Google Releases October 2023 Spam Update Targeting More Languages
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:
Yes, all languages.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 4, 2023
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.
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?
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.
Previous Spam Updates:
Here is a list of the previous spam updates:
- December 14, 2022: Released the December 2022 link spam update. The rollout was complete as of January 12, 2023
- October 19, 2022: Released the October 2022 spam update. The rollout was complete as of October 21, 2022.
- November 3, 2021: Released the November 2021 spam update. The rollout was complete as of November 11, 2021 and seemed significant.
- July 26, 2021: Released the July 2021 link spam update. The rollout was complete as of August 24, 2021.
- June 28, 2021: Released the second part of the June 2021 spam update. The rollout was completed later that same day.
- June 23, 2021: Released the first part of the June 2021 spam update. The rollout was completed later that same
What are you all seeing?