Google announces major Search Update and New Spam policies

Google announces major Search Update and New Spam policies

Google yesterday unveiled the March 2024 core update, a significant evolution in its search ranking systems. This complex update aims to surface more helpful content and reduce the visibility of low-quality, click-focused content.

Alongside the update, Google announced new spam policies targeting manipulative practices that negatively impact search results.

Key Changes in the March 2024 Core Update

  • Enhanced Ranking Systems: Google has refined its core ranking algorithms using multiple signals to better identify and prioritize helpful content.
  • No Single Ranking Factor: No one signal dominates ranking. Creators should continue to focus on producing high-quality, user-centric content.
  • Potential Fluctuations: Due to the update's complexity, website rankings may fluctuate more than usual during the rollout (up to a month).
  • New FAQ Page Google has published a new FAQ page to help creators understand these changes.

New Spam Policies: Fighting Manipulative Practices

Google outlines three new spam policies designed to protect search result integrity:

  1. Expired Domain Abuse: Penalizes the use of expired domains repurposed primarily to manipulate rankings, rather than offering genuine value to users.
  2. Scaled Content Abuse: Targets mass-produced, low-quality content designed purely for search engine manipulation. This applies to both human-generated and AI-generated content.
  3. Site Reputation Abuse: Addresses sites that host third-party content without proper oversight when the primary goal is to manipulate search rankings. This policy takes effect on May 5, 2024.

Guidance for Creators

Google emphasizes that creators should continue focusing on the following:

  • People-First Content: Prioritize creating content that is genuinely helpful, reliable, and designed with users in mind.
  • Review Spam Policies: Ensure your site does not violate any of Google's spam policies, including the new additions. Violations may result in lower rankings or removal from search results.

Focus on Quality

Google's message is clear: these updates reward websites delivering high-quality, original content and combat those that rely on spam or manipulation tactics.

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