Google Link Spam Algorithm Update

Google sparred no time in announcing another algorithmic update, only just weeks after the rollout of their Broad Algorithm Update.

On July 26 2021, Google began rolling out their Link Spam Algorithm Update. The purpose of this update is to improve Google’s core search algorithm in finding and nullifying link spam on websites.

Generally, the update’s rollout will take a couple of weeks and affect Google search engine results pages (SERPs) in several languages.

In this article, you’ll find all the information you need about the algorithmic update, best link practices to safeguard you against this update, and what you can do to recover if your website has been affected.

What is the Link Spam Algorithm update about?

Google stated that the new link spam update would be crucial in their ongoing efforts to provide a high-quality search experience.

The update will make Google’s link spam algorithm more capable of identifying and removing or nullifying black hat link practices or link spam. More importantly, sites that use link schemes and spam will notice significant drops in their rankings.

Google also announced that the link spam algorithm update would keep a keen eye on affiliate, guest, and sponsored links.

It chose to bury this statement below the post and started with a consistent reminder to always use the proper “rel” values when linking to affiliate content.

The announcement emphasised taking action in handling links across your site properly, especially for content with external links.

Here’s how you can prepare your website for the algorithm update, straight from Google’s search handbook.

Neglecting spam links

Google highlighted that the link spam algorithm would “nullify” spam links. That means, instead of punishing the site, the algorithm will neglect or ignore the link so it won’t contribute any weight to improving SEO rankings.

Ranking impacts of the algorithm update

You may either notice small or large fluctuations in your SEO rankings during and after this update. Essentially what is happening during this process is that Google is opting to ignore any incoming links that it deems spammy or irrelevant. Because of this process, links that previously were providing value will now be nullified, hence resulting in ranking fluctuations.

After the Link Spam Update has finished rolling out, SEO rankings will then settle into their rightful spots.

Google’s best link tag practices

As discussed, Google consistently reminds users to markup links appropriately, especially when linking to external sites.

That’s because it’s common SEO practice to add appropriate tags to page links that exchange site value across different domains.

Google recommends using the following tags for corresponding link types:

  • Sponsored links: Markup paid links and advertisement links with a rel=”sponsored” link tag.
  • Affiliate links: If you’re promoting an affiliate product or service, don’t forget to use the rel=”sponsored” tag similar to sponsored links.
  • Guest post links: If you have accepted a guest post and are linking out to an external website, Google advises to markup the link with a rel=”nofollow” tag, which will signal to Google to not provide any link weight to the external page.

Websites that choose to abuse or ignore the above best link practices may potentially receive penalties themselves.

What should you do if your business has been impacted by Google’s Link Spam Update?

If your website has been negatively impacted by the Link Spam Update, please enquire with us today. Our SEO specialists will complete a comprehensive link audit to assess what links may have triggered a penalty.

It’s important that with any of Google’s algorithmic updates, you have both historical data and complete scope of works present. This means that our SEO specialists are then able to accurately assess what was done leading up to the penalty and then formulate an actionable recovery strategy.

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