November 2023 Google Core Algorithm Update Rolls Out

Google’s site reputation abuse policy which was warned back in March 2024 has started rolling out from today – Tuesday 7th May 2024.

Google’s new site reputation abuse policy will de-rank and even deindex infringing portions of websites found to be abusing site authority to push unrelated content in SERPs.

The update has been a while coming. For anyone that has searched for a best of list or coupon search and been greeted with endless results from large news websites or publishers, then you’ll know the problem first-hand.

What Exactly is Site Reputation Abuse?

Site reputation abuse or parasite SEO as it is commonly referred to is when websites with significant authority utilise their trust to push an irrelevant product offering. From Google’s “New ways we’re tackling spammy, low-quality content on Search” document that was released back on the 5th March 2024, Google gave us a clear idea of what it was going after in saying that the update would go after:

Third-party content produced primarily for ranking purposes and without close oversight of a website owner to be spam.

Google gave some examples of how site reputation abuse may manifest.

A third party might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain ranking benefits from the site. Such content ranking highly on Search can confuse or mislead visitors who may have vastly different expectations for the content on a given website.

Why the Site Reputation Abuse Policy Update Needed to Happen

Over the last few years, large publishers and news websites in the US like Forbes, CNN, LA Times, the Daily Mail, have been leveraging significant domain strength to push coupon and affiliate sections of their websites.

In Australia, it’s been news websites like Channel 7, Channel 9, and the Daily Mail that have been some of the biggest offenders.

Here is a look at how those various sub-folders and sub-directories containing this content have performed to date.

nine site reputation abuse example site reputation abuse example

Daily Mail Discount Code Section of Website

daily mail site reputation abuse example

Better Homes & Gardens

better homes and gardens site reputation abuse example

7 news site reputation abuse example

If we take a look at some examples below, we’ll see just how serious the update has been for these publishers.

SERP Changes for 'Woolworths Promo Code'

Woolworths coupon site reputation abuse example

SERP Changes for 'Step One Discount Code'

step one coupon site reputation abuse example

SERP Changes for 'Good Guys Promo Code'

SERP Changes for 'Good Guys Promo Code'

As we can see, the impact of the site reputation abuse policy update has been swift. From this morning to this afternoon, the SERPs for coupon results have been turned upside down.

The Update Will Happen in Two Parts

Google has confirmed that the actions which we are seeing today on Tuesday 7th May 2024 are the result of manual actions which site owners will be made aware of through a Google Search Console manual action notification stating:

“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.”

From what we can see, Google is going after the biggest offenders in each region with manual actions that are essentially wiping them from page one of the search results to oblivion (page 6 onwards in the above examples). It’s important to note that Google has not de-indexed most of these sites, they are simply de-ranking them – although it’s early days, more could well follow.

Once the manual actions have rolled out, Google will then move to the algorithmic component of the update which will affect many more low-scale offenders.

safari digital call to action