Google Announces New Core Algorithm Update for Search

Get ready for fluctuations in your Google Search traffic, with Google today announcing a new “core update” to its algorithms, aimed at reducing spam and low-quality results.

Which, in theory, should be a good thing, but you never know exactly how these things are going to play out.

First off, on low quality results, Google’s looking to expand on its low quality downranking project that it initially began testing back in 2022. That experiment was aimed at removing unhelpful results.

For example, if you search for information about a new movie, you might have previously seen articles that aggregated reviews from other sites without adding perspectives beyond what’s available elsewhere. This isn’t very helpful if you’re expecting to read something new.”

Google’s been working to refine this process, and it’s now satisfied that it will work in full deployment.

As per Google:

This update involves refining some of our core ranking systems to help us better understand if webpages are unhelpful, have a poor user experience or feel like they were created for search engines instead of people. This could include sites created primarily to match very specific search queries.”

So another aim here is likely pages created with AI tools that are aligned around every possible variation of long-tail keywords that you can imagine, but at the same time, many sites, at the recommendation of SEO agencies, have likely also created very specific keyword matched pages, and this update could impact their performance.

How significant could that impact be?

“Based on our evaluations, we expect that the combination of this update and our previous efforts will collectively reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%.”

I mean, that’s a lot, and while the intention here is to knock out spam and scam sites, that could be a shift in what people are seeing in Google’s SERPs.

And Google’s next update is even more specifically aimed at mass-content generation via AI:

“We’ve long had a policy against using automation to generate low-quality or unoriginal content at scale with the goal of manipulating search rankings. This policy was originally designed to address instances of content being generated at scale where it was clear that automation was involved. Today, scaled content creation methods are more sophisticated, and whether content is created purely through automation isn’t always as clear. To better address these techniques, we’re strengthening our policy to focus on this abusive behavior — producing content at scale to boost search ranking — whether automation, humans or a combination are involved.”

Yes, Google does have its own AI content generation tools that facilitate web content creation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s endorsing the AI SEO approach that some are now taking.

To be clear, Google’s guidelines do not prohibit the use of AI for content, and they won’t penalize sites that utilize AI for such, so long as those outputs remain valuable and focused on “people first.”

But the mass spamming is against Google’s guidelines, and it’s now looking to take more action on this front.

Google’s also looking to tackle low quality, third-party content posted to high quality sites “primarily for ranking purposes”.

“For example, 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.

So people using high domain authority sites to refer to back to their low quality content could lead to penalties.

Google says that it’s implementing new rules on this front from May 5th, so if you use third party contributors, and enable them to use “do follow” links from your site, it could be worth reviewing your Pages.

Finally, Google’s also looking to combat the use of expired domains by spammers to boost their content ranking.

“Occasionally, expired domains are purchased and repurposed with the primary intention of boosting search ranking of low-quality or unoriginal content. This can mislead users into thinking the new content is part of the older site, which may not be the case. Expired domains that are purchased and repurposed with the intention of boosting the search ranking of low-quality content are now considered spam.

These are logical updates, though as anyone who’s ever analyzed any level of SEO knows, the actual impacts could be vastly different from the intended aims.

Basically, your Google Search referrals are going to be impacted, but whether that’s a positive or negative will depend on a range of elements that may require further scrutiny.

Now to start scanning through those old pages still getting traffic, and ensure the links are all good.

You can read more about Google’s coming algorithm updates here.


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