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Vital marketing news and updates businesses need to act on in March 2024

By the Cartwright Communications digital team

With game-changing algorithm updates and marketers trying to find new ways to prove the impact of their activity, the world of digital marketing is ever-changing. To stay competitive is important for brands and marketing teams to stay on top of the latest key digital updates. 

Here are some of our digital team’s key updates for you to know about in March: 

Google Core Algorithm Update 

Described as a game changer, Google’s March 2024 update is predicted to have a major impact on search visibility, and marketers need to be aware of the key areas to ensure they are not penalised and maintain their standing in search results.

The main areas to consider are: 

Google has started to deindex low quality websites

In its recent announcement, Google emphasised its goal to reduce unhelpful and unoriginal content from its search results. This clean-up aims to remove up to 40% of websites it considers are low quality these are sites that provide poor user experience and useless information.

Any website found violating Google’s guidelines or using questionable SEO tactics will be completely removed from both the index and search results.

Penalties will be swift

Penalties have come in hard and fast for some website owners after the recent Google update, and it is worth noting that websites affected by the March 2024 core update will not get notified of a ranking decline through Google Search Console.

To check if your site has been impacted, you can look for your website in Google by typing “site: yourwebsite” and see if you are showing up in the search results.

If you are concerned your website has been affected, please get in touch at and our expert team will be happy to help.

No website is immune

Older websites will not escape scrutiny, either; any that were untouched by previous updates will face reviews the same as newer domains.

This has caused wider discussion, with marketers both celebrating long-term spammy websites being penalised by the update and others confused as to why their networks have seemingly vanished overnight.

This will be where knowledge of Google’s Experience, Expertise, Authorativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) guidelines will play a major factor moving forward—websites with a broad range of topics with little expansion, poor user experience, and negative impact will see some negative impact.

AI content is under scrutiny

Google has also updated their E-E-A-T guidelines with an additional factor to the lowest E-E-A-T standard, it includes the phrasing ‘The website terms of use states that ‘some articles’ are generated by AI and may have errors or be out of date’.

This means sites that have been using AI to generate content will be further scrutinised and run the risk of being considered untrustworthy and de-ranked.

Google has refined how it detects AI content and is flagging smaller websites when penalising AI content.

This update is aimed at cleaning up search results, ensuring users are being served valuable, relevant and original content by website owners and as always, quality will always be favoured over quantity.

Cartwright’s Head of Digital, Alex Jones, says:

“This is a significant update from Google that consists of a core update and a separate spam update. In doing this major update Google wants to significantly reduce the prevalence of spammy, low-quality, and unoriginal content in search results.  

“Google states that they expect that the combination of this update and their previous efforts will collectively reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%! So, it is no surprise that the SERPs are so volatile right now. I have seen lots of reports of manual actions, and websites are getting de-indexed at historic rates. For any websites or marketers that have been using manipulative SEO practices, it is a very worrying time.  

“The good news is that brands and websites who have been ethical in their digital marketing, and following best practices, Google’s algorithm updates don’t seem to have affected them. We’re big believers in people-first and human-to-human content that provides quality, relevant and helpful information, and so is Google.   

“To check if the algorithm update has affected your site, look for significant drops in impressions and clicks in Google Search Console starting on March 5. The key word here is significant. Fluctuation is normal, and you’ll likely have more fluctuations when the SERPs are as volatile as they are now. On the Google Search Central blog, the Google Search Quality team shared that: “It’s likely there will be more fluctuations in rankings than with a regular core update, as different systems get fully updated and reinforce each other.”  

“Unless you see a significant drop, it’s likely you haven’t been impacted. So, sit back and let updates run their course, and continue with your SEO and content strategies. Patience is key in these situations as Google refines its algorithms for a better user experience.” 


Google Consent Mode V2 

In March, Google updated its Consent mode to Google Consent Mode v2. This is influenced by the development of European privacy legislation, and this new version encourages further compliance relating to data used for targeted advertising campaigns.  

It essentially tells Google what consent a website visitor has given for using cookies and provides an easy-to-use way for site owners and advertisers to respect user privacy while still collecting important data—such as website usability insights or ad campaign traffic performance. Google Consent Mode v2 is a significant update that aims to boost user privacy and data compliance.  

In short, non-compliance with Google Consent Mode v2 will result in less effective ad campaigns. If you want to continue measuring user behaviour and website performance and get the maximum result from marketing, then you’ll need to switch to Google Consent Mode v2 ASAP in March.  

To ensure seamless functionality with Google Consent Mode Version 2, it is crucial to update your GTM Cookie Script template to the latest version and ensure that any existing banners live on your site complies with the new standard.  

Jot Drarh, SEO Manager at Cartwright Communications said:

“Implementing Google Consent Mode v2 is imperative for businesses. This latest update poses a challenge to businesses aiming to remarket services to existing customers or convert new ones. Without proper consent management, businesses risk losing valuable insights into consumer behaviour, hindering their ability to tailor marketing strategies effectively. 

“Furthermore, the diminished data collection resulting from non-compliance can significantly undermine the efficacy of paid campaign ad spend. With less precise targeting and reduced access to user preferences, businesses may find themselves allocating more resources to advertising efforts with poorer results. This not only escalates ad spend but also directly impacts the bottom line, emphasising the critical need for businesses to implement Google Consent Mode v2 to maintain their competitive edge in today’s digital landscape. 

“Google Consent Mode v2 allows customers to either opt-in or out of various data collection and remarketing methods. Whilst seeing people opt-out may be concerning to businesses and seen as a huge threat, it can actually present a huge opportunity to get more effective advertising campaigns from those customers who are happy to be targeted and have their data collected. It creates an audience to target with a higher level of engagement or intent, which in turn is more likely to lead to conversions.” 


Two-thirds of PR professionals can’t prove their work helps their businesses or clients

Recent research conducted by Coverage Book has found that just one third of PR professionals align their activity with commercial goals, revealing a significant disconnect between how PR professionals measure and report on their success. 

These stats come at a time when increased pressure across marketing departments is creating a further focus on teams’ showing their impact. While older metrics, like advertising value equivalency (AVE), have started being phased out, there has been no solid consensus on which metrics to focus on to demonstrate value going forward. 

Agencies and teams alike are looking at ways to blend PR and digital reporting to define tangible metrics that can align with business and client goals whilst proving that effective marketing and communication activity is worthwhile investing in to drive overall strategy and brand impact. In today’s current climate it’s more important than ever before to show how PR is a valuable marketing tactic which impacts total turnover and lead generation, rather than just brand awareness. 

Fran Prince, director at Cartwright Communications said:

“Over time, results monitoring and proving PR effectiveness has significantly changed, gone are the days of reporting on advertising value equivalency (AVE) and off-the-wall reach or circulation metrics which are taken from the total visitors that read that publication online or offline each month. These systems of measurement are outdated and symbolise vanity metrics which do not give the commercial certainty that businesses require today.

“It’s a controversial topic when speaking with clients, but a good PR professional will be well versed in analytics tools such as GA4, Coverage Book and Google Search Console to name but a few. Dependant on the strategy or core goal of the business (conversion, website traffic increase, thought leadership, brand awareness etc.) the more detailed we can be when analysing our outputs effectiveness.

“Metrics such as monitoring number of organic ‘do follow’ backlinks can assist SEO value and domain authority growth, enabling a website to rank higher in search engines, while direct referrals and direct traffic uplift – once featured – can literally show the client spikes in traffic and conversions, and leads that have clicked through from an online article feature.

“For more promotional voucher-code or stunt-based PR campaigns you can literally track purchases or footfall and therefore revenue. You can also monitor your search presence and branded keyword growth (direct traffic) in Google’s Search Console – this is a sure-fire way to prove visibility growth and the value of both PR and SEO.

“So, while many clients believe PR is often not ‘able to be proven’ when it comes to commerciality – I disagree. There are elements that are completely trackable, and some which are less so. But overall, a good, digitally savvy PR professional will always be able to prove their worth.”

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