Policy Circumvention: Google Adds New Spam Policy

2 min read

Google recently introduced an update to its Spam Policy, incorporating a fresh clause called “Policy Circumvention.” This addition was publicly shared on the Google Developers Page. Policy Circumvention empowers Google to respond to websites that persistently seek ways to evade the spam policy, engaging in deceptive practices to secure a presence in search results. If your website falls into this category, it’s crucial to consider the potential consequences carefully: Google may take action against either the content or the website itself.
In conjunction with existing measures, this policy serves as a safeguard for users within the search engine ecosystem, aimed at enhancing the overall quality of search results.

Google states its Spam Policies for Google Web Search quite elaborately and clearly:

“Our spam policies help protect users and improve the quality of search results. To be eligible to appear in Google web search results (web pages, images, videos, news content or other material that Google finds from across the web), content shouldn’t violate Google Search’s overall policies or the spam policies listed on this page. These policies apply to all web search results, including those from Google’s own properties.”

What is Policy Circumvention?

According to the Google Documentation:

“If you engage in actions intended to bypass our spam or content policies for Google Search, undermine restrictions placed on content, a site, or an account, or otherwise continue to distribute content that has been removed or made ineligible from surfacing, we may take appropriate action which could include restricting or removing eligibility for some of our search features (for example, Top Stories, Discover). Circumvention includes but is not limited to creating or using multiple sites or other methods intended to distribute content or engage in a behaviour that was previously prohibited.”

In straightforward terms, as previously mentioned, if you manage to circumvent Google’s Spam Policy through a loophole or similar means, your website could face penalties. These penalties may involve a drop in your current rankings or, in severe cases, the complete removal of your website from search results.

Google’s Spam Policies in General

Google’s Spam Policies encompass a broad spectrum of practices and issues, which include Cloaking, Doorways, Hacked Content, Hidden Texts and Links, Keyword Stuffing, Link Spam, Machine-Generated Traffic, Malware and Malicious Behaviors, Misleading Functionality, Scraped Content, Sneaky Redirects, Spammy Auto-Generated Content, Thin Affiliate Pages, User-Generated Spam, and the recent addition of Policy Circumvention. Furthermore, adjustments have been made to areas such as Copyright Removal Requests and Online Harassment Removals, which now fall under Legal Removals and Personal Information Removals.

The end result remains the same: “We detect policy-violating content and behaviours both through automated systems and, as needed, human review that can result in a manual action. Sites that violate our policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all.”