Google Search link spam algorithm update rolling out

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 27 Jul, 2021
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The update aims to tackle link spam more broadly across multiple languages.

Google linkspam update.

Image source: Pixabay

In addition to the 6 algorithm updates already rolled out over the past few months, Google announced yesterday that it was rolling out the link spam update, aimed at improving the algorithm’s wider effectiveness in identifying and dealing with link spam and will work across multiple languages.

In a blog post on 26 July, Google Search Quality Analyst Duy Nguyen announced that the update had begun rolling out the same day and would take two weeks to complete.

“In our continued efforts to improve the quality of the search results, we're launching a new link spam fighting change today — which we call the "link spam update." This algorithm update, which will roll out across the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages.”

The blog post warns that sites using spammy link practices will see ranking impacts.

“Sites taking part in link spam will see changes in Search as those links are re-assessed by our algorithms.”

Google’s blog post gives detailed guidance on linking best practices, in particular those that involve payment, sponsorship or are commercial in any way. Best practice is to avoid acquiring links in ways that violate Google’s guidelines on link schemes and to qualify links appropriately.

The post provides guidance on how to deal with affiliate links and sponsored or guest posts, before going on to make the announcement on the algorithm update.

While this update focuses on identifying and nullifying link spam, with this being reflected in the search results, Google reminds site owners that manual actions can also be taken for affiliate links not properly qualified:

“As a part of our ongoing effort to improve ranking for product-related searches and better reward high-quality content, when we find sites failing to qualify affiliate links appropriately, we may issue manual actions to prevent these links from affecting Search, and our systems might also take algorithmic actions. Both manual and algorithmic actions may affect how we see a site in Search, so it's good to avoid things that may cause actions, where possible.“

This applies also to sponsored or guest posts:

"When we detect sites engaging in either publishing or acquiring links with excessive sponsored and guest posting without proper link tags, algorithmic and manual actions may be applied, similar to affiliate links."

Google stresses that site owners should follow best practices on incoming and outgoing links and avoid link manipulation, saying that high quality content and improved user experience "always wins out" over manipulating links.

Google’s summer of updates is continuing apace with this latest rollout.

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