Google Search Abuse: Spamming the Search Rankings

Introduction

This “Google Search Abuse” article is a continuation or annex to the previously written Google Update March 2024 article, so make sure you read that first. In this blog post I’ll try to simplify the Google jargons to a more humanly understandable description and dig a bit deeper into what exactly are these methods and how to avoid being penalized.

They are saying that the new Google algorithm update is a more advanced and more complex algorithm update then any of their previous updates. These new systems have as main objectives: 

  • Penalizing parasite SEO as much as possible
  • Reducing the amount of expired domain spam
Google Search Abuse: Spamming the Search Rankings, article by Attila Bögözi

They are going to be focusing more and more on user engagement signals, traffic signals, and similar types of signals, as well as E-E-A-T, which has been on the radar for a while now.

If you are producing high-quality, original content you won’t have to worry about any of these issues, but if you are using these 3 common SEO practices your website(s) might be in trouble.

Google Search Abuse techniques:

  1. Expired domain abuse
  2. Scaled content abuse
  3. Site reputation abuse (Parasite SEO)

What is expired domain abuse?

Expired domain abuse is a tactic where someone registers a domain name that has expired (previously in use by another website) with the intention of manipulating search rankings, not providing valuable content. This manipulation often involves leveraging the existing authority or backlinks the domain might have accumulated from its previous life.

Here’s how the expired domain SEO technique works:

  • A domain name expires if the owner forgets to renew it.
  • Domain abusers then snatch up these expired domains, especially ones with a history of good traffic or backlinks.
  • They build a new website on the domain, but instead of creating high-quality content relevant to the domain’s past reputation, they focus on stuffing it with keywords or churning out low-quality affiliate content.
  • The hope is to trick search engines into thinking the new website is still relevant and trustworthy due to the domain’s past. This can lead the new, low-quality site to rank higher than it deserves.

Examples of expired domain abuse:

  • Registering an expired domain from a trusted government website and using it to host a casino affiliate website.
  • Taking over an expired domain that used to be a popular tech blog and turning it into a site full of thin content about unrelated products.

Google Search Update (March 2024) specifically targets expired domain abuse, making it harder for these manipulative tactics to succeed.

What is scaled content abuse?

Scaled content abuse refers to the practice of automatically generating vast amounts of low-quality content with the sole purpose of manipulating search engine rankings. This content is often nonsensical, irrelevant to user search intent, and offers no real value. Essentially generating massive amount of content with AI which has no sense and offers no value to the user.

Here’s a breakdown of the issue:

  • Abusers create software or automated scripts that can churn out massive amounts of content, sometimes even rewriting existing content to appear “unique” to search engines.
  • This content is then published across a network of websites controlled by the abuser.
  • The goal is to overwhelm search engines with seemingly relevant content, hoping some of it will rank well and attract visitors (often unknowingly).
  • These websites typically generate little to no user engagement and often rely on intrusive ads for revenue.

Examples of scaled content abuse:

  • Automatically generating thousands of articles with minor variations on a single topic, aiming to saturate search results.
  • Creating nonsensical content filled with keywords but lacking any real information or value to the reader.
  • Using website scraping tools to rewrite existing content and publish it on multiple domains.

Google’s update aims to identify and demote content generated through such practices, ensuring search results prioritize high-quality, informative content.

What is site reputation abuse (Parasite SEO)?

Site reputation abuse, also known as parasite SEO, involves exploiting the reputation of established websites to improve the ranking of another website. Essentially using popular website’s reputation to gain fake and/or irrelevant backlinks to your website.

Here’s how the parasite SEO technique works:

  • Abusers try to piggyback on the authority and backlinks of well-respected websites.
  • This can involve tactics like:
    • Comment spam: Leaving irrelevant comments on blogs or forums with links back to their own website.
    • Guest posting spam: Submitting low-quality guest posts to established websites with links back to their own site.
    • Mention spam: Unnaturally mentioning a target website’s name repeatedly to try and create an association.
  • The goal is to trick search engines into thinking the abuser’s website is somehow related to the reputable website, boosting its ranking in search results.

Examples of site reputation abuse:

  • Leaving spam comments on a popular news website’s articles with links back to a low-quality product page.
  • Writing guest posts for a tech blog that are irrelevant to the blog’s audience and only contain links to boost the abuser’s own website.
  • Forcing mentions of a competitor’s website into unrelated blog content to try and create an artificial connection.

Conclusion

Google’s update aims to identify and penalize websites that rely on these manipulative tactics to improve their website ranking.

Now, one thing is still not clear to me, how will Google tackle if somebody else (your competition for example) is using these abusive techniques against your website?.. this question remains unanswered, but I’ll make sure to post a new blog article when I find out the answer.

Follow along and explore more Search Engine Optimization related content on my blog, where I write about simple and sophisticated methods but also methods to avoid, like the content keywords stuffing.

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