Google update policy on spammy, low-quality content on Search

Google update policy on spammy, low-quality content on Search

Every day, individuals utilize Search to discover the best content available on the web. Over time, we have established policies and automated systems to combat spammers, continually adapting to counter emerging tactics aimed at manipulating our search results with subpar content. 

We consistently update these policies and systems to effectively address evolving trends, ensuring that we maintain our commitment to delivering valuable content and connecting users with high-quality websites.

Today, we are introducing significant changes aimed at enhancing the quality of Search results and the relevance of the information provided:

  • Improved quality ranking: We are implementing algorithmic refinements to our core ranking systems to prioritize the most relevant and helpful information while minimizing the presence of duplicate content in search results.
  • Enhanced spam policies: Our spam policies are being updated to prevent low-quality content from infiltrating Search results, such as expired domains repurposed for spamming by new owners and obituary spam.

Reducing the prevalence of low-quality, duplicate content

In 2022, we initiated adjustments to our ranking systems to diminish the presence of unhelpful and unoriginal content in Search, maintaining it at significantly low levels. Building upon our previous efforts, we are incorporating the insights gained from this work into the core update of March 2024.

This update involves fine-tuning our core ranking systems to better discern whether webpages offer value, provide a satisfactory user experience, or appear to be engineered for search engines rather than human users. This includes addressing sites primarily designed to cater to specific search queries.

We anticipate that these updates will decrease the prevalence of low-quality content in Search results and direct more traffic to useful and reputable websites. Based on our assessments, we anticipate a collective reduction of 40% in low-quality, duplicate content in search results through the combination of this update and our previous initiatives.

Mitigating spam in search results:

For decades, we have relied on advanced spam-fighting mechanisms and policies to prevent the dissemination of low-quality content in search results, and this endeavor continues.

We are implementing several updates to our spam policies to effectively combat new and evolving deceptive practices leading to the proliferation of unoriginal, low-quality content in Search. 

We will take action against various manipulative behaviors starting immediately. While our ranking systems already mitigate many forms of low-quality content, these updates enable us to take more targeted measures in line with our spam policies.

Addressing systematic content abuse

We have long maintained a policy against the use of automation to generate low-quality or duplicate content at scale for the purpose of manipulating search rankings. However, as methods of scaled content creation become more sophisticated, distinguishing automated content generation is not always straightforward. 

To address this issue, we are strengthening our policy to specifically target abusive behavior, regardless of whether automation, human effort, or a combination thereof is involved. 

This allows us to address a wider range of low-value content created at scale, such as pages that falsely claim to provide answers to popular queries without delivering substantive content.

Combating site reputation abuse

In some cases, reputable websites may inadvertently host low-quality content provided by third parties seeking to capitalize on the hosting site's credibility. For instance, third parties might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain search ranking benefits. 

Such content can mislead users and tarnish the reputation of the hosting website. We will now classify third-party content with minimal value, primarily created for ranking purposes and lacking sufficient oversight from the website owner, as spam. 

We are announcing this policy in advance to provide site owners with time to rectify any issues before enforcement begins on May 5.

Preventing abuse of expired domains

Occasionally, expired domains are purchased and repurposed to boost the search ranking of low-quality or unoriginal content. This can mislead users into believing that the new content is affiliated with the previous site, which may not be the case. 

Expired domains repurposed for the sole purpose of enhancing the search ranking of low-quality content will now be classified as spam.

While Search assists users with billions of queries daily, there are always areas for improvement. We remain committed to minimizing the presence of low-quality content in Search results and prioritizing information that genuinely assists users.

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