Impact of Google’s updated site reputation abuse policy on affiliate marketers

Google’s new site reputation abuse policy, effective May 2024, impacts affiliate marketers by penalizing deceptive third-party content practices. Learn how affiliates can adapt and thrive under these new guidelines with strategic partnerships and compliance measures that enhance user experience and maintain revenue streams.

Google's updated
Jerrid Grimm
Jerrid Grimm
Publisher Marketing Director
Read time: 5 mins

In March 2024, Google updated its Search Console guidelines to include a section under Spam Policies focused on site reputation abuse. The policy states that any website that engages in deceptive practices may receive a manual action from Google, which can lead to lower search rankings or even removal from the search results entirely.

Google illustrates site reputation abuse through several examples including:

  • A sports site hosting a page written by a third-party about “workout supplements reviews”, where the sports site’s editorial staff had little to no involvement in the content and the main purpose of hosting the page is to manipulate search rankings
  • A news site hosting coupons provided by a third-party with little to no oversight or involvement from the hosting site, and where the main purpose is to manipulate search rankings

The new policies went into effect on May 5, 2024, and this shift has potential implications for brands, publishers, and coupon platforms. To understand these changes, let’s examine Google’s new policy and discuss how it affects affiliates.

Key takeaways from this blog
  1. Google’s updated site reputation abuse policy, effective May 5, 2024, penalizes websites hosting third-party content with little oversight to manipulate search rankings, potentially lowering their search visibility and organic traffic.
  2. Affiliates, especially those in news, review, and deal sites, must closely involve themselves in content curation to avoid penalties and maintain search traffic under Google’s new guidelines.
  3. Platforms like support affiliates by fostering direct partnerships and ensuring compliance with Google’s policies, enhancing user experience, and sustaining revenue streams.

What is site reputation abuse?

According to Google Documentation “Site reputation abuse is when third-party pages are published with little or no first-party oversight or involvement, where the purpose is to manipulate search rankings by taking advantage of the first-party site’s ranking signals. Such third-party pages include sponsored, advertising, partner, or other third-party pages that are typically independent of a host site’s main purpose or produced without close oversight or involvement of the host site, and provide little to no value to users.”

Google’s new policy on site reputation abuse

Google’s updated policy states that any website found to engage in deceptive practices will receive a manual action, which can negatively impact their search rankings. This means that websites using these tactics may see a decrease in organic traffic and potential revenue.

This specific section on site reputation abuse is a part of Google’s broader Spam Policies. The initiative emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive user experience for visitors. Websites with excessive ads, pop-ups, malware, or sites that use generative AI tools to generate many pages without adding value for users will also be penalized under the broader policy.

Will this affect all coupon sites?

Not all deal and coupon pages are targeted. The policy focuses on content published by third parties without publisher oversight. According to Google, examples that are NOT considered site reputation abuse include coupons that are listed with close involvement of the hosting site. This likely means that a site curating its own coupons and deals should remain unaffected.

What are the implications for affiliates?

Many affiliates, including news, review, and deal sites, rely heavily on organic search traffic to drive sales and earn commissions. However, with Google’s new site reputation abuse policy, some websites may experience a decline in traffic. Adhering to the search giant’s policies is the best way to avoid this, and it may require publishers to play a more active role in partnering with brands and curating offers for audiences.

As always, affiliates should prioritize creating a positive user experience on their websites. This aligns with Google’s policy and helps build trust with visitors, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

What is the significance of this policy for different segments?

Brands that collaborate with third-party companies to curate and manage coupon and deal content on various sites may be affected. With Google’s policy change, traffic and conversions from these partnerships could decrease. We encourage brands and agencies to open discussions with these ecosystem partners to better understand the effects.

Content and news publishers often rely on third-party managed pages to deliver deals and offers. Google’s new policy threatens this monetization channel, affecting their ability to provide valuable content to users. Publishers can take steps to involve more first-party oversight in content creation, curation, and promotion of offers to their audiences. provides an easy way to form direct partnerships with brands through the Marketplace.

Coupon and deal platforms that syndicate content onto other websites may see a dramatic reduction in affiliate revenue. These platforms are encouraged to explore new collaboration methods with publishers and brands, leveraging’s contracting, tracking, and reporting features suite. 


1. What is Google's site reputation abuse policy and how does it affect affiliate marketers?

Google’s site reputation abuse policy, updated in March 2024, penalizes websites that host third-party content with little oversight to manipulate search rankings. This could potentially lead to lower search visibility and reduced organic traffic for affiliate marketers.

2. How can affiliates avoid penalties under Google's new site reputation abuse policy?

Affiliates can avoid penalties by ensuring close involvement in creating and curating content, prioritizing a positive user experience, and adhering to Google’s guidelines to maintain search visibility and revenue.

3. Will all coupon sites be affected by Google's site reputation abuse policy?

Not all coupon sites will be targeted; the policy primarily affects those publishing third-party content without oversight. Sites that curate their own deals and maintain editorial involvement are less likely to be impacted.’s commitment to supporting affiliates is actively monitoring this development, recognizing its complexity beyond Google’s rationale. Third party coupon, deal, and review providers play an important role in the affiliate ecosystem. Many generalist sites partner with these third parties to enhance user information. For example, a news site may not have the resources to curate deals but can help users find value through third-party content.

These partnerships have enabled many publishers to generate significant revenue, supporting quality content development. With tech giants like Google capturing a large share of digital marketing investment, multiple revenue sources are crucial. is committed to fostering continued collaborations between publishers and brands, ensuring host publishers are more involved in content creation. This approach adheres to Google’s enforcement, improving information quality and enhancing user engagement and conversion.

Affiliates, brands, and technology platforms will continue to thrive by understanding the policy, taking proactive measures to comply with it, and collaborating effectively. Let’s work together to ensure a fair and ethical online environment for all stakeholders. 

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