Google is Punishing Websites with Low quality and AI Generated Content

AI Generated Content

Google launched one of its biggest core algorithm updates yet in March 2024, featuring new anti spam policies to enhance search results and reduce low-quality, unoriginal content. The update aims to improve the user experience (UX) by providing more relevant and valuable content in search results. It’s also one of the most significant SEO events of the year to date.

Read on to discover what this core update means for users, webmasters and creators moving forward, and how this major update impacts search results quality.

The aim is to reduce low-quality, unoriginal content by 40-45%

The internet has always hosted loads of low-quality and unoriginal content and Google constantly releases algorithm updates to target this content and either lower it or remove it completely from search results.

The March 2024 update includes a refined ranking system to better identify and demote what it deems unhelpful or thin content that offers very little or no value to the end user.

One of the key inspirations for this latest update is the proliferation of content produced by AI. With the advent of platforms such as ChatGPT and others, the internet is now flooded with masses of new content produced and published in rapid time. While some AI content is fine, much of it is generic or even duplicated content and Google is now focusing on weeding out this thin or repetitive content produced by AI platforms.

New anti spam policies in March 2024 update

Googled rolled out three new anti spam policies with the March update. Google’s latest updates address any practices the search engine giant sees as having a negative impact on search results.

It’s important for webmasters, content creators, digital marketing companies and SEO companies to review these important updates to ensure they are not engaging in such activities. Continuing to breach Google’s new anti-spam policies will certainly lead to detrimental results as far as search engine rankings go. Google promises that sites that don’t adhere to the new policies will either drop way down in rankings or not appear in the search results at all.

Let’s now dig a little deeper into the three new anti spam policies to learn more.

Scaled content abuse

If you’re unfamiliar with scaled content, that’s a sure sign you’re not using this tactic. Scaled content abuse is when someone publishes many pages with no other purpose than to manipulate the search results. These pages offer nothing of value to the end user and are all about creating vast amounts of largely unoriginal content to increase search engine rankings for a website.

The main focus of this update is automatically-generated content. Google trains its algorithms to pick up on auto-generated content and penalise it. This includes auto-generated content by AI technology. Although scaled content policies have been in place for some time, the new updated version targets more sophisticated scaled content creation methods.

Expired domain abuse

The expired domain abuse policy is where someone purchases an expired domain for the sole purpose of filling the site with low-level content in an effort to manipulate Google’s search engine results. Note that there is nothing wrong with buying an expired domain if you populate the site with quality content. The ‘abuse’ only comes into play when someone uses the site as a pawn in manipulating results.

Those who use expired domains for nefarious purposes hope to cash in on the domain authority the site enjoyed previously. For example, let’s say the expired domain was a popular news site and someone now fills that domain with gambling-related content. The hope is to cash in on that domain’s previous authority in an effort to quickly elevate search results for the gambling content.

This manipulation doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a deliberate act carried out by people who know exactly what they’re doing and why.

Site reputation abuse

This is the practice of publishing third-party content on a website that has little or no relevance to the theme of the site. In other words, there is little or no first-party oversight or involvement. Sponsored posts, where the content is not relevant to the main site, certain forms of advertising and other content of very little relevance are examples.

This is not to say that if you publish an advertorial on your website Google will penalise you. It doesn’t consider all third-party content a violation of this policy. If you’re publishing native advertising or advertorials that have a distinct link and connection to the theme of the main site, Google allows this. Google allows third-party content so long as the content doesn’t confuse regular visitors or people arriving on your site from a Google search.

Here's what to do to ensure you don't get penalised by this update

You’ll always want Google updates to work in your favour and not against you, so here are some positive and proactive steps you can take to avoid penalties.

  1. Avoid the temptation to populate your site with AI-generated content. If you do use AI or have done so in the past, be sure to edit the output and rephrase the content to match your tone.
  2. Go through your older content and revise anything that’s thin or needs updating. Ensure everything on your website offers value.
  3. If your site contains content that violates the site reputation abuse update, you’ll either need to remove it or block the spiders from crawling those pages and indexing them to avoid penalties.
  4. If you do purchase an expired domain, always aim to populate the site with quality content that’s relevant. Never simply try to cash in on that domain’s authority with low-quality or spam content.
  5. When Google rolls out a new update, monitor Google Analytics to determine whether your site has been adversely affected. Also, regularly check Google Search Console to see if your site has received any penalties.

Have you been hit by Google’s March 2024 core update?

Is your website suffering due to the March 2024 core update rollout? Then contact our team of experts at Commonsense Marketing. We’ll evaluate and audit your site to determine its current SEO health and then formulate a strategy to get it back on track and rise up the search engine rankings once more.

Avatar for Annette Welsford

About Annette Welsford

Hi there. My passion is to inspire and help business owners to create the type of marketing and customer service that makes their business irresistible. I'm privileged to have a talented team at Commonsense Marketing who create and execute beautiful websites, engaging social media campaigns, and fantastic email campaigns that deliver results for our clients. And it's wonderful that many of them have said lots of nice things about the work we’ve done (see our case studies). We love to work with the owners and teams of small to medium sized business who are motivated to become the best in their niche and achieve more than they ever thought possible.