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Death to Fake Obituary Websites

Google changed its algorithm to eliminate obit spam sites. Learn how these fake obituary websites operate and why they’re now banned from search.
Say Goodbye to Offensive Fake Obit Sites
Say Goodbye to Offensive Fake Obit Sites

In terms of finding things online, Google has long been the go-to resource. Part of the reason Google is still the titan of search engines is because the company is committed to providing users with the best results possible. That requires a lot of monitoring and making algorithm changes to improve what websites turn up for a certain search query. 

It’s an ongoing, continuous effort because new sites and new content are generated every minute of every day. Some of those websites are trying to game the system and using black hat tactics to get higher rankings for search results. Usually this involves the high-volume generation of low-quality content.

One of the most recent occurrences of this, that prompted Google to update its algorithms, was obituary spam websites. You may have come across one of these fake obituary sites if you lost a loved one in the last few years. Let’s explain it further since you may still come across an obit spam website that needs to be rooted out by Google.

What Are Obituary Spam Websites?

An obituary spam website is basically what it sounds like. The owners of these sites operated them solely as clickbait to gain views to make money through advertisements and other marketing means. 

What they would do is something called scraping. Developers use tools to collect information off of other websites, digital obituaries, public records and social media announcements. They then began using AI technology to cobble together fake obituaries that were full of typos, sounded robotic and were often inaccurate. 

There’s a reason why these shameless spammers targeted obituaries of regular people. For starters, people die every minute of the day. That means the spammers have a lot of fresh information to make new web pages with continuously. 

That’s an important point, because their strategy is largely a numbers game. The fake obituary websites capitalized on the fact that loved ones and acquaintances often search the names of loved ones. Each name may only get a handful or two of searches, but if you create fake obituaries for thousands of people it adds up to a lot of searches and a lot of clicks. And as already noted, they were generating new fake obituaries all the time. 

Why Google Stepped in to Stop Fake Obituary Sites

Google intervened for obvious reasons. If anything, the algorithm update was long overdue to rid search results of fake obit websites. 

Using people’s death and even their actual obituaries to gain clicks through search engines is definitely a step too far and should be a violation of Google’s spamming policies. When announcing the latest algorithm update, Google expressly cited that the change was in part to rid obit spam websites from their search results. Hopefully, we can now put fake obituary websites to rest. 

At we fully respect the deceased and their loved ones. Our services may be quick and straightforward, but we’re here to provide a respectful service that eases the stress, which is how every legitimate business should be when death is involved.