Google’s Link Spam Update: What You Should Know

One of the most annoying things conscientious SEOs face is seeing those manipulating their search engine rankings through link spamming.

And it’s not just the algorithm-abiding SEO experts that get frustrated. Readers do too.

Link spam uses backlinks from low-quality or spammy websites that affect search rankings, website authority and user experience.

However, Google has stepped up its efforts to kick against several manipulative ranking techniques. Its most recent attempt is completing the Link Spam Update on the 24th of August, 2021.

Keep reading to learn more about:

What Google Says About the Link Spam Update

The Impact of Google’s Link Spam Update

What You Should Do About the Link Spam Update

Final Thoughts: What Google’s Link Spam Update Means for Websites

Google first announced the completion of the Link Spam Update on their Twitter profile on the 26th of July, 2021, where it reminded website owners of the importance of qualifying affiliate links, guest posts and other monetization posts.

The Link Spam Update rolled out two weeks later than what the Google Search Central initially declared.

Google Search Central’s Blog talked tough on this by warning, “…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.”

In essence, the update addresses those websites and blog owners who regularly link to affiliate sites and use other monetization techniques that require linking. They are to use the proper qualification for these commercial links so that they aren’t affected.

“Qualifying links appropriately” means specifying the right rel attribute. Google even published a guide to make this an easy process for users.

Overall, the Link Spam Update aims to create more efficient ways of identifying and nullifying spammy links in content and websites.

Google wants websites to stop using spammy links
Imeage Source

So far, there have been differing opinions on whether Google made a good move with the Link Spam Update. While some are finding ways to make adjustments, other websites are witnessing a drastic reduction in traffic.

At a time like this, SEOs take to their performance tracking tools to analyze what’s going on. So far, while several websites have lost traffic, there hasn’t been any accurate measurement or correlation between the Link Spam Update and website performance.

It’s also worth noting that Google released the Title Tag Update alongside the Link Spam Update. Google’s Title Tag Update intended to make pages more accessible and readable to users seeking specific answers to their queries.

However, the Title Tag Update quickly became a problem because Google stopped showing 20% of the publisher’s title tags in its result pages.

That, in turn, caused websites to lose significant amounts of traffic. Therefore, it’s difficult to determine whether the loss in traffic is due to the Link Spam Update or the Title Tag Update.

In addition, Google has released numerous announced and unannounced updates since the release of the Link Spam Update. That muddles the water when it comes to assessing its overall effects.

As time goes on, the impact of the Link Spam Update rollout will become more evident. That will make it easy to measure and analyze the update’s effects.

Until then, it’s safer to be cautious and avoid using spammy links.

Google appreciates content creators that adhere to its guidelines, stating, “Thanks are also due to the large majority of sites that follow our guidelines, focusing on building websites with great user experience and providing high-quality content.”

The bottom line is, everyone who manipulates their search engine rankings will need to find Google-approved methods to rank on the SERPs (search engine result pages) now.

So, as a website owner, you need to review your backlink profiles and correct anything that’s not in line with Google’s guidelines.

The newly-released Link Spam Update is a must-follow guideline Google wants all content creators to abide by.

Users who use plugins to manage their sponsored or commercial posts, especially on WordPress, should review those plugins and ensure that they meet the Link Spam Update guidelines.

What are your thoughts on Google’s Link Spam Update? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting @Bluehost.

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Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |

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