Google Link Spam Algorithm Update

Update: Google released a follow-up link spam update on the 14th December 2022 which utilises RankBrain AI to detect websites that are buying or selling links for the explicit purpose of improving SEO performance.

The Google link spam algorithm update started rolling out across the board on the 26th of July 2021.

The latest algorithm update from Google is designed to weed out low quality sites using link spam to bolster rankings. According to Gary Illyes from Google, the link spam update is global and language agnostic – meaning that websites across all countries and languages will be impacted.

The update will take between 1-2 weeks to fully roll out. That being said, the greatest impact from Google updates is typically experiences within the first few days. If you have experienced major traffic or ranking fluctuations over the last 48-hours, they may be as a result of the Google link spam update.

SEO Journalist Barry Schwartz questioned Gary Illyes about the percentage of websites that will be impacted by the update to which Illyes responded; “Yes, but I won’t”

What Google Had To Say About the Link Spam Update

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

google on the link spam update

As we know, Google is becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way that it determines link building schemes. This update is another reminder that short sighted link building schemes will be detected by Google. SEOs and website owners that are participating in these link building schemes can expect to see ranking drops over the coming days.

The Algorithm Updates Continue

The latest algorithm update from Google targeting link spam follows a busy period for search engine optimisation professionals and webmasters. Since the beginning of June 2021, we have seen a myriad of significant ranking updates including:

Google broad core update – June 2nd
Google page experience update – 15th June
Google anti-spam update – 24th June
Google broad core update – July 1st
Unconfirmed Google Update – September 15th
Unconfirmed Google Update – October 3rd
November 2021 Broad Core Update
Unconfirmed December 2021 Google Algorithm Update

list of Google updates so far in 2021

What Does The Link Spam Update Mean for my Website?

As an SEO Agency, we have witnessed a number of client competitors fall by the wayside over the last few days. Many of these were websites that we have ear marked as using low quality, high-quantity link building tactics that aim to manipulate rankings. If you are working with an SEO provider and have seen significant changes in the way that your website is ranking, it is time to have a frank conversation about the off-site tactics being used.

example of site impacted by the link spam update

If you are not working with an SEO provider and have noticed a drop off in rankings and traffic over the last few days, it is worth reviewing your backlink profile for any low-quality links. If you do find low quality links that have found their way into your backlink profile, we recommend working with an SEO professional to determine what should be added to your website disavow file.

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