Google Began Enforcing The Site Reputation Abuse Policy Last Night

May 7, 2024 - 7:51 am 279 by

Google Swat Team

Google said it began to enforce its new site reputation abuse policy last night. The policy went into effect on Sunday, May 5th, but Google did not announce it would take action until last night. As a reminder, this should target sites doing what some call "Parasite SEO."

It seems some large "reputable" sites were hit by this update, including CNN, USA Today, LA Times, Fortune, Daily Mail, Outlook India, TimesUnion, PostandCourier, SFGATE and many more. Google specifically targeted these sites using manual actions, where Google manually took action on these sites and notified them of these actions with a message in Google Search Console. These are not algorithmic actions.

As a reminder, on March 5th, Google released new spam policies and a spam update including scaled content and expired domain abuse. But said the site reputation abuse policy would go live only after May 5th. That date has come and Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, said on X yesterday:

It'll be starting later today. While the policy began yesterday, the enforcement is really kicking off today.

Sullivan later told me on X, "we're only doing manual actions right now." "The algorithmic component will indeed come, as we've said, but that's not live yet," he added.

And it seems Google has already started to drop these sites from showing this type of content. CNN, USA Today, LA Times and others all left those coupon directories open for Google as of last night and then all saw those pages no longer rank in Google Search last night.

I am not seeing a lot of people share screenshots of manual actions but I did spot one site owner say they received this manual action. They posted in the Google Webmaster Help forum saying:

We have a section on the website for brands to promote.

Nofollow attribute is already implemented on these articles which falls under brand category.

Still we got manual action: Site Reputation Abuse for this category.

How to fix that?

Brodie Clark also secured a screenshot of this manual action, here is that screenshot:

Site Reputation Abuse Manual Action Screenshot

Here are examples of sites hit by this site reputation abuse enforcement from last night:

As Glenn wrote, "Google has already released the Kraken."

Google said it will take action on this policy abuse both algorithmically and through manual actions. Many sites, not all, already removed sections of their sites that would get hit by this penalty prior to Google enforcing it. This includes sites like Forbes coupons, but many many more big brands removed these types of sections on their websites.

As a reminder, site reputation abuse "is when third-party pages are published with little or no first-party oversight or involvement, where the purpose is to manipulate Search rankings by taking advantage of the first-party site's ranking signals," Chris Nelson from the Google Search Quality team wrote. This includes sponsored, advertising, partner, or other third-party pages that are typically independent of a host site's main purpose or produced without close oversight or involvement of the host site, and provide little to no value to users, he explained.

I am not posting the aggregate Google tracking tools because I posted them in my previous story and this is a targeted hit that only impacts sites with that rent out sections of their domain. So this would not hit a huge number of web sites like big algorithmic updates...

If you got hit by this, follow the instructions in the manual action notice you received in Google Search Console. There is also more documentation on this penalty over here.

I am not sure if Google will notify us of when algorithmic action will take place on this policy...

Forum discussion at X.

 

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