Google’s Link Spam Algorithm & How It May Affect SEO
Sponsored posts may be changing forever. Here’s how:
Google announced on July 26, 2021, over three weeks ago now, that it started to roll the link spam update. This update was stated to be around about two-weeks’ worth of implementation from Google’s end. However, Google has now stated that the rollout is still not complete. So, what actually is the rollout and how might it affect SEO?
Well, here is Google’s original announcement about the rollout of this update; “We’re launching a new link spam fighting change today — which we call the “link spam update.” This algorithm update, which will rollout across the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages.”
In short, this rollout will implement algorithms more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam.
The delay to the update is thought to be down to having to adapt the algorithm broadly to search results in multiple languages.
Unfortunately for us SEOs, Google cautions that changes in rankings are imminent for some site owners:
“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…
Sites taking part in link spam will see changes in Search as those links are re-assessed by our algorithms.”
Information strewn throughout Google’s announcement suggests a particular knuckling down on targeting links from sponsored, guest, and affiliate content- thus penalising people who may have used unnatural ways of increasing their backlink profile.
In fact, the announcement begins as a casual reminder to markup affiliate content with the appropriate REL values which Google have always asked SEO’s and article posters alike for anyway. However, Google craftily added the news about this algorithm update at the end of the blog post despite it being quite a big deal in terms of the future of SEO.
This is an indication that Google wants site owners to pay attention to its advice on how to handle links within content where there’s an exchange of value involved- rather than having to come down hard and penalise website owners or article posters for trying to avoid using it’s recommended guidance.
Let’s go over Google’s guidance once again to refresh your memory on how to keep to Google’s advice when posting links or submitting articles to a website.
Google Link Tag Best Practices
Google reminds site owners to qualify links appropriately when linking out to other sites. In particular, Google singles out affiliate links and links from sponsored and guest content to try and demote spam and backlink profile building unnaturally.
Here’s what Google recommends for each type of link:
- Affiliate links: Google asks sites participating in affiliate programs to qualify these links with rel=“sponsored”
- Links from sponsored posts: Links that are advertisements or paid placements (commonly called paid links) are advised to be marked up with the rel=“sponsored” value.
- Links from guest posts: Links from guest posts are to be marked up with the rel=“nofollow” value. These are posts without any monetary exchange involved.
Sound complicated? Worried that your website might be affected? Speak to one of our experts at MR SEO today to see how we can help. A big part of our SEO campaigns are undertaking a technical audit on your site and making your site fully optimised from a technical point of view for Google’s various algorithms.