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Google’s Core Update and Spam Policies You Should Know

Google’s Core Update and Spam Policies You Should KnowPhoto from Unsplash

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Google recently announced their March 2024 core update, which has been put into place to improve the quality of Search. The Google Search Quality team plans to do this by showing less content that appears to have been produced to attract clicks, and more useful content instead. There are also now new spam policies to curb the practices that could negatively impact Google’s search results. In this article, we are going to highlight the important updates and policies anyone that creates websites and implements SEO work should know.

This particular update is a more complex update than Google’s typical core updates, as it involves changes to several core systems. As different systems become fully updated to reinforce each other, it is likely there will be more fluctuations in rankings than there would be with a regular core update.

For those who have been producing expert-driven content, rankings should not be affected. However, if you or your client are not ranking well, Google has a help page for creating helpful, reliable, people-first content.

As for Google’s spam policies, there are three new spam policies against bad practices that have been trending, including expired domain abuse, scaled content abuse, and site reputation abuse. Sites that violate Google’s spam policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all. If affected by a spam manual action, site owners will receive a notice through their registered Search Console account and can have the action reconsidered. For those who are engaging in these practices, it is important to read into Google’s spam update.

Expired Domain Abuse

Expired domain abuse is the practice of purchasing an expired domain and repurposing it primarily to manipulate Search rankings by including content that provides little to no value to users. One good example is when someone purchases a domain previously used by a medical site and repurposes that to have low quality casino-related content in hopes of it being successful in Search based on the domain’s reputation from a previous ownership.

The reality is that expired domain abuse is intentional as it’s these domains purchased are generally not intended for visitors to find them in any other way but through search engines. What is acceptable is to use an old domain name for a new, original site that’s designed to serve people first, but that’s rare.

Scaled Content Abuse

Scaled content abuse is when many pages are generated for the main purpose of manipulating Search rankings and not helping users. Typically focused on producing large amounts of unoriginal content, this abusive practice provides little to no value to users regardless of how it’s created.

This new policy, which builds on Google’s previous spam policy about automatically-generated content, ensures that Google takes action on scaled content abuse as needed, whether content is produced via automation, people, or a combination of human and automated processes.

Site Reputation Abuse

According to Google, Site reputation abuse is when third-party pages are published with little or no first-party oversight, where the purpose is to manipulate Search rankings by taking advantage of the first-party site’s ranking signals. Examples of third-party pages are sponsored, advertising, or other third-party pages that are usually independent of a host site’s main purpose or produced without close oversight of the host site, and provide little to no value to users.

Keep in mind that this new policy doesn’t consider all third-party content to be a violation. For example, many publications have advertising content that is intended for their regular readers, rather than to manipulate Search rankings. Called “native advertising” or “advertorial”, this type of content wouldn’t typically confuse regular readers of the publication when they find it on the publisher’s site directly or when arriving at it from Google’s search results. That said, it doesn’t have to be blocked from Google Search.

You can visit Google’s spam policies page, which lists some illustrative examples of what is and isn’t site reputation abuse. To give site owners time to prepare for this change, this new policy will not take effect until May 5, 2024.

Bipper Media is here to Help Your Business 

At Bipper Media, we are all to familiar with Google’s frequent updates and policy changes. We understand that their new policies are created to help fight spam and ensure Google users get helpful, quality content. And of course, to make sure that those site owners producing helpful content are performing well in Search ahead of those who engage in spam practices. You can check out their Search Status Dashboard to see when their rollouts are completed. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about Google’s latest updates!

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