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Google begins manual action on site reputation abuse, with algorithmic measures to follow

Google initiates manual actions on site reputation abuse, with algorithmic updates to follow, targeting low-oversight third-party content.

Google's SearchLiaison announced the initiation of the site reputation abuse update, starting with manual actions as of Monday, May 6. The move aims to combat the manipulation of search rankings through the of third-party content with little oversight. Algorithmic enforcement is expected to follow, strengthening the policy's impact.

For now, Google is enforcing its site reputation abuse policy manually. This means that actual Google personnel are reviewing websites to determine if they should be subjected to manual actions, which generally involve removal from Google's search index. This preliminary manual phase is critical in setting the groundwork for the subsequent algorithmic measures.

Site reputation abuse involves a strategy where content creators use another website's credibility to boost their own content's search engine rankings. This tactic, sometimes referred to as parasite SEO, although inaccurately named, involves a symbiotic agreement rather than an invasive takeover. It's not just small-scale marketers who employ this strategy; it's also prevalent among major brands, especially in sectors like credit card services and product reviews.

Google's crackdown on third-party content

The focus of Google's new spam policy is on sites that host third-party content where the host has minimal involvement in the content itself. The official definition of site reputation abuse from Google states:

“Site reputation abuse is when third-party pages are published with little or no first-party oversight or involvement, where the purpose is to manipulate Search rankings by taking advantage of the first-party site's ranking signals. Such third-party pages include sponsored, , partner, or other third-party pages that are typically independent of a host site's main purpose or produced without close oversight or involvement of the host site, and provide little to no value to users.”

This policy update targets not just the presence of third-party content but its quality and the level of integration with the host's main objectives.

Immediate impacts and future outlook

Google's SearchLiaison confirmed the policy's enforcement via Twitter, noting that while the policy was set the day before, active enforcement began today. In response, some prominent websites have already started to remove or modify sections featuring product reviews that lack substantive proof of the reviewer's direct experience with the product, such as original photos, product measurements, or testing results.

This update signals Google's continued commitment to improving the quality of information and the authenticity of content that ranks well in its search engine, aiming for a more reliable and trustworthy web environment.

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Emma Job
Emma Job
Emma is a freelance news editor at Tech Edition. With a decade's experience in content writing, she revels in both crafting and immersing herself in narratives. From tracking down viral trends to delving into the most recent news stories, her goal is to deliver insightful and timely content to her readers.

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