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Google Payday Update: Purpose, Relevance and SEO Best Practices

The Google Payday Update comprises a sequence of algorithm updates specifically designed to address "highly spammy queries" including [payday loan], explicit content, and other extensively spammed queries. The update was first launched on June 11, 2013 and has since been updated several times, with the latest version being Payday 3.0 in June 2014.

What Is the Purpose of Google Payday Update?

Google rolled out Payday update to improve the quality of its search results and to combat web spam. Web spam is any attempt to manipulate the ranking or relevance of a website or web page by using deceptive or unethical techniques. Web spam can harm the user experience and the credibility of Google as a search engine.

Some examples of web spam techniques are:

  • Keyword Stuffing: Repeating keywords excessively or irrelevantly on a web page to make it appear more relevant for those keywords.
  • Cloaking: Showing different content to users and search engines, often to hide spammy or low-quality content from users.
  • Link Schemes: Buying or exchanging links to artificially boost the popularity or authority of a website or web page.
  • Hacked Sites: Injecting malicious code or content into legitimate websites without the owner's consent, often to redirect users to spammy or harmful sites.

Google Payday update targets queries that are typically associated with web spam, such as [payday loan], [viagra], [casino], [porn] and so on. These queries tend to have a high volume of spammy or low-quality websites in the search results, which can mislead or harm users.

How Did Google Payday Update Affect Websites and SEOs in The Past?

The impact of Google Payday update varies depending on the query and the website. According to Google, the update affected about 0.3% of U.S. queries, but it went as high as 4% for Turkish queries where web spam is typically higher. The update also affected different languages to different degrees.

The websites that were hit by Google Payday update were mostly those that used web spam techniques to rank for very spammy queries. These websites saw a significant drop in their organic traffic and rankings, and some of them were even removed from the index altogether.

How Google Payday Update Separated the Winners from the Losers?

The websites that were not affected by Google Payday update were mostly those that followed Google's quality guidelines and provided useful and relevant content for their users. These websites did not see any major change in their organic traffic and rankings, and some of them even benefited from the update as their competitors were eliminated.

The SEOs who were working on websites that were hit by Google Payday update had to rethink their strategies and tactics. They had to clean up their websites from any web spam techniques and focus on creating high-quality content and building natural links. They also had to monitor their websites for any signs of hacking or negative SEO attacks.

The SEOs who were working on websites that were not affected by Google Payday update had to keep up with their best practices and stay updated with Google's algorithm changes. They also had to be careful not to use any web spam techniques or target any very spammy queries that could trigger the update.

How to Manage Payday Update and Rise in Local Search and SEO in 2023?

Google's Payday update is still relevant in 2023 for SEOs, as it shows that Google is constantly working on improving its search results and fighting web spam. Web spam is still a prevalent issue in some niches and markets, and Google is likely to continue updating its algorithms to address it.

Therefore, SEOs need to be aware of Google's quality guidelines and avoid using any web spam techniques that could harm their websites or their clients' websites. They also need to be proactive in protecting their websites from hacking or negative SEO attacks, and report any spammy or low-quality websites that they encounter in the search results.

SEOs also need to focus on creating high-quality content and building natural links that provide value for their users and their niche. They need to target relevant and user-friendly queries that match their audience's intent and needs, rather than very spammy queries that could attract unwanted attention from Google.

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