Google Expands Campaign to Target Misleading Content
Google recently announced an expansion of ongoing campaigns to craft a safer, more reliable and, ultimately, more satisfying online user experience. The latest iteration of this campaign focuses on protecting users’ abilities to interact with content without encountering misleading or malicious content.
These misleading activities, termed “abusive experiences” by Google, range from phishing campaigns to automatic site redirection and much more. Site owners only have a 30-day window, through December 2018, to take corrective action or face an automatic block of all site content from the latest Chrome update.
What Activities Qualify as “Abusive Experiences”?
While Google’s announcement comes as a welcome step in the right direction to improve overall quality of online experiences, it leaves many site owners and advertisers wondering which activities Google considers abusive. Fortunately, Google clarified that abusive experiences are activities which deliver negative user experiences, mislead consumers and include the following elements:
- Phishing ads targeting users’ personal information
- Auto redirecting to a new page without a user’s permission or action
- Misleading advertisements depicting non-existent businesses
- Malware or unsolicited software installation
- Fake messages which resemble warnings, chat applications and more
- Unexpected click areas which lead to ads or landing pages
- Misleading site behavior such as scroll bars which lead to ads and landing pages
- Mouse pointers which try to trick users into interaction
SMBs Must Take Advantage of the Relatively Short Grace Period
Google plans to roll out the updated browser, Chrome 71, which will incorporate the blocking feature for sites deemed abusive. At this stage, all indicators point to the fact that Google initially intended to target advertisers and sites which routinely abuse users by employing the deceptive practices listed above. SMBs not currently employing deceptive advertising tactics need not fear this latest development, but should still seek to cover all bases by quickly utilizing the Abusive Experiences Report feature in Google Search Console. This tool may help determine the presence of ads which must be rapidly removed or changed to strip them of abusive experiences.
Uncertain Future Implications for SEO
At this early stage, there are more questions than answers concerning additional future measures Google will take to grow and enhance the quality of online experiences for users or how these updates will affect SEO rankings. Fortunately, indicators currently show that SMBs should continue to optimize site content for mobile devices, host high quality written content and seek to avoid misleading advertising tactics to stay ahead of the power curve and boost SEO rankings. The upcoming months promise to offer additional pieces to the ever-shifting SEO puzzle and Google’s dynamic role leading its transformation.