Google Updates

Googles Link Spam Update July 2021

Android Robot next to the words link spam update 2021

Google’s link spam algorithm update began the rollout process on 26th July, 2021 and will take approximately two weeks to fully roll out.

The search engine giant relies on algorithms that are effective at identifying and dealing with link spam. That can only happen best with updates and the “link spam update” is a significant one.

Google themselves hailed the recent update as: “Even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages" in a recent blog post entitled “A reminder on qualifying Links and our Link Spam Update”.

The update in question rolled into life on the 26th of July and is anticipated to take at least two weeks to impact search results across multiple regions and languages.

For the most part, the piece is exactly that; a reminder of best practices concerning links related to Google’s webmaster guidelines, particularly those of a commercial nature.

Here are some more of the more noteworthy points in the post:

  • This update is the Link spam Update, plain and simple. No date attached, (such as “Link Spam Update, July 2021), read into that what you will!
  • It commenced July 26th and is expected to take at least two weeks to roll out fully
  • The update is both global and multilingual
  • The aim of the update is to nullify spam links, as opposed to penalising them (they simply will not count)
  • Google have been particularly cagey on how this might or might not impact search results

For those site owners wondering if the link spam update might mean imminent changes in rankings, Google only had this to say:

“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.”

That comes directly from the same post on The Google Search Central Blog, published on rollout day, elsewhere in the piece, Google hint that particular emphasis is being paid to targeting links from guest, sponsored and affiliate content.

The post is carefully worded, beginning with a casual reminder that affiliate content needs to be marked up with the appropriate ‘rel’ values with news around the new link spam fighting changes saved mostly for the final third of the piece.

Many are seeing that as an indication for site owners, that Google wants as many webmasters as possible to heed their advice on best practice for handling links wherein an exchange of value is involved.

Link Tags, the smart moves

In the piece, Google reminds site owners about the importance of qualifying links correctly when linking out to other sites.

Additionally, sites must add tags to links where value is exchanged between the two domains.

Google has placed particular emphasis on affiliate links, links from sponsored posts and guest content, recommending the following actions for each type respectively: 

Affiliate links:

For sites taking part in affiliate programs to qualify these links with rel=”sponsored”, (this advice applies to both manually and dynamically created links.)

Links from sponsored posts

Paid links (links that are paid placements or advertisements) should also be qualified with the rel=”sponsored” value.

Guest post links

The advice regarding links from guest posts is to mark them up with the rel=”nofollow” value.

Google also make it clear that, in some instances it may issue manual actions when finding sites that fail to qualify the types of link above correctly:

“As a part of our ongoing effort to improve ranking for product-related searches and better reward high-quality content, 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. Both manual and algorithmic actions may affect how we see a site in Search, so it's good to avoid things that may cause actions, where possible.”

As with many updates of this nature, it might take time to establish further details and possible impacts. As of early august, less than a week after the update began rolling out, all seems quiet, for now...

Stay tuned to see if things stay that way.

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