Google has completed the rollout of the link spam update it started just over four weeks ago. “The link spam update is now complete,” Danny Sullivan said via the Google Search Liaison account.
What took so long. Google originally said this update would “roll out across the next two weeks.” But as you can see, it took an additional two weeks to complete – a total of four weeks. Why did it take so long? Google did not say, but I suspect things got stuck a bit and the rollout hit some unexpected snags.
The original announcement. “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 wrote.
Nullifying link spam. You can see the word Google used here was “nullifying,” which does not necessarily mean “penalize,” but instead, to ignore or simply not count. Google’s efforts around link spam have been to ignore and not count spammy links since Penguin 4.0 was released in 2016.
Why we care. This might be a hard one to pinpoint for you or your clients since it took a month to fully roll out. But if you see any changes to your rankings, maybe in a big way, over the last month, it might be related to this new link spam update. Make sure your links are natural and in accordance with Google’s webmaster guidelines. Work on improving your site, so it can naturally attract new links over time.
As Google wrote, “Site owners should make sure that they are following the best practices on links, both incoming and outgoing. Focusing on producing high-quality content and improving user experience always wins out compared to manipulating links. Promote awareness of your site using appropriately tagged links, and monetize it with properly tagged affiliate links.”