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Google Rolls Out October 2023 Spam Update

Google is enhancing its scam detection mechanisms. The October 2023 Spam Update promises to stop spammers in their tracks and provide searchers with high-quality results. Let’s take a look at what this means for you and your website.

What is the October 2023 Spam Update?

The October 2023 Spam Update intends to reduce the number of spam results that are displayed to users worldwide.

Google currently relies on a mix of automated spam-fighting systems and human review to identify and demote pages and sites that violate its policies. One of these systems, which is called SpamBrain, uses AI and machine learning to spot spam tactics. Google believes that by periodically releasing updates like the October 2023 Spam Update, it can stay ahead of spammers and ensure that users are continually seeing high-quality results.

Specifically, the latest Google Spam Update targets cloaking, hacked, auto-generated and scraped spam content in multiple languages, including Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi and Chinese. Google says that the update was prompted by feedback from its community members who reported seeing an increasing number of spam results in their native language. By improving its spam detection capabilities, the search giant believes that it will provide users with more relevant and valuable search results more regularly.

The roll out is expected to continue for a few weeks. In the meantime, Google is encouraging users to send feedback through its spam reporting tool. Sites impacted by the new spam filters are encouraged to review Google’s policies and ensure they comply.

What does Google Consider to be ‘Spam’?

At times, Google can be frustratingly opaque about the way it ranks search results. However, the company’s documentation relating to spam is clear about what it does and doesn’t allow. Google believes all of the following practices are spammy or misleading:

  • Hidden text or links that users don’t see but search engines do
  • Automatically generated content that provides little or no added value for users
  • Large-scale article scraping without permission
  • Pages that load with distracting ads that provide a poor user experience
  • Affiliate pages with thin content that are focused heavily on monetisation

In addition to this, Google also says that it may tag a site as being spammy if it engages in practices such as cloaking, sneaky redirects or creating so called ‘doorway’ pages. Essentially, if a website looks as though it is trying to deliberately trick a search engine or a user in any way, it will be marked as spam.

Plus, it’s also worth noting that Google’s guidelines advise against overly aggressive commercial tactics like false claims, and misrepresenting products or services.

What Does this Mean for Me?

The good news is that the vast majority of websites will be unaffected by the latest Spam Update. If you’re providing content in good faith and you’re offering an honest and transparent user experience, then Google is highly unlikely to penalise you in any way.

However, if you’ve noticed a change in your rankings or you believe that you’ve been penalised by any recent Google algorithm updates, then please get in touch. We’d love to chat to you about the issues you’re facing and discuss how we can improve your website’s performance.

Get in Touch

Concerned you’re not pursuing the right strategy? Worried you’re not getting the results you should be? Let us know. We’ll take a look for free and give you our honest verdict.

Alternatively, if you’d like to have an informal discussion about the results we can help you achieve, get in touch. We’d love to meet you for a chat over a coffee or a beer.

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  • Tom Brook

    Tom has more than 10 years of experience working in copywriting, content strategy and PR. Over the years, he’s led one of the largest copywriting teams in the UK and has worked on a freelance basis for some of the country’s biggest brands.