“Link Spam Update” - Everything you need to know

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“Link Spam Update” - Everything you need to know

Link Spam Update
August 17, 2021

The year 2021 has experienced major tremors in rank volatility. Kudos to Google’s continual rollouts. There is hardly any sector that has managed to escape its impact.

Brace yourself, as yet another update is rolling – The Link Spam Update”.

Before we throw some light on this update, let us go through a brief rundown of all the rollouts of 2021.

April’21 - Product Review Update

Like any other Google updates, Product Review algorithms have likely to caused significant ripples in the rankings of majorly eCommerce and eBusiness sites. Although Google has not penalized websites with thin reviews, their rankings naturally went down as sites with detailed reviews climbed up the ranking ladder.

This update completed rolling out on April 22nd 2021, after being announced on April 8th, 2021.

Google takes product reviews seriously! It helps them improve their ranking system. In other words, webmasters need to consider it.

June’21 – Broad Core Update

Google, in its usual pattern, releases update several times a year. Before this, the last broad core update was released in December 2020. The update was pertaining to the E.A.T approach. Due to it, Finance, Retail, Travel & Health experienced high volatility in their rankings.

The first core update of the year, i.e., the June 2021 Core update, emphasized the relevance and authority of content. As a result, the sites that failed to rank earlier despite their excellent quality content benefitted from this rollout.

Google further mentioned that parts of this update would be set out in July 2021 after its launch on June 3rd, 2021.

June’21 – Page Experience Update

While webmasters were still analyzing the aftermath of the Core update, Google announces a brand-new Page Experience rollout on June 16th, 2021. A slow update is expected to be completed by the end of August 2021.

Simply put, page experience refers to how the user consumes the page in terms of speed, ease of use, etc. To provide searchers with highly optimized websites in the SERPs, Google added Core Web Vitals to its pre-existing ranking signals.

Core Web Vitals focuses on three main areas: LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), FID (First Input Delay) and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). Google also assists webmasters in testing their web vitals on Google Search Console.

June’21 – Spam Update

When it comes to the quality of search results, Google takes an aggressive approach. Yet another rollout in June is the Spam update to make search safer for its users.

July’21 – Core Update

The search engine giant rolled out the remaining part of the June Core update 1st of July, 2021. Similar to the June rollout, sensors started spiking since its release. If you are hit, it is time to enhance your content and other ranking signals. It is recommended to get the top SEO company in India on board to keep you on the crest of the wave.

July’21 – The Link Spam Update

Google gets stringent with outbound links again. In its first attempt, Google penalized websites with spammy links with its fabled Penguin 4.0 algorithm update in 2016, ever since the quality of links has been stressed upon as a vital ranking signal.

The Link Spam Update is a continued version but with a different approach. Before digging in, let’s take an overview of this rollout.

Key points:

  • The link spam update intends to “nullify” and not “penalize” websites.
  • It is a broad update across all languages.
  • Spammy link-building practices will likely see a drop in rankings.
  • Monetization is allowed in the case of affiliates.
  • Appropriate “rel attributes” should be specified for outbound links.

Official Note

On July 26, 2021, Google indifferently makes an announcement, “If you monetize your website and blogs with affiliate links or sponsored and guest posts, it’s very important to qualify these links.” With this, they attached a link to their guide to commercial links and link spam.

Google Tweet for link spam

Nullify or Penalize

We have comprehended their extensive and extracted the most important areas for your ease. Read ahead.

If you are indulged in link building vigorously without appropriate annotations, then this update rings an alarm on your site’s performance on SERPs. Though Google does not penalize your site, it will nullify all the underserved advantages you may be enjoying so far. Unfortunate but true, it may feel like being penalized.

However, Google always aids webmasters with a guide to best practices. If implied appropriately, your site can recover if negatively hit. But before that, it is essential to understand their link scheme. Briefly, links intending to manipulate PageRank are considered a violation. For instance, buying or selling links, link exchange, extensive guest posting with keyword-rich anchor text links, automation for linking, low-quality site links, and more.

Further, Google greatly stresses using relevant and appropriate “rel attributes” for affiliate, guest posting and sponsored links. Here is a table for reference:

rel values Purpose
rel = “sponsored” Paid links or advertisements should be annotated with ‘sponsored’ value.
rel = “ugc” For forum posts and comments, it’s recommended to use ‘ugc’ (user-generated content) value.
rel = “nofollow” Where these attributes are not applicable in outbound links, it is ideal to mark as ‘nofollow’ to prevent bots from crawling these links and impacting your performance.
Multi values You may also assign multiple values to your link, such as rel = “ugc, nofollow”.
Disallow rule To keep Google bots from following a link on your webpage you can use ‘Disallow’ rule in robots.txt.
noindex To prevent Google from indexing a page.

Recovering

Practicing healthy linking is sufficient to withstand this rollout. This is something that needs to be done ongoingly. Since, it is a vast subject with right guidance and some basic SEO fixes you can boost your Google rankings.

However, if you are witnessing adverse effects, our team of experts will be able to put you back on the pinnacle of searches. All you need to do is drop us an email at info@aoneseoservice.com.

In final words, links are how Google understands the intent of content to determine if it’s helpful or relevant for their searchers. Hence, quality links become even more critical.

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