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Google’s new policy on reputational abuse of search results will be implemented soon

We knew this was coming.

Google told us that the change would be made in March, when they announced multiple search enhancements. This included the March 2024 core update (which completed April 19) and spam updates (which completed on March 20). May 5 is this Sunday.

We knew this was coming. Google told us this change was coming in March, when Google announced multiple search enhancements, which also included the March 2024 core update (which completed April 19) and spam updates (which completed March 20).

Google’s reminder. Google Search Central posted on X:

What is site reputation abuse? When third-party sites host low-quality content provided by third parties to piggyback on the ranking power of those third-party websites. As Google told us in March:

  • “A third party might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain ranking benefit from the site.”
  • “Such content ranking highly in Search can confuse or mislead visitors who may have vastly different expectations for the content on a given website.”

Under Google’s new policy, site reputation abuse is defined as “third-party content produced primarily for ranking purposes and without close oversight of a website owner” and “intended to manipulate Search rankings” will be considered spam.

But. Not all third-party content will be considered spam, as Google explained:

  • “Many publications host advertising content that is intended for their regular readers, rather than to primarily manipulate Search rankings. Sometimes called ‘native advertising’ or ‘advertorial,’ this kind of content typically wouldn’t 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.”

Google said in March that it would start to take both automated and manual actions on this abuse starting May 5. Why we care.

Many SEOs have complained about the unfairness and harm that parasite SEO brings. We’ll see if this will help with the recent complaints about Search results. News on Search Engine Land

About this author

Danny Goodwin is the Managing Editor at Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo SMX, a position he has held since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land as Senior Editor in 2022. He also manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Experts) program. He also helps to program U.S. SMX. Since 2007, Goodwin has edited and written about the latest trends and developments in digital marketing and search. He was previously Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal from 2017 to 2022, managing editor of Momentology between 2014 and 2016 and editor of Search Engine Watch between 2007 to 2014. He has presented at major search conferences, virtual events and been sought out for his expertise in a variety of publications and podcasts.

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