Google’s Core Update Completely Deindexes Sites

Google Deindexing March 2024 Update

Understanding the Core Update and Website Deindexing

In March 2024, Google unleashed one of its most significant algorithm updates to date—the March 2024 Core Update, which resulted in massive deindexing (removing pages or entire websites from the search engine). This seismic shift left business owners, marketers, and SEO experts reeling as they grapple with its impact on search rankings, traffic, and visibility. 

The Core Update’s Purpose 

Google’s core updates aim to refine ranking systems, ensuring that users receive the most relevant and helpful content when they search. This time, the focus was on reducing unhelpful, unoriginal, and spammy content. The goal? To elevate the user experience and provide more valuable results on the SERPs

The Fallout: Deindexed Websites and Traffic Loss 

As the rollout progressed, the impact became apparent. Over 800 websites were completely deindexed from Google’s search results in the early stages of the update. These sites spanned various categories and ad networks, highlighting the broad scope of Google’s actions.  

For some, the sudden loss of organic search traffic—over 20.7 million monthly visits—was devastating. Display advertising revenue across the affected sites plummeted by an estimated $446,552 per month. 

What Does Google Owes Us? 

Writing for Search Engine Journal, Danny Goodwin stirred the pot, asserting that Google owes website owners nothing—neither traffic nor rankings. While this perspective isn’t new, it’s essential to dissect it further.  

Yes, Google is a private entity, not a public utility. However, as the dominant search engine, it wields immense power over online visibility. When Google’s algorithm changes significantly impact businesses, it’s natural for frustration to arise. Deindexing is particularly brutal: not showing up on Google is akin to an online death sentence.

A Closer Look at the Impact of Deindexing

Goodwin’s argument raises valid points. If your business relies heavily on Google organic traffic, diversifying your traffic sources is prudent. But here’s the catch: Google’s core updates can disproportionately affect smaller players. Large brands and publishers often gain visibility at the expense of everyone else.  

Is this a rent-seeking update? Some believe so. The sentiment echoes a local search trend where organic traffic dwindles, nudging businesses toward paid ads for visibility. 

Google’s Influence and Responsibility 

The deindexing of smaller sites, particularly ones not running ads on Google, is part of a larger problem. A business will always prioritize profit, and search engines like Google are businesses, not public goods. 

However, businesses like Google must balance the financial benefits of reducing usability of their products. When financial choices result in poor search quality, users will go elsewhere. With Google’s addition of generative AI in SERP listings and its subsequent blowback, this has become a more pressing problem. 

Additionally, Google’s recent investment in Reddit—coupled with algorithm updates that favor larger platforms—raises eyebrows. Is it legal? That’s a question for legal experts. But as SEO professionals, we must advocate for transparency, fairness, and a level playing field. 

Striking a Balance 

Adaptability is key, and Google’s core updates will continue to shape the digital ecosystem. As website owners, let’s diversify our traffic sources, create valuable content, and hold search engines accountable. After all, while Google owes us nothing, it thrives when users find what they seek. 

Stay tuned for more insights as we navigate this dynamic landscape together, and in the meantime, focus on proven strategies for gaining search engine credibility. Schema markup is a great place to start! 

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