By Kaitie Frank
13 May 2024

Site Reputation Abuse Policy Is In Full Effect


On May 6, 2024, Google started implementing manual actions for sites that were found to be abusing the new site reputation abuse policy. This move caused significant SERP volatility in the SEO industry, leading many to speculate about another algorithmic update from Google. However, Google Search Liasion Danny Sullivan clarified that the changes were due to manual penalties, not algorithmic ones. 

The site reputation abuse policy was introduced in the March 2024 updates, along with two other spam policies, expired domain abuse, and scaled content abuse. While the latter two policies went into effect in March, Google waited to implement the site reputation abuse policy to give sites time to make changes if they were in danger of violating this policy. 

Site reputation abuse is defined as publishing third-party pages with little or no first-party oversight or involvement to manipulate search engine rankings. In this scenario, the third-party publication aims to take advantage of the first-party site’s ranking signals. Google lists examples of this scenario in its documentation, including:

  • An educational site hosting a page about reviews of payday loans written by a third-party that distributes the same page to other sites across the web, with the main purpose of manipulating search rankings
  • A medical site hosting a third-party page about "best casinos" that's designed primarily to manipulate search rankings, with little to no involvement from the medical site
  • A movie review site hosting third-party pages about topics that would be confusing to users to find on a movie review site (such as "ways to buy followers on social media sites", the "best fortune teller sites", and the "best essay writing services"), where the purpose is to manipulate search rankings
  • A sports site hosting a page written by a third-party about "workout supplements reviews", where the sports site's editorial staff had little to no involvement in the content and the main purpose of hosting the page is to manipulate search rankings
  • A news site hosting coupons provided by a third-party with little to no oversight or involvement from the hosting site, and where the main purpose is to manipulate search rankings

Google states that anyone hosting pages that violate this policy must exclude third-party content from Search indexing. Barry Schwartz, of SEO Roundtable, determined that this update affected large reputable sites, including CNN, USA Today, LA Times, Fortune, Daily Mail, Outlook India, TimesUnion, PostandCouriour, and many more. 

He also noted that many “coupon” related pages were heavily targeted in the first wave of manual actions. Additionally, Glenn Gabe posted on X that sites with sponsored content related to gambling and betting are now being targeted with manual actions.



Site reputation abuse is not about linking. In an X post, Sullivan clarified that the policy looks for content abusing a site’s reputation. 

To determine if your site was affected by the site reputation abuse policy, log in to your Google Search Console and look for a manual action labeled “site reputation abuse” under manual actions. 

Kaitie Frank

Kaitie is a copywriter and content writer for Page One Power who specializes in SEO-optimized content. She has written for various niches and prides herself in knowing random tidbits of information. In addition to putting words to paper, she indulges in physical fitness and telling her cat why he is, in fact, a good boy.