Navigating Google’s Latest Spam Policy Updates: Ensuring Compliance & SEO Success

Written By: Jesse Farley
CSP discusses Google’s Spam Update

Google’s latest Core update was announced earlier this month. The March 2024 spam update is a key component of the overarching push to improve the quality of web content. The changes greatly impact AI spam, decreasing the visibility of such distractive and invasive internet fluff.

The Impact of Google’s March 2024 Spam Update

The update initially targeted sites that were rife with low-quality AI spam, with many being removed from the SERPs (search engine results pages) altogether. In other cases, significant sections of the offending sites were demoted or punished through Google manual actions.

Google’s spam policy is primarily applicable to manipulative websites yet it also has an impact on businesses attempting to connect with new customers. Though the search giant’s representatives insist the intent of the update is not to cause harm to companies that are not currently using techniques to generate traffic that rely on spam, every business owner and manager should be aware of the new approach.

Businesses may find that it is easier to seamlessly transition through the spam update transition period with the assistance of a marketing specialist for business-centric SEO solutions. A team of inbound marketing professionals helps to facilitate smooth navigation through the changes.

The purpose of the update is to prevent companies from “gaming the system” ultimately forcing them to focus on generating high-value and idiosyncratic content that informs and solves problems. The prevailing theme is a prioritization of content that helps people as opposed to that which complies with the nuances of search engine algorithms to capture prime online real estate.

Google bears the burden of sorting hundreds of billions of online pages within its massive index. Therefore, it is inevitable that websites that should not be demoted in the SERPs will be put under the microscope and possibly lowered in ranking. Though there is minimal evidence of such injustices, more will likely manifest as the March 2024 spam update is rolled out to completion in the months ahead.

How will Google’s changes affect AI spam?

Spend a little bit of time analyzing Google’s new approach to spam and you’ll find the update is complex to the point that it cannot be implemented overnight. The overarching Core update will take at least a full month to implement, meaning the spam policies will likely require the same amount of time.

The language of the new spam policies communicates how the revised approach zeroes in on harmful practices that diminish search result quality. Google’s official spam policy update encompasses three new policies designed to thwart what the company describes as “bad practices” that have expanded in popularity over recent years.

The bad practices highlighted by the search giant include the following:

  • Reputation abuse
  • Abuse through scaled content
  • Domain abuse

Google’s official statement detailing the spam update encourages businesses to review the entirety of the new policies to prevent punishment through a SERP ranking reduction or complete elimination.

An official Google spam notice will be transmitted through website owner Search Console accounts in the event of a transgression. However, there is an avenue for recourse through an application for a reconsideration of the action.

A Closer Look at Scaled Content Abuse

Scaled content abuse is exactly as it sounds in that it refers to the generation of a significant number of web pages intending to jump up the SERPs instead of providing valuable information to web users. Such abuse primarily centers on the generation of massive amounts of duplicate content or content that lacks originality to inundate the web for attention yet provide minimal or no actual value to readers. The scaled content abuse stance expands on a prior spam policy covering content that is automatically generated.

The new policy aims to set the stage for prompt and effective action that thwarts scaled content abusive practices regardless of whether the avalanche of content is made by people, through automated means, or a combination of the two.

Explaining Expired Domain Abuse

Google is also cracking down on the abuse of expired domains, and for good reason. This form of web abuse involves the purchase and reuse of expired web domain names to move up in the SERPs. This is a tactic in which one hosts online content that provides zero or little value.

The “expired domain abuse” strategy is employed in an attempt to zoom up the SERPs through a metaphorical “riding on the coattails” of the domain name’s prior success (or semantic relevance) to search queries. The unfortunate truth is people have gone as far as scooping up domains used by companies in the past and repurposing those pages for content unrelated to the domain name. 

Google deserves credit for taking action against expired domain abuse as these sites offer content that is of little or even no value. This ultimately wastes time while distracting web users from websites that provide meaningful value.

Keyword Stuffing, Hidden Links, Hidden Text, and More

Google’s updated policy punishes sites laden with hidden links and hidden text as well. Such manipulation centers on placing content within a page to intentionally manipulate search engines and fool human readers.

As an example, Google considers the use of the following strategies to violate its new spam policy:

  • Hiding links with linking a single character such as a semicolon
  • Using a 0 font size
  • Positioning words off-screen using CSS
  • Using an image to conceal text
  • Masking all-white text using an all-white backdrop

Moreover, overloading online content with an abundance of keywords or key phrases is also against Google’s spam policy. Even if the influx of keywords is not presented within a group, list, or block of text, using them at a high frequency will draw undesired attention that could result in punitive action.

What are the best new SEO practices based on these changes?

Recognize that Google rewards content that is unique, informational, and customer-oriented. Such high-value content helps readers learn and ultimately solve problems. Content crafted with such standards in mind will be less likely to be caught up in the search giant’s spam filter, achieving a prominent rank in the SERPs.  Additionally, prioritizing a well-structured experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E.E.A.T.) strategy is crucial for building your brand effectively both on- and off-site.

How will this affect businesses that are trying to attract customers?

Websites featuring quality content that arms readers with valuable information for problem-solving will likely receive a boost in the SERPs as a result of the March 2024 spam update. Sites with manipulative content or that are considered to be low in quality are likely to be penalized in the SERPs.

Now is the optimal time to pivot if your site has content that is:

  • Unrelated to its domain name
  • Scaled to boost SEO
  • Jam-packed with keywords or key phrases as a component of an overarching SEO campaign

If your content is considered to be scaled, manipulative, or low-quality, revamp it, focusing on providing readers with high-quality content designed for users. Recognize that you can’t do it all on your own and lean on a proven content marketing specialist for a customized SEO strategy that ensures full compliance with Google’s new spam policy.

CSP Provides the SEO Boost Your Business Needs

Ready to navigate Google’s latest spam policy changes and boost your SEO performance? Don’t let your search rankings suffer; reach out to CSP today and supercharge your SEO strategy for sustainable growth.

CSP discusses Google’s Spam Update
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