, SMBs, and most other B2B companies push all resources directly to product-focused sections of the business to try to keep their heads above water or satisfy requirements from investors. By the time they shift their focus to marketing and content development, they realize how far behind competitors they are and often struggle to publish content at a reasonable pace.

This is where the allure of using AI tools to quickly scale content creation comes into play.

What Does the March 2024 Update Mean for You?

In theory, using AI tools like ChatGPT, Gemini, Claude, Jasper, or others can help B2Bs make up ground against the competition without the need to invest heavily in a content team or agency. Unfortunately, in practice, it creates shallow, unhelpful content that doesn’t meet the majority of Google’s E-E-A-T standards. 

While overall site search rankings might see an initial increase due to sheer brute force, we’ve historically seen a significant drop-off in rankings after a few months. Rankings typically drop once readers click on the URLs and find content that isn’t relevant, is poorly written, or doesn’t satisfy what they are looking for.

The goal, in one way or another, is to manipulate the search rankings with shallow, quick content to gain a competitive advantage. While the March 2024 spam update isn’t a drastic movement from Google’s old spam policies, the update, according to Google’s blog, has been expanded to ensure “that [Google] can take action on scaled content abuse as needed, no matter whether the content is produced through automation, human efforts, or some combination of human and automated processes.” 

Historically, spam updates have been broad and sweeping to hit lower-quality content. While Google has danced around the AI-created and assisted content over the past year, this is the first time it has been directly targeting automation and automated processes.

It seems that 2024 will be the year that Google takes a firm stance on AI-generated and assisted content. The March 2024 spam and core updates are just the first step toward a year of big search changes.

b2b content
SEO optimization
Google March 2024 core update

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