Google October 2022 Spam Update: What You Need To Know 

Over the last few months, service area business websites have seen fluctuations in how they’re ranking in search engines, as a result of Google’s October 2022 spam update.  

This most recent update started rolling out on October 19, 2022, and finished on October 21, 2022. Google’s last spam update prior to this was in November 2021. 

What is a Spam Update?  

Google’s automated systems to detect search spam are constantly operating in the background, unnoticed by users.  

Occasionally, however, they make improvements that are notable. This is one.  

Sites that violate Google’s spam policies may rank lower in search results or not appear in search results at all. 

In the case that your site experiences drastic changes in search rankings — especially after the October 21 update — you should review Google’s newest spam policies to ensure your site complies with Google’s changes.  

Quickly making updates to maintain compliance may improve your rankings as Google’s automated systems learn, over a period of months, that the site complies with Google’s spam policies. 

Deindexing Duplicate Location Pages 

Most businesses whose sites were impacted by this update seemed to take a hit for duplicate content, specifically location pages—or doorway pages. When Google flagged these pages, it didn’t directly penalize the site’s ranking.  

Instead, it automatically deindexed those pages, which, in turn, caused the ranking for search queries related to those corresponding location pages to drop.  

“If you notice large ranking or traffic changes from your organic Google search results, you may have been hit by this spam update. Spam updates target specific guideline violations. This update may have been more focused on content spam efforts,” according to Google. 

If you’re uncertain of why you’ve been penalized, and you’re looking for a source, duplicate content or location pages are a good place to start.  

What Are Doorway Pages? 

A doorway page is written to rank for a certain keyword or keywords, but not to benefit search engine users. In local SEO, these location pages exist only to rank by duplicating its content, where specific keywords like the city name are swapped out, leaving the rest of the page identical to the original. 

Doorway pages have always been against Google’s policies but had never been closely monitored until this year.  

It seems Google deindexing duplicate location pages is the first step in the effort to prohibit the use of doorway pages that don’t benefit user experience, rather than influence rank.  

With that, it’s good practice to ensure you’re considering how the content you share will benefit users, then how it can be optimized to rank. 

What This Means for Socius Customers 

This update is unlikely to impact our day-to-day, as we always follow Google’s best practices.   

However, if you’ve experienced a sudden drop in rankings or traffic since October 2022, your site might have been hit by this most recent update.  

In this case, we should review your content and look into ways to make your site more credible and helpful to users. If you have any questions or would like to find out how Socius can help your website speak to your ideal client and rank well in search engines, schedule a consultation now.

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