Reminder: New Google Search reputation abuse policy starts soon

Google’s new Search spam policy around reputation abuse – or what SEOs have referred to as “parasite SEO” – will take effect “after May 5,” according to Google. May 5 is this Sunday.

We knew this was coming. Google told us this change was coming in March, when Google announced multiple search enhancements, which also included the March 2024 core update (which completed April 19) and spam updates (which completed March 20).

Google’s reminder. Google Search Central posted on X:

“As a reminder, the last part of the March 2024 announcements, the new Google Search spam policies about reputation abuse, take effect after May 5, 2024. Find out more about these changes in the blog post and in our policies at”

What is site reputation abuse? When third-party sites host low-quality content provided by third parties to piggyback on the ranking power of those third-party websites. As Google told us in March:

“A third party might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain ranking benefit from the site.”

“Such content ranking highly in Search can confuse or mislead visitors who may have vastly different expectations for the content on a given website.”

Under Google’s new policy, site reputation abuse is defined as “third-party content produced primarily for ranking purposes and without close oversight of a website owner” and “intended to manipulate Search rankings” will be considered spam.

But. Not all third-party content will be considered spam, as Google explained:

“Many publications host advertising content that is intended for their regular readers, rather than to primarily manipulate Search rankings. Sometimes called ‘native advertising’ or ‘advertorial,’ this kind of content typically wouldn’t confuse regular readers of the publication when they find it on the publisher’s site directly or when arriving at it from Google’s search results.”

Google said in March that it would start to take both automated and manual actions on this abuse starting May 5. Now that time is just a few days away.

Why we care. Many SEO have been complaining about the harm and unfairness that comes from parasite SEO. With so many complaints about the quality of Search results lately, we’ll see whether this helps deal with the problem.