By Kaitie Frank
11 Apr 2024

When to Fix Your Site During an Update, According to Google


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The March 2024 core update is still ongoing, making SEOs grapple with the question of when is the right time to address issues with their sites. 

A user on Reddit recently raised a pertinent question: Has the March core update concluded, and when would it be appropriate to start tackling issues that have emerged from this update? 

People advised me against making drastic changes to my blogs while the core update was ongoing. Unfortunately, I've experienced a significant loss, about 60% of my traffic, and now I'm determined to restore these numbers.

Do you have any tips for me? It appears that my pages, including (purchased) backlinks, have been most adversely affected!

Google Search Advocate John Mueller responded:

No, it's not complete. It'll be labeled complete when it's finished rolling out.

Mueller is talking about the Google Search Status Dashboard, where you can find out the status of an update and how long it took to complete. As of now, the core update is still running, while the March 2024 spam updates were completed around March 20 — just 14 days after they were released. 

It’s important to note that fluctuations during an algorithm update are normal. Google’s documentation pointed out that this particular core update is “more complex than the usual core updates… the rollout may take up to a month.” It also notes that:

There's nothing new or special that creators need to do for this update as long as they've been making satisfying content meant for people. For those that might not be ranking as well, we strongly encourage reading our creating helpful, reliable, people-first content help page. 

However, in Mueller’s answer on Reddit, he poses some advice for this specific instance:

Regardless, if you have noticed things that are worth improving on your site, I'd go ahead and get things done. The idea is not to make changes just for search engines, right? Your users will be happy if you can make things better even if search engines haven't updated their view of your site yet.

Mueller urges people to address issues where they see fit, ensuring that these solutions are geared more towards bettering the user experience of a site instead of making changes for search engines. His answer infers that if people start to have a better user experience on your site, Google will catch up and rank accordingly. 

He also advises:

Also, while I don't know your site, one thing you can do regardless of anything is to work out how you can grow alternate sources of traffic, so that when search engines revamp their opinion of your site, you'll have less strong fluctuations (make things more independent of search engines). And, once you go down this path, you'll probably also notice that you focus more on building out value for users (because you want them to come & visit & recommend on their own) - which is ultimately what search engines want too.

Optimizing for users aligns with how Google ranks websites. By creating content and building value with your audience, you encourage them to return to your site for more resources. Google uses this as a signal that your site is worthy of ranking in the SERPs. 

What can you do while you wait for the Core update to complete?

  1. Audit your content for helpfulness. Avoid thin content built solely to rank and focus on creating truly valuable resources
  2. Make sure your inbound links are relevant to your site. Irrelevant links or links from low-quality sites can raise a red flag for search engines. 
  3. Update your site’s user experience. Implement any solution that will help users navigate your site better. 

Just make sure that the solutions you implement are for users, not search engines. Remember that fluctuations during an update are normal; drastic changes may result in more loss than gain.

Kaitie Frank

Kaitie is a copywriter and content writer for Page One Power who specializes in SEO-optimized content. She has written for various niches and prides herself in knowing random tidbits of information. In addition to putting words to paper, she indulges in physical fitness and telling her cat why he is, in fact, a good boy.