Google's March Update: A Seismic Shift Towards Higher Quality Search Results

Google's March Update: A Seismic Shift Towards Higher Quality Search Results

Have you noticed a dramatic shift in your website’s organic search traffic within a short span of hours or days? If so, it’s possible that your site has been affected by a recent Google algorithm update.

These updates can prove detrimental to businesses that heavily rely on organic traffic as a revenue source, whether through online advertisements, affiliate marketing, or direct e-commerce sales.

Google’s “core updates,” in particular, are notorious for their sudden and substantial impact, frequently leaving website owners perplexed about what they might have done wrong and how to regain their lost search traffic.

What is a Google Core Update?

Google Core updates are a distinct type of update that Google releases several times per year. Unlike other major updates, these core updates involve changes to the core algorithm itself, rather than adjustments to individual ranking factors.

While other updates often target specific areas (e.g., introducing a new ranking factor or integrating new technology), Google Core updates primarily focus on improving the overall quality of search results delivered to users. They are part of Google’s continuous efforts to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.

Whenever a new core update is released, Google announces it via their Twitter channel, naming the update according to the month and year of its release (eg. “May 2024 Core Update”).

March 2024 Core Update & Spam Update (from March 5th 2024)

Following numerous complaints and even a study highlighting the declining quality of Google search results in recent months, Google has announced a major improvement to Google Search with the March 2024 Core Update. This update aims to deliver more high-quality, unique results that genuinely benefit users. In contrast, content created solely to manipulate rankings will be removed from search results. Simultaneously, Google has also announced a Spam Update with new and improved spam policies to keep low-quality results out of search results.

According to Google, the March 2024 Core Update builds upon the Helpful Content Updates that began in 2022 and now integrates those updates’ results into the core algorithm. This means there is no longer a separate “Helpful Content System”; instead, the core algorithm now includes several signals for evaluating helpful content. Together, Google expects these updates to result in a 40% reduction in low-quality search results.

This update is a much more complex Core Update than usual, as several ranking systems are being updated. As a result, rankings may fluctuate strongly over a period of up to one month.

The new spam policies introduced as part of the Spam Update target the following types of spam:

- “Scaled content,” which is content produced automatically and in large quantities but provides no real value to the user.

- “Site reputation abuse,” which exploits a website’s high reputation by allowing third parties to publish low-quality content on that domain – also known as “parasite SEO.” This change will not take effect until May 5th, giving website owners time to exclude such content from Google search.

- Using expired domains to boost the ranking of low-quality content.

Unlike the Core Update, the Spam Update is expected to be completed in around two weeks.

Since the update’s launch, a large number of manual penalties have been observed, with entire sites being removed from search results, including some sites with a high volume of purely AI-generated content.

In addition to the usual recommendations for Core Updates, you should also review Google’s recommendations for creating Helpful Content if you notice a negative impact on your rankings due to the March 2024 Core Update.

REAL DESIGN can help with any search engine optimisation and web design/developments - contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help. 

Google Source Post:

Posted on 11th Mar 2024 16:21:53 by

Tags: News, SEO.

Design Trends 2024

Design Trends 2024

Hey there friends! We know we’re a little late to the party, but we couldn’t miss out on unveiling the biggest graphic design trends for 2024! From nature-inspired palettes to minimalist styles, and even a bit of nostalgia, we’ll guide you through the creative innovations shaping visual communication this year.

Natural materials


First up, we’ve got natural materials taking centre stage. Eco-friendly elements like earth tones, hand-drawn illustrations, and organic fonts are connecting brands with consumers who care about sustainability. Accessibility is also key, with more focus on inclusive design.

Bold minimalism


Bold minimalism continues its reign in 2024. The “less is more” approach strips away clutter for elegance and visual clarity. With restrained colour and typography focus, minimalism enables precise messaging. Its versatility across mediums like websites and branding makes it a go-to.



Get ready for a dose of pixel power this year too. These digital building blocks add a retro gaming vibe, blending nostalgia with modern aesthetics. Scaled-up pixels make a bold statement. By fusing this old-school pixel style with current tech capabilities, designers are concocting something totally novel.



Vivid fluorescence rules in 2024, with electric hues taking centre stage. Neon yellows, greens, oranges - you name it. Vibrant colours let designs make a splash. Brands are using this trend to captivate audiences with compelling visual stories.

AI Assistance


Now to our robot friends. AI assistance gained major traction last year, generating graphics and expediting workflows. In 2024, AI’s creative potential grows. Tools like Midjourney, DALL-E, and Adobe Firefly enable rapid concept iterations and design explorations. AI animates visuals in cool new ways too. Nutella, for example, utilised AI to create a campaign with 7 million unique package designs, showcasing the power of AI in generating creative solutions.

Hand-drawn Illustration


Hand-drawn illustration adds personality as another 2024 trend. Whimsical doodles and flowing drawings bring an endearing, handcrafted vibe. Paired with script fonts, this look adds warmth. Illustrations also allow bespoke visual storytelling versus generic stock imagery.



And we can’t forget retro charm! Rich colour palettes, grainy photography, and cartoon characters deliver vintage cheer. This nostalgic style reminds us of simpler times. Vintage minimalism, stripping away the extras for timeless simplicity, is particularly hot right now.

Wrapping up: 2024’s best design trends

There you have it - our tour through 2024’s biggest graphic design trends! Feel free to riff on these creative styles as you craft visually engaging stories. With fierce competition, adaptability is key - so embrace the unconventional in this AI age. We hope these trends spark ideas as you stay ahead of the curve. Let us know if you have any other questions!

Posted on 8th Feb 2024 17:15:44 by

Tags: Trends, News.

2023 in a nutshell

2023 in a nutshell

Well …2023 has flown by so fast, it’s been a busy year, from vision mixing at Hull New Theatre for Two Pianos to launching a new fine dining Indian restaurant brand, we have worked on some fantastic projects with our incredible clients. Here are just a few highlights from 2023.

Genuary 23’
For the month of January we created daily artworks based on ‘prompts’ all generated by different forms of code. The prompts are created to test and push generative code based art. Some of our artworks were created in languages such as HTML, After Effects Expressions, JavaScript, MAX Scripts, Illustrator JS and Flash ActionScript (I know very old school).

Genuary 23’

Aldercote Web Update
Aldercote asked us to update their online presence with a unique design and interactive website. We created 3D versions of their vehicle-mounted access platforms; converting CAD drawings to 3D models and then converting these into WebGL & HTML5 interactive media, which increased thier online page engagement by over 1200%.

Aldercote Web Update

Meeting Ian Anderson from tDR
I finally - after many years - managed to meet and listen to an amazing designer/philosopher and one of my main ‘influencers’, Ian Anderson from the Design Republic. I popped over to La Biblioteka in Sheffield for the release/signing of the A-Z of TDR reprint and Q&A. Managed to get my original A-Z signed and even purchased the reprint.

Meeting Ian Anderson from tDR

25 Years Old
If you didn’t see our recent post (...tut tut tut) this September we turned 25! Yes 25, it was 1998 when we first started REAL DESIGN, we have weathered the millennium bug, financial crash of 2008, a name change (…and then change back) to the pandemic in 2020 - it’s been a wild ride and we have had the privilege of working with amazing people, companies and creating some fantastic solutions.

25 Years Old

4-Day Work Week
We have been discussing internally for months how we would make a ‘4 day work week’ work for REAL and its employees. When we all moved to remote working due to the lockdown, we really didn’t have time to discuss it, we just had to make it work. Digital agencies need to be progressive in their approach and the ‘4 day work week’ for REAL is the next step. We will be trialling this over the next few months and of course open to feedback from our clients and employees.

4-Day Work Week

As the festive weeks get closer, we would like to thank our amazing clients for their constant challenges and keeping us on the cutting edge of digital media. We will be taking some time off over Christmas break (20th of December 2023 to the 3th of January 2024) but we look forward to more exciting projects in 2024.

Merry Christmas from the team at REAL DESIGN

Merry Christmas from the team at REAL DESIGN

Posted on 16th Dec 2023 10:30:31 by

Tags: News.

Trialling Something New

Trialling Something New

As an industry in constant flux, we strive to evolve with the times. In an effort to promote work-life balance, we will transition to a four-day work week.

This shortened schedule reflects growing trends in the UK, with studies showing increased productivity, employee wellbeing, and fewer absences.

Naturally, questions arise. Will output suffer? Will we appear idle? Can we really lose a whole day?!

While valid concerns, we feel this marks a positive step forward as workplace norms change.

From the 1st of December 2023 we will compress hours across four days. Most employees will adopt Monday-Thursday schedules, with flexibility for personal preferences within our remote work policy.

We will phase this in gradually, reviewing weekly. Although officially closed on Fridays, we will remain available for support via email (and phone, if an emergency).

We trust our clients will adapt with us, but invite feedback to inform ongoing adjustments. The four-day week, while unconventional, promises a better balance of work and life here at REAL DESIGN.

Posted on 1st Dec 2023 18:14:33 by

Tags: News.

25 Years Strong

25 Years Strong

25 years ago in September of 1998 REAL DESIGN was born. Mobile phones were like bricks, the internet was only just becoming accessible to commercial business and video was shot to tape in in 4:3 aspect ratio.

When we started we carved out a niche in interactive CD-ROM design and development, this quickly became what we were known for. CD-ROMs were like websites that were self launching and could deliver both audio and video in an age when internet speeds were not up to the task. We created ROMs for clients such as Smith & Nephews, Polestar PLC, Hull College to name just a few.



The CD-ROM era was brought to an end by the increase and rapid uptake of fast internet. This allowed us to move our interactive design to the world wide web with the use of frames, tables and Flash. We adapted to the technological change and began creating award winning sites for clients in a time when creativity was king. The beginning of the internet uptake was a wild time when wow factor was valued above all else.

The REAL team Rapidly expanded to 4 members, working in all fields of media; from graphic design, print, website development, interactive touch screen kiosks, MTV music videos and interactive DVDs.



The wild west of the internet creativity boom was slowly reigned in and tamed by corporatisation and once again the technology and techniques changed. We started moving the majority of our online sites from Flash to PHP database driven websites, creating interactive environments with more focus on search engine ranking. The industry began to prioritise search engine position over wow factor, once again we adapted with 80% of our sites ranked page 1 for their main keywords.



As we began creating our own in house content management systems to create websites with, our team expanded to 7. We were involved in one the first live streamed internet music events which we later expanded on by developing our own internet streaming rigs. This expanded our video capabilities from shoot and edit to live events. We extend our reach into Augmented reality with one of the first fully 3D magazine covers and working with Aston Villa Football club to develop some immersive interactions.


Recently we achieved a long standing dream by opening our own photography and video studio. Fully equipped with a complete lighting rig, green screen and sound proofing, we finally have the dedicated creative space we have been craving for decades.

Relationships are at the core of REAL DESIGN. The majority of our work has come from word of mouth client recommendations and we still work with 90% of the customers we started with in 1998, here are a few words from our long standing client and friend Graham Henderson;

“I’ve been in business for 34 years and have known Breon and REAL DESIGN Studios for most of that time. At one point, when he’d only recently established his offices in Wincolmlee, we toyed with the idea of a few new start-ups sharing managed premises in the city centre. Breon’s decision to stay on his own was undoubtedly the right one and I quickly extricated myself too, when others in the partnership got into financial difficulties. I have valued his professionalism and expertise in helping with website creation and logo design especially. You’ll realise how long ago it is when I say he was the first to design me a CD-Rom to showcase our work to clients!


I would say we’re both survivors. Being self-employed can be a rollercoaster ride and the owner has to steer a steady path, especially with employees on board. Real has changed and adapted across the years and Breon is to be congratulated on his 25 year anniversary.  

6 years ago I went back to employment, helping young people set up in business. That was meant to be for a year and six years later I’m retiring – but my freelance work will continue, while people value and are prepared to pay for my work. I’m sure Breon and REAL will continue to bring fresh and creative design ideas to clients for many years and I wish them well for the future.”
Graham Henderson, GH Events

And the people we work with (and have worked with) are at the centre of the business, Graham our longest serving employee shares his thoughts on his journey with REAL;

“REAL DESIGN started at the infancy of digital media. New ways of creating media and art were ravenously perused by a new generation untethered from the traditional industry constraints.

We travelled the length and breadth of the country filming music acts touring around nightclubs, training videos for industry leading print companies and even created three feature length carp fishing DVD’s.

Filming the carnage of a live nightclub event, dealing with the frankly hostile environment of booming music, no light and the attention of ever curious drunk punters was an exciting challenge. Filming on the streets of Blackpool at 11pm on the busiest ‘hen’ weekend of the year was quite an experience.

In contrast to the chaos of the nightclub gigs, we produced six documentaries on the different types of print processes. Capturing techniques that work at incredibly high speed with micron precision presented a unique challenge. Conveying this information to the audience required us to really push our filming, editing and post production work.

Carp fishing was a huge part of our video work. We had traditionally been filming short scripted events indoors with all the comforts that that provides. Suddenly being in the great outdoors waiting for someone to catch a fish was an aggressive and welcome kick out of our comfort zone. The uncertainty of whether or not we would get the footage we needed was as exhilarating as working in the great outdoors. Of course we had to do it in true REAL DESIGN fashion, camping out overnight in -6 temperatures on the banks of a lake in Oxford to get the perfect sunrise shot, and editing a slow relaxing sport with three cameras and a drum and bass soundtrack. We calmed down a bit for the next one and dropped the drum and bass soundtrack, shooting it instead in the champagne region of France all be it in 40° plus temperatures.

Possibly the pinnacle of our video work was being flown out to Monaco during the F1 grand prix weekend to film the Amber Lounge uber club. A dream job and destination only slightly spoiled by the eruption of an Icelandic volcano that absolutely had to erupt that particular weekend. Travel chaos ensued. It was difficult not to be overwhelmed by an iconic city during a legendary event, once again out of our comfort zone filming on party yachts while F1 cars blasted past mere metres away. Documenting a fashion show during golden hour on the meridian attended by royalty and Hollywood A-listers was about as far as we could get from our north-east of England routes.”

“Of course this is the fun aspects of the job, and negates the month long 6 day a week late night editing session, the travel woes, some awful hotel rooms, and seeing how many people you can cram into a standard travel lodge room. But that is all easily ignored when you are young and having the time of your life with your friends.”
Graham Sparling

I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude. First, to our wonderful clients - thank you for choosing to work with us over the years. Your ongoing partnership, challenging projects, and loyalty continue to push us to grow and improve. We are honoured to collaborate with you to build your businesses.




Second, to the entire REAL team, past and present - your hard work, creativity, and dedication are what make this company so special. From Graham, Mark, Jamie, Dave, Alicia, Martin, Allistair, Colin, Rachel, Andy, Ross, Zack, David, Jon, Matt, Pete, Chris, Damian, Sarah, Ben, Richard, Jason, Tony, Paul, Nathan & Mike, Will, Lucy and so many more - you each contribute unique talents and ideas that drive our progress.




Finally, as we look to the future in this ever-changing media landscape, know that we remain committed to advising, guiding and creating innovative solutions to meet your needs. New technologies like AI and shifts in the industry will not stop us from delivering excellence.

Thank you for being part of the REAL family. I am proud to be on this journey with you.


Posted on 28th Sep 2023 12:13:17 by

Tags: News.