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Google Mars Core HCU update 2024: what it means for SEO

google march core update

On March 8, 2024, Google launched a significant core update, called the Helful content update (HCU). This update aims to improve search results by prioritizing informative and useful content, and deprioritizing content of lower quality or aimed at manipulating rankings.

HCU and overall changes it had on SEO

Improved visibility for high-quality content
Pages with relevant, informative and well-written content will benefit from the update.

Reduced visibility of click-bait content
Pages with content aimed solely at attracting clicks, rather than providing value to the user, risk dropping in rankings.

Increased focus on user experience
Factors such as charging time, mobile-friendliness and ease of use are becoming increasingly important to achieve a top ranking.

Changes in ranking signals
Google's algorithm has been updated and now gives more weight to certain factors, such as expertise, authority and credibility of the content.

Some sites have been completely de-indexed because they built pages with spam or just AI generated content that didn't qualify for HCU. The biggest one I've seen, which is a site whose name I won't mention here, went from 10 million visitors per month to ZERO overnight.

ranking seo traffic to zero

Recommendations for SEO strategies

  • Focus on creating high-quality and useful content
    Prioritize the relevance, informativeness and unique value of the content for the user.
  • Ensure a good user experience
    Optimize website loading time, mobile-friendliness and navigation to improve user experience.
  • Build up your website's authority:
    Build backlinks from relevant and high-quality websites, and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
  • Stay up to date on Google's algorithm changes
    Follow relevant blogs and news sources to stay up-to-date on the latest changes to Google's algorithm.

HCU content and E-E-A-T

Helpful content prioritized by Google in search results. It is about content that is relevant, informative and useful to the user. Google assesses the helpfulness of content by analyzing a range of factors, including

  • Expertise: The author's expertise and authority on the subject.
  • Experience: What experience does the company or person who created the material have
  • Authority: Credibility and reputation of the website.
  • Credibility: Factual accuracy and objectivity of the content.

E-E-A-T stands for 'Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness'. It is a term used by Google to describe the characteristics of helpful content. It is therefore important to write for the reader and not for a search engine.

Updated SEO Spam policies

Google's spam policies have been updated to combat low quality content and manipulation of search results. The new policies focus on, among other things:

  • Automated generated content: Content that is automatically generated by AI without human review can be considered spam.
  • Hidden links and text: Links and text that are invisible to the user but visible to Google can be considered spam.
  • Keyword stuffing: Using an excessive number of keywords in your content can be considered spam.

By following Google's helpful content guidelines and spam policies, you can create a website that ranks well in search results and provides a good user experience.

Key tools for SEO analysis


  • Google Search Console
    Use this tool to identify any problems with your website and track your website's performance in search results.
  • Google Analytics
    Analyze your website traffic to understand how users interact with your content and identify areas for improvement.
  • SEO tools
    Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to analyze your website's ranking, backlinks and other SEO-relevant data.

About the author

Daniel Fogmark has for more than 20 years been active in the field of digital marketing with specialization in search engine optimization SEO. He has also started 3 companies, two of which were successfully sold. He is currently co-founder of Seode.ai, Outstock Digital Agency and prlinkr.com. Daniel Fogmark has a deep understanding and knowledge of SEO and has helped companies in all different industries and sizes to rank high on Google. Find out more about Daniel on LinkedIn

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