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Adapting to Google's March Algorithm Updates: Navigating the SEO Landscape in 2024

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There are so many people reaching out to me via UpWork looking for a technical SEO expert and it seems like the last two Google Organic Search algorithm updates have scorched earth so many people. I have a speculative diagnosis that I have been heralding for over a decade.
Adapting to Google's March Algorithm Updates: Navigating the SEO Landscape in 2024

Google Organic SEO

Google has been warning everyone in the SEO, E-Commerce, and Internet world that they really need to adapt towards better behavior and that the incessant pleas of "but I didn't know" and "I am just a beginner, you can't hold me responsible for my mistakes," and "if you make me comply with these protocols and best practices, it'll cost me too much and it'll result in a class war between the haves and have-nots, the people who can hire Chris Abraham and the rest of us who just do the best we can." 

No More Fucks to Give

This most assuredly worked like a charm in the past but, I believe, Google doesn't have any fucks left: if you've paid for dodgy and cheap backlinks that have turned out to not be proper citations with their associated, value added, bona fides; but, rather, you invested all of your "off page" budget into Search Fentanyl, resulting in your site dying from all those short-term benefits that have turned into becoming not only thousands of toxic backlinks but also got you into Google's sandbox, at best; and, at worst, got you in Google jail or, either shadowbanned or legit de-indexed. 


I also have had a million requests over the last 5 years requesting help with 404s and 301s and catastrophic site architectural changes without doing anything about it. I deal with issues associated with extremely lazy, poor, or missing SEO Titles, SEO Descriptions, and Image ALT tags. I have a hard time even making people care about them. I hadn't even thought about it until I realized how ubiquitous it is. Some of the best titles and descriptions are the terrible default PAGE TITLE/POST TITLE | SITE NAME SEO Titles and, usually, some page-scraping for descriptions. 

Keywords are no panacea

I often see keyword stuffing, I see people literally writing "near me" when they write for their Brick and Mortar storefront or restaurant. You can smell the sneakiness, you can smell the gray and black hat decisions from the minds of people who believe they can, in the long term, outsmart Google. Maybe in the short term, all of these sneaky petty larceny attempts at stealing SEO and Google Juice worked; then, last Fall or last Month, the chickens came home to roost. 

My site took a big DA hit

Even my site,, crashed from a MOZ Page Authority of 51 down to a quick crash to 48. I dug into my SEMRush to check on the toxicity of my backlinks and, just months after clearing out all the incoming, off-page, links off-page, backlinks that, after scrutinizing them, are historical links that go back to the links I received back in the 2000s. And, while I am feeling nostalgic about those, now toxic, links, I really need to take the hint and disavow them as well. Many of these nostalgic backlinks are from zombie Blogspot Blogger blogs and old blogs that still live but have become preserved in amber. I am sure it all would be fine, but I think he big issue now is that I think that maybe Google is starting to really toxify backlinks that haven't and didn't transition to being secure sites. So many of the toxic backlinks that have popped up in the last month--and I have thusly disavowed--are all from HTTP pages that don't have active HTTPS security certificates. That's also something to look at. 

The Google Ides of March

According to an article I read about the recent March Google algorithm update, it's an apocalypse for websites that have not been willing to keep on top of security protocols and best practices. HTTP/1, HTTP/2, HTTP/3, SSL/TLS encryption mode is Full (strict), fully-secure across the entire site, enforcing always use HTTPS across the entire network and forcing automatic HTTPS rewrites. Sites that still have mixed URLs and mixed domains, sites that have been unable to choose one Canonical address, where all HTTP:// and all WWW. and all versions and variations of the URLs are boiled down to one certificate, one chain of custody, and one site, not the four separate sites that make up a properly set-up Google Search Console:,,, and In my case, my Canonical URL format,my default URL, is Everything else is redirected and rewritten to make sure and certain that Google clearly understands that OG page, the OG content, the OG URLs--which are originals and which are dupes. This really matters to Google. 

There is only one canonical URL

Until recently, I didn't think very much about this. But it is important. For example, there's a 5th member of the Google Search Console family: the Domain URL. This is the meta Domain, representing the four versions on the URL into one. In the past, I had included four versions of all the sitemap.xmls in the Domain GSC Sitemaps. There really should only be one and the one (or versions such as Page, Posts, etc) should be limited to the version that represents the Canonical Prime domain that you've, globally and universally, committed to. And none of this has to actually do with on-page continuity, best practices, accessibility, or even performance. 

Ts to cross and Is to dot

There are so many Ts to cross and Is to dot that it really helps to hire someone who an front load the exhaustive but important punch list of tasks one needs to pursue in order to really pander and comply gladly with what Google has been demanding since 1998 but, because of endless compassion and mercy, has sort of not really policed. But, in the precious two Google Search Algo updates, Google is putting its foot down and you'll really need to find the humility and resources to comply or perish. I feel like all y'all only care about two things: sneaky keyword hustling and sneaky backlinks hustling. Who taught you that? Who hurt you?

SEO & Google Updates: FAQ

1. What are Google's latest algorithm updates about?

  • Google's recent updates focus on penalizing poor SEO practices like the use of low-quality backlinks and non-compliance with web security standards.

2. Why is Google penalizing websites with cheap backlinks?

  • Google aims to ensure high-quality, credible content ranks higher, and cheap backlinks often do not comply with these quality standards.

3. What does it mean to be shadowbanned by Google?

  • Being shadowbanned refers to Google reducing a site's visibility without formal notification, often due to manipulative SEO tactics.

4. How do 404 and 301 errors affect my website?

  • 404 errors can harm user experience and SEO, while 301 redirects help maintain SEO value by directing traffic from old to new URLs efficiently.

5. What are SEO Titles and Descriptions?

  • These are HTML elements that provide concise previews about the content of a web page, crucial for search rankings and user engagement.

6. What is keyword stuffing, and why is it bad?

  • Keyword stuffing involves overusing keywords in content to manipulate rankings, which can lead to penalties as it deteriorates content quality.

7. What is a canonical URL, and why is it important?

  • A canonical URL is the preferred URL for a page, important for preventing duplicate content issues across multiple URLs.

8. What does HTTPS mean, and why is it important for SEO?

  • HTTPS indicates a secure connection. Google prioritizes secure sites in search results, enhancing both security and SEO.

9. What is Google's Sandbox?

  • The Google Sandbox is a hypothetical filter that prevents new websites from ranking well until they establish credibility.

10. How do I check the toxicity of my backlinks? - Tools like SEMRush or Google's Search Console can analyze the quality of backlinks and identify potentially harmful ones.

11. What does it mean to disavow links? - Disavowing links is a way to tell Google to ignore certain backlinks that may be harmful to your site's ranking.

12. Why is having a single, secure site important for SEO? - A unified and secure site prevents user confusion and improves security, both of which are favorable for SEO.

13. How can mixed URLs affect my site's SEO performance? - Mixed URLs can create duplicate content issues and security warnings, negatively impacting SEO.

14. What is the role of the Google Search Console in SEO? - Google Search Console helps webmasters monitor and optimize their site's visibility in Google search results.

15. How does page authority affect my site? - Higher page authority indicates greater credibility and potential for higher search rankings.

16. What are zombie blogs, and why are they problematic for SEO? - Zombie blogs are inactive or outdated blogs that can still affect your site's SEO negatively if linked to your site.

17. What are the best practices for SEO in 2024? - Focus on creating high-quality content, ensuring website security, and using ethical SEO tactics like proper keyword usage and authoritative backlinking.

18. How can I avoid getting penalized in Google's algorithm updates? - Adhere to Google's webmaster guidelines, focusing on quality content and secure, user-friendly site architecture.

19. What is the significance of SSL/TLS for my website? - SSL/TLS encryption enhances site security, protecting user data and improving SEO rankings.

20. How do I manage multiple versions of my website in Google Search Console? - Consolidate them under a single canonical version to avoid duplicate content issues and streamline SEO efforts.

21. What is the impact of not having an active HTTPS security certificate? - Sites without HTTPS may be perceived as less secure, negatively impacting user trust and SEO rankings.

22. What does "front load the exhaustive but important punch list" mean in SEO terms? - It refers to addressing all critical SEO tasks early in your site development or optimization process to prevent issues later on.

23. How do recent Google updates affect e-commerce sites specifically? - E-commerce sites must ensure secure transactions, high-quality content, and optimal user experience to comply with Google's standards.

24. What should I do if my site experiences a sudden drop in SEO ranking? - Investigate potential issues like penalties, lost backlinks, or changes in Google's algorithm, and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.

25. How do I effectively use the Domain URL in Google Search Console? - Use the Domain URL to represent your primary, canonical site version, ensuring all site data is aligned under this URL.

26. Why is it important to have a meta domain in SEO? - A meta domain consolidates various URL versions, helping Google understand and index your site content more effectively.

27. How do changes in Google's SEO policies impact small business owners? - Small businesses must adapt to these changes to maintain or improve their online visibility and competitiveness.

28. What are the long-term effects of using black hat SEO techniques? - Black hat SEO can lead to severe penalties, including loss of ranking and credibility, and potential de-indexing from search results.

29. How can I educate my team on SEO best practices? - Provide regular training sessions, updates on SEO trends, and resources like guidelines from reputable SEO sources.

30. What is the best way to handle SEO for new websites? - Focus on establishing a strong, ethical SEO foundation with secure, quality content and building reputable backlinks.

Glossary of SEO and Google Update Terms

1. Algorithm Update: A change or modification Google makes to its search algorithm, which can affect how websites are ranked in search results.

2. Backlinks: Links from other websites to your site, which can influence your site's authority and ranking in search engines.

3. Canonical URL: The preferred version of a set of pages with highly similar content. It helps prevent issues related to duplicate content in search results.

4. Disavow: A tool used in Google Search Console allowing webmasters to tell Google to ignore certain backlinks that may be harmful to their site’s ranking.

5. E-Commerce: Online commercial transactions. Websites that sell products or services online.

6. Google Jail: Informal term for when a website is penalized by Google, often resulting in lower rankings or removal from search results.

7. HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user's computer and the site.

8. Keyword Stuffing: The practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results.

9. Mixed URLs: Occurs when a website can be accessed by different URLs (e.g., with and without "www," or HTTP vs. HTTPS), potentially causing duplicate content issues.

10. MOZ Page Authority: A score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engines.

11. Organic Search: The results of a search that are not paid ads. These listings are ranked according to their relevance to the search terms.

12. Page Title: The title of a webpage, which is displayed on the search engine results pages as the clickable headline for a given result.

13. Redirect (301): A permanent redirect from one URL to another, typically used to send visitors to a new URL address.

14. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

15. Shadowbanned: When a user or their content is blocked or partially blocked from an online community in such a way that it is not readily apparent to the user.

16. SSL/TLS: Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security are cryptographic protocols designed to provide communications security over a computer network.

17. Toxic Backlinks: Links that come from low-quality or suspicious websites, which can negatively impact the SEO of the website they link to.

18. 404 Error: An HTTP status code meaning that the page you were trying to reach on a website couldn't be found on their server.

19. 301 Redirect: A method of redirecting a webpage to a new location permanently, helpful for SEO by transferring inbound links to the new URL.

20. Google Sandbox: An alleged filter used by Google to prevent new websites from ranking in the top results of their first few months.

21. Search Fentanyl: A term used metaphorically to describe SEO tactics that provide a short-term boost in rankings but are harmful in the long term.

22. SEMRush: A software as a service (SaaS) company that sells online visibility and marketing analytics software subscriptions.

23. Domain URL: The URL that represents the entire domain rather than individual pages or versions, important for unified site representation in SEO.

24. HTTP/1, HTTP/2, HTTP/3: Versions of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, with HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 providing faster, more secure connections than HTTP/1.

25. Google Search Console: A web service by Google which allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites.

26. Page Scraping: The process of extracting data from websites. This term can be used negatively when referring to stealing content from other sites.

27. DA (Domain Authority): A search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages.

28. Black Hat SEO: Unethical SEO practices that violate search engine guidelines, aimed at manipulating search engine rankings.

29. Image ALT Tags: HTML attribute used to specify alternative text to be displayed when an image element cannot be displayed.

30. Google Ides of March: Informal term for a significant and often disruptive Google algorithm update occurring in March.

Image by Firmbee from Pixabay