Google To Weed Out Low Quality Sites

John Lister's picture

Google says its next search algorithm update will dramatically reduce the number of low quality results people see. It's particularly targeting sites that prioritize getting high search rankings over providing useful content for readers.

The company says tests of the new algorithm showed that, when combined with a similar update in 2022, it reduced "low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%." Of course, that measurement involves a subjective measure of what content qualifies as low-quality. (Source:

Quality Over Quantity

According to Google, the algorithm update tackles three ways in which website creators attempting to get high search rankings works against the interests of readers. The first is what it calls "scaled content abuse." That's any form of automation that creates low-quality content "at scale".

Google now says it will pay less attention to whether it thinks humans or computers (including AI tools) created the content and more on the results. It says its targeting sites with a large number of pages that offer little to no value, such as "pages that pretend to have answers to popular searches but fail to deliver helpful content." (Source:

Reputations At Stake

The second tactic under fire is what Google calls "Site reputation abuse". That's where respected and credible websites host a section with low-quality content from third parties. This tactic aims to take advantage of the weight that Google's algorithm gives to the reputation of a website. This can be based on the organization that runs the site and how many other reputable sites link to it.

Google says it will start downgrading such content, overriding the fact its hosted on a site with a strong reputation. Sites have until May 5th, 2024 to change or remove such content before facing the consequences.

Finally, the update will tackle "expired domain abuse." That's where people buy a domain name that used to belong to a reputable, high profile website and use it to publish low quality content. They hope to get unfair credit for the site's past reputation - something Google says will no longer work.

What's Your Opinion?

Are these sensible changes? Do you think they will make much difference? What factors would you like to see determine search results?

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Dennis Faas's picture

If you are a webmaster, your site may be unfairly targeted by this "quality" update, speaking from experience. I guarantee there is going to be sites that will be unfairly punished and have the majority, if not all of their traffic taken away as a result of this update. This is the sad reality of how Google enforces their infallible "one size fits all" approach whenever they release these type of updates.