Google targets SEO-optimized low-quality pages and spam with its latest search update.

Today, Google directed its attention towards the SEO industry, which has manipulated search rankings, degrading the value of Google Search results. Often, consumers conducting web searches for product recommendations, reviews, deals, and discounts encounter low-quality or spammy websites that fail to deliver the promised expert reviews or useful promotions, despite their high ranking. This scenario is set to change with Google’s latest search update.

On Tuesday, Google unveiled a search quality update aimed at enhancing the search quality ranking of websites and updating Google Search’s spam policies. In the latter case, Google’s new policies will tackle the issue of maintaining search integrity by addressing concerns such as “expired websites repurposed as spam repositories by new owners” and obituary spam.

Overall, the update seeks to refine Google’s ranking systems to demote pages that were “created for search engines instead of for people,” as explained in the company’s announcement. This includes sites with poor user experiences or those designed to cater to a specific search query. Google anticipates that this update, coupled with its previous efforts, will reduce low-quality and unoriginal content by 40%.

While Google’s blog post doesn’t explicitly mention “artificial intelligence” or “AI,” its detailed post on Search Central does. Google elucidates the impact of this new technology on the web, highlighting how scaled content creation methods often leverage “automation.” Due to the sophistication of these technologies, it’s not always discernible whether content is human-generated, automated, or a combination of both.

Instead of focusing solely on the technology used to create content, Google will concentrate on curbing abusive practices aimed at boosting search rankings, regardless of the content’s origin. This may affect web pages masquerading as informative resources for popular search queries but ultimately fail to provide substantial value to users.

According to Google spokesperson Jennifer Kutz, the ranking changes will “directly address low-quality AI-generated content designed to attract clicks but lacking original value.” Kutz emphasized that the updates will also target other types of content, including human-generated content that adds little value for users. The overarching goal is to diminish the presence of pages that are unsatisfactory and lack original content.

Furthermore, Google’s updates will combat “site reputation abuse,” where reputable websites host low-quality third-party content in an attempt to leverage their existing reputation to deceive users. This could impact educational websites hosting payday loan reviews to gain ranking advantages, or product review sites that appear to lack genuine hands-on testing.

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