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Google Releases October 2023 Spam Update Targeting More Languages

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Google Space Invaders October Spam Update

Google has released a new spam update, the October 2023 spam update. This update goes after cloaking, hacked, auto-generated, and scraped spam. But those sites written in Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and other languages should see this more than maybe those in English languages.

This update will take a few weeks to roll out. It started yesterday, October 4th at 12:52 pm ET, as per the search status dashboard.

Below I will dive into what this update does, who it targets and what we’re seeing so far from this update (potentially). One note, this announcement was made by Duy Nguyen, a Google Search Quality Analyst.

October 2023 Google Spam Update Quick Facts

Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:

  • Name: Google October 2023 Spam Update
  • Launched: October 4, 2023 at around 12:50 pm ET
  • Rollout: It will take a few weeks to fully roll out
  • Targets: It goes after cloaking, hacked, auto-generated, and scraped spam more so in Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and other languages.
  • Penalty: It penalizes spam techniques that are against Google’s spam policies.
  • Global: This is a global update impacting all regions and languages.
  • Impact: Google would not tell me what percentage of queries or searches were impacted by this update.
  • Recover: If you were hit by this, Google said you should review its spam policies to ensure they are complying with those.
  • Refreshes: Google will do periodic refreshes to the spam update. It can take many months to recover, Google said.

Spam Update Targets:

Google said this October 2023 spam update “applies globally and improves our coverage in many languages, including Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and other languages.”

This does impact English, Google’s Search Liaison confirmed:

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This went after these types of spam:

  • Cloaking: Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content to users and search engines with the intent to manipulate search rankings and mislead users.
  • Hacked content: Hacked content is any content placed on a site without permission, due to vulnerabilities in a site’s security. Hacked content gives poor search results to our users and can potentially install malicious content on their machines.
  • Auto-generated content: Spammy automatically generated (or “auto-generated”) content is content that’s been generated programmatically without producing anything original or adding sufficient value; instead, it’s been generated for the primary purpose of manipulating search rankings and not helping users.
  • Scraped content spam: Some site owners base their sites around content taken (“scraped”) from other, often more reputable sites. Scraped content, even from high quality sources, without additional useful services or content provided by your site may not provide added value to users. It may also constitute copyright infringement. A site may also be demoted if a significant number of valid legal removal requests have been received.

Seeing Impact Yet?

It is hard to say if we are seeing the impact yet. We have been having a lot of chatter since the unconfirmed October 1st update – in fact, the chatter got a lot more heated yesterday and today. So this unconfirmed update may or may not be related to this.

I’ll share the chatter and Google tracking tools as well.

SEO Chatter:

Here is some of the recent chatter from comments from here and WebmasterWorld. Keep in mind, it might be too early to be related to this specific update:

HULK SMASH!

Yes. I too have felt the drop. Quite a big one this time around. It was steady these past few days despite the negligence. But nope Hulk arrived today and smashed the traffic to bits.

Automatic websites with AI are having a great boom after the update.

Yes, huge drop today. No reason for it.

Yes, the drop happened yesterday on 12:00 PDT. This is just latest drop after a series of drops since mid September.

Today the drop will be big. Has anyone else noticed extreme low traffic?

Here the decline continues. One day worse than the other…

My traffic drop again. I don’t know the reason. All sites except forum and brand sites have a decline of position in serp.

Insane amount of foreign spam in U.S. Google results since recent HCU update. See screenshot. Surely Google has gotta being seeing this and hopefully has a plan to tackle it. It’s showing up for so many different search terms.

There’s definitely been some more shuffling. Not sure whether it’s another small update or just something baked into the algorithm, but I’ve seen a few changes — pos. #3, #4, #5 leaping to top spot last 24 hours.

Also seeing strong but only tangibly related pages being shoe-horned into top spot for some larger queries. These sites are niche relevant unlike parasites, but don’t seem to be the best fit for the query. Of course, we know why that might be, don’t we?

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The results are still full of spam, it hasn’t kicked in. Actually I have never seen so much spam as I’m seeing right now, something is wrong I mean massively wrong. Perhaps the Hcu broke something and if they don’t fix it, it will be their demise. I’m already noticing double traffic coming from bing already since the Hcu dropped

The traffic on my website today is such that it hurts to see, it feels like now we might have to shut down the websites, and the server payment is also not being made anymore.

After the first day, I did noticed a small boost in rankings – probably because the spam sites will removed and everyone’s rankings went up in the search results.

But there’s something don’t make sense. Conversion rates crashed like others said. That doesn’t make a single sense.

After the ridiculous update, what I see currently in SERPs of my niche are 4 ads on top, plus 1 Google product, then 3 organic results, two of which are brands who already buy ads from Google (so they are already on top). Then it is my site, and other organic results. Mine and the organic result above me are the ones that are really helpful.

Again, some of these comments may not be related to this update specifically and related to something else that started on October 1st but it is impossible for me to know for sure.

Google Tracking Tools:

Here is what the Google tracking tools are showing now; keep in mind that many tools have not been fully updated, and this is a three-week rollout. Plus, generally, spam updates should not show major fluctuations in these tools, especially since this seems to target languages outside of English in a bigger way.

Semrush:

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SERPmetrics:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Accuranker:

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Mozcast:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Algoroo:

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RankRanger:

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SERPstat:

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Wincher:

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SERPwoo:

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Previous Spam Updates:

Here is a list of the previous spam updates:

What are you all seeing?

Forum discussion at X, Black Hat World and WebmasterWorld.



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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: April 19, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google is testing more ad formats for its search ads. BingBot is testing new compression methods. Google said it is unlikely your rankings would drop just because you have two or more sites. Google says the indexing API might work for unsupported formats. Google said hyphenated domains are not bad by themselves. And I posted the weekly SEO video recap.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Advertisement

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.

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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: April 18, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google Ads notified advertisers that some ad customizers will stop working soon. Google discontinued the limited use video carousel markup. Google Maps has new directions and travel features, plus a bunch of new EV features. Google Notes on Search might not end in May 2024 despite what people suggest. Google Business Profiles asked businesses to register their defibrillators, their AEDs.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Notes On Search Won’t Necessarily Go Away In May


    There have been some people noticing that the Google Notes On Search labs experiment has an end date of May 2024 and thus they are expecting Notes on Search to be turned off by then. Just because it has that end date listed, it does not mean the labs experiment will end on that date.

  • Google Maps Releases New Directions, Travel & EV Features


    Google has announced a number of new travel features with Google Maps and Travel around driving alternatives, trains and buses, travel impact mode and then some new EV driving direction features. Google says these features are to give you more “sustainable choices.”

  • Google Ads Reminds Advertisers Some Ad Customizers Will Go Away May 31st


    On August 31, 2021, Google notified advertisers it would drop support for expanded text ads for responsive search ads. Google is now reminding advertisers that Ad customizers for text ads, expanded text ads and Dynamic Search Ads will stop serving after May 31, 2024.

  • Google Drops Video Carousel Markup


    Google has discontinued its support for video carousel markup and has thus removed it from its video structured data help documentation. Initially, Google tested video carousel on a limited number of sites and is now saying that it “ultimately found that it wasn’t useful for the ecosystem at scale.”

  • Google Business Profiles Register Your Defibrillator (AED)


    Google sent out emails a couple of days ago to businesses asking them to register their Automated External Defibrillator (AED) with Google Business Profiles. Google said, “you could save lives” if you do it.



  • Google NYC Earthquake Reaction Video


    A couple of weeks ago we had an earthquake in the New York region and I finally found a video from the Google NYC office of the reaction of some Googlers while the earthquake happened. These Googlers were recording a video and felt it but were unsure if that was a real earthquake.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

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Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

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Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: April 17, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


The Google March core update still is causing volatility and it is deepening. Google may make changes to the crawl stats report in Search Console. Google Search Console now shows unused ownership tokens. Google Maps will drop the review drafts. Google Add added generative AI for image generate for Demand Gen campaigns. Google Search is testing more sitelinks designs.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Deepening Google Core Ranking Volatility Hits Yesterday & Today


    I know we just reported on more volatility this Monday, possibly related to the Google March 2024 core update, but we are seeing even more volatility over the past 24 hours related to this update. This volatility shows deepening movement for those who were hit, which is incredibly sad in many cases.

  • Google Search Console Adds Unused Ownership Tokens


    Google Search Console has a new security feature under user and permission management to help you manage your unused ownership tokens. Basically, it helps you manage who has permissions to your Search Console profiles and who should not, maybe some legacy verifications.


  • Google: Should We Explain The Crawl Stats Report in Search Console


    Martin Splitt from Google posted a one-line question asking, “Should we do something to explain the crawl stats report in GSC?” This was posted on Mastodon, which has a small audience, but the responses were pretty good.

  • New Google Ads AI Generated Image Tool For Demand Gen Campaigns


    Google Ads announced that Demand Gen campaigns are getting generative AI tools to create image assets. This is rolling out to advertisers around the world in English with more languages to come later this year, Google said.


  • Google Tests Horizontal Lines For Sitelinks & People Also Ask


    Google Search is testing horizontal lines under the sitelinks and the people also ask elements in the search results. This is a long horizontal line that goes across the while search result snippet.

  • Google Maps No Longer Will Support Draft Reviews


    Google Maps will soon stop supporting drafting reviews for local business listings and Google Business Profiles. Google said that starting July 16, 2024, review drafts will no longer be supported.

  • Doogler In Google Play Area


    Some of you love photos of dogs, so here is another one of a Doogler, a Google dog, in a play area, at the Google office. This was shared by the Life at Google Twitter account.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

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Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

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Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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