Google Cracks Down on Site Reputation Abuse

Google has started enforcing its Site Reputation Abuse policy, a crucial step in maintaining a safe and trustworthy search environment.

The first reported rollout seems to be on the 6th May 2024.

Google says that this policy targets websites with abusive or harmful content, protecting users from potential threats. Although, it is widely unknown how coupon sites that are the primary target were harmful to users ?

Sites like CNN, LA times and others have seen substantial drop in rankings for their subdomains , predominantly the coupon sites. and sites were completely deindexed and other sites were severely hit.

A number of users are also reporting that manual penalties are now following original algorithm release on 6th May 2024.
One of the major difference between the site reputation abuse and the helpful content update is that the site reputation abuse is specifically limited to certain sections of the site like subdomains and doesn’t seem to impact the overall site.

On the contrary the HCU broadly penalized a large portion of the site for being low quality and requires large content improvements to recover.

What is Site Reputation Abuse?

Site Reputation Abuse refers to websites that engage in harmful or deceptive practices, including:

  • Misleading or deceptive content: Websites with false or misleading information, such as fake news, scams, or phishing schemes.
  • Manipulative or deceptive behavior: Sites using manipulative tactics to deceive users, such as fake reviews, hidden content, or misleading advertising.
  • Untrustworthy or harmful business practices: Websites with questionable business practices, such as selling counterfeit products, or engaging in fraudulent activities.

Google’s Ongoing Efforts

Google has repeatedly said that it continuously updates its policies and algorithms to combat abuse and misinformation.

This enforcement is part of their ongoing efforts to:

  • Improve search quality: Provide users with trustworthy and relevant search results.
  • Fight misinformation: Reduce the spread of harmful or false information.
  • Protect users: Safeguard users from potential threats, such as phishing or fraud.

Google further added that

“Many publications host advertising content that is intended for their regular readers, rather than to primarily manipulate Search rankings. Sometimes called ‘native advertising’ or ‘advertorial,’ this kind of content typically wouldn’t confuse regular readers of the publication when they find it on the publisher’s site directly or when arriving at it from Google’s search results.”

One can only wonder if Google made this update specifically to make room for their own AI answers after their recent partnership with reddit ?