Google’s Spam Update Triggers Widespread Discontent

  • June 21, 2024
  • SEO
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The search marketing community has historically viewed Google’s spam updates positively. However, the recent announcement has resonated negatively with many search marketers and publishers. They are still dealing with the impact of the past six months of disruptive updates and the roll-out of AI Overviews, widely perceived as a threat to organic traffic.

The overall sentiment regarding Google’s latest spam update is predominantly critical.

Not The Update Publishers Are Waiting For

The March 2024 Core Update from Google, which took approximately 45 days to complete, significantly affected the rankings of numerous site owners. Despite Google discontinuing its Helpful Content system (HCU), many affected publishers and SEO professionals are still waiting for an update to rectify what they perceive as a flawed previous iteration.

One individual tweeted:

“@JohnMu @searchliaison can this update remove the sitewide classifier still applied to sites since last September HCU? Or do we need to wait for a larger core update?”

Another shared their frustration through humor, displaying a screenshot indicating their web traffic had dwindled to just six organic visitors:

“Google is coming after my last 6 organic visitors🤣 Bring it on! Let’s see if we get to 0.”

Another user expressed a sense of defeat after losing 95% of their traffic from previous updates:

“Honestly, it doesn’t matter what update you have under your sleeve. I’m uninstalling Google Site Kit from my site. Seeing constant, declining charts and figures every time I log into WordPress is demoralizing. They remind me that I’ve lost 95% of my traffic for no reason at all.”

A tweet that encapsulates the prevailing sentiment that Google’s updates are misguided:

“Your harmful monopoly is ruining the internet. Every one of your updates kills more independent websites while boosting spam.”

Another individual commented:

“Google has turned many helpful websites into lost places”

It appears that Google’s recent updates may have missed their intended mark. However, some of those affected might be suffering due to a redefined approach by Google towards site quality and relevance. Many hope for a reversal in Google’s strategy.

Backlash Against Pinterest in SERPs

Some criticisms are directed at Google’s preferences in ranking certain websites. One user questioned if the spam update would change Google’s tendency to prioritize Pinterest over their own brand website:

“Does this update means that Google will start to show my website when users make a “brand search” instead of my pins on pinterest?”

Backlash About Reddit in SERPs

Another common grievance relates to the perception that Google ranks Reddit too prominently for various queries.

One user expressed their frustration:

“Reddit is the only spam in the SERP right now”

This sentiment was echoed by others, such as this user stating:

“Interesting to see Google roll out a spam update! I wonder how it will affect Reddit’s ranking in search results. Personally, I haven’t found a lot of truly helpful content there, Reddit is just spamming in search result.”

What About The Site Reputation Update?

Site reputation abuse occurs when digital marketers publish content on third-party websites to exploit their established reputations for quick rankings, bypassing the effort needed to build and promote a new website.

Google SearchLiaison was asked whether this spam update includes algorithmic measures against site reputation abuse, to which they responded in the negative. Google has previously mentioned a future algorithmic approach to tackle this issue but clarified it was not part of the current update.

SearchLiaison clarified:

“For the third time now, I’ll say again, I have every confidence that when we’re acting on site reputation abuse algorithmically, we’ll say that. It’s not right now. I also won’t be responding to this particular question every week so maybe let it go a month between asking (I don’t mean that as harsh as it sounds just that it’s not useful or productive for me to do the “are we there yet” over and over again)”

SearchLiaison followed up:

“I mean I’d figure most wondering about this would know it’s a standard spam update given there’s no blog post, no “FYI things to know” and it’s just a regular posting to our dashboard.

That said, I know people are asking Barry even though I’ve said what I just said above at least twice before. So I figured if I’m going to say it at least a third time, I’ll try again to explain why it’s not really something to ask about each week.”

No Description Of Spam Update

Google rarely announces changes to its ranking algorithm unless they expect the impact to be significant, which suggests this update is particularly notable given its predicted week-long rollout. Typically, Google accompanies such updates with a comprehensive blog post explaining their objectives. The absence of such an elucidation has contributed to the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding this update.

Google Has A Sentiment Problem

The combination of recent updates, including AI Overviews and the Helpful Content Update from late 2023, has exacerbated negative sentiment within the digital marketing community. Recent leaks, even though they revealed little new information, have fueled long-standing suspicions and accusations against Google. This growing discontent isn’t limited to search marketers but extends to independent web publishers and large news organizations as well.

The accumulated negative sentiment over the past year is so pronounced that even standard spam updates, which would traditionally be received positively, are now met with skepticism and criticism.

Read Google’s spam announcement:

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Cast Of Thousands

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