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Google’s New Site Reputation Abuse Policy: What You Need to Know

By May 17, 2024 No Comments

Google’s New Site Reputation Abuse Policy: What You Need to Know

Blog by Isaac Rau | May 18, 2024

Google is always making tweaks to their algorithm to improve the quality of their search results. Their latest policy change, announced in March 2024 and implemented on May 5th, is intended to combat site reputation abuse and spam.

Here’s what you need to know about Google’s new policies and whether they’ll affect your site’s SEO.

Cracking Down on Site Reputation Abuse

Site reputation abuse is when a major, trusted site with good rankings, like a news outlet, magazine, or listings directory, hosts spammy third-party content that piggybacks on its host site’s rankings to get a boost. SEO insiders have coined another name for this practice: “Parasite SEO.” The spammy content enjoys a boost in rankings from its host site, while providing little or no value to users.

Google is now employing a mix of manual actions (where humans identify spammy pages one-by-one) and algorithms to combat this type of spam.

Many are speculating that Google’s changes are in response to the November 2023 Sports Illustrated scandal. The SI website was caught hosting AI-generated product reviews with fake author names and profiles. The content was provided by a third-party marketing firm called AdVon. The incident was a clear example of site reputation abuse: junk content capitalizing on a well-known brand to get clicks.

How Do Google’s Changes Affect My Site?

The good news is that most site owners have nothing to worry about. If your site has only original content related to your site’s purpose (i.e. pages about dentistry for a dentist, film reviews for a film review site), then Google’s changes don’t apply to you.

You need only be concerned if you have a deal with a third party to host content irrelevant to your site’s purpose, such as product reviews, coupons, or links to gambling websites. Often, you have no control over the content the third party provides. So your best course of action is to either de-index the offending pages or reconsider your relationship with that third party. Otherwise, you risk a sitewide drop in rankings, even on relevant, quality pages.

At Proactive SEO Solutions, we believe in boosting your site’s rankings using the bread-and-butter tools of good SEO, and avoiding questionable tactics like spammy pages and third-party deals. Contact us to get our thoughts on Google’s changes and discuss how our SEO services can benefit your business.

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