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March 2019 Core Update: Is Google Trying to Kill SEO?

The March 2019 Core Update is all about your content, so it better be good and it better be what people are searching for. If not, Google doesn't care - keywords alone won't save you. 

Google is constantly innovating their search algorithms to better service their customers. It’s important to note here that you as a business owner are not Google’s customer. Their customer is you when you’re searching for something; new restaurants in town, cat videos to watch, and recipes to butcher. What that means is that they don’t make choices to help improve your business’ standing, they’re trying to help the person Googling things find exactly the result that they want. Their updates are intended to help the person searching find quality content and websites, not to help you get more people to your site. 

Google makes changes all the time – Every. Day. But on special occasions – when they’re feeling especially sassy – they roll out updates that send ripple waves across all of the e-lands and we’re guessing ever since March 12, 2019, your organic website traffic looks a bit different. 

Google confirmed March 13, 2019 via Twitter that they had released one of these “more noticeable” updates stating: “This week, we released a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see these tweets for more about that: Twitter link to Google Tweet from 2018.”

That link leads to their tweet from March of 2018 stating: “There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

In layman’s terms: “Be better.” and/or “Stop trying to cheat the system.”

Thanks for the pro tip Google!

I may sound salty, but there are certainly saltier folks out there. I’m not usually one for Twitter, but if you’re looking for some entertaining comments -> Click Here

As detrimental as this algorithm change is for many – it brings to mind a continual conversation we’ve been having at Insights.

The SEO Conversation We Continually Have at Insights:

  1. The SEO world is changing.
  2. Old practices of trying to “beat the system” will really hurt you.

And possibly one of our most controversial topics:

3. If you are paying a firm for a monthly SEO service- there’s an incredibly good chance you are being scammed.

One more time for the folks in the back: SEO is not a series of check-marked tasks that are done on a regular schedule no matter what.

SEO is:

  • Making sure your website works well on mobile
  • Making sure your website loads quickly
  • Keeping your bounce-rates down by making sure your website:
    • doesn’t look terrible/spammy
    • doesn’t have old content
    • loads quickly
    • works on mobile
    • and other things that show you’re keeping your users in mind
  • Encouraging website visitors to stay and visit more pages on your website
  • Having a logical and easy navigation path on the site
  • Adding and indexing new content using holistic SEO strategies
    • what would your website visitors want to know/learn more about?
    • what’s relevant and topical in your industry?
  • Optimizing any new photos or media to
    • load quickly
    • have a plain-english name
    • include alt tags and descriptions (also important for ADA compliance)
  • Responding if Google notifies you about an issue with your website
  • Making sure you have an SSL certificate on your site
  • Seizing opportunities to get your website linked to by another website (if it’s the right fit)
  • Innovating your website to better accommodate the way people surf the net. Hint, hint: “Alexa, find me a really awesome marketing company.”
  • Being aware and taking action to improve ranking when Google announces there will be an update. (For example “Speed Update” of July 2018 that impacted pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users”)

The Monthly SEO Service History

Years ago, SEO tasks could have been considered a set series of tasks to do over and over again, which is why you still see these monthly SEO services around – it’s historical. But unless your SEO firm is also helping you develop strategic content like blogs, events, and photos galleries, we continually find the accountability of these services is hard to enforce and outcomes hard to measure, making it easy to take advantage of the ever-changing and almost mysterious field of SEO.

The Takeaways:

It has never been clearer, SEO is changing and while we aren’t on the “SEO is dead” train, we do think Google is trying to get rid of the old practices. Each update pushes more in the direction of promoting great, quality content rather than rewarding stuffing keywords  and the old strategies to boost SEO and positioning. The March 2019 Core Update is all about your content, so it better be good and it better be what people are searching for. If not, Google doesn’t care – keywords won’t save you. 


  • Spend time on SEO during the development of your website
  • Reach out to a specialist when you have website traffic concerns
  • Update your website with fresh content regularly (like blogs or photo galleries)
  • Build your direct, social media, and referral traffic – they’re easier to control


  • Try to cheat search engine algorithms by stuffing keywords or using old SEO practices
  • Rely solely on organic SEO – it’s awesome to have, but in the end – search engines are in more control than you are
  • Pay for monthly SEO services without knowing what that means and what they’re doing for you