an Algorithmic Update Followed by Manual Penalties?


After the double core update of Google’s algorithm (June and July Core Update), the mountainview firm has just announced a new important update on July 26, 2021: the Link Spam Update, understand, the update on the links dummy or “spam”.

What is the Google spam link update?

Announced on July 26, 2021 on the Google Search Central blog, the link spam update, aims to better detect affiliate links and sponsored dofollow links not marked as such so that the algorithm can not take them into account in the ranking of its search results.

“In our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of search results, today we are launching a new change in the fight against link spam, which we call the ‘update spam link’. This algorithm update, which will be rolled out over the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and canceling link spam more broadly, in multiple languages. Sites participating in link spam will see changes in search as these links are re-evaluated by our algorithms. “- Google

Google warns : Sites that take advantage of these linking systems could see negative impacts on their rankings in search results as links that point to their sites are re-evaluated by Google’s new algorithm.

Link spam update: what impacts in France in real time?

Here is the status of the French SERPs in real time (click for details):

the SEMrush Sensor analyzes the SERPs and allows to determine the winning and losing sectors of each update.

Manual and algorithmic actions in the event of non-compliance with Google’s best practices on affiliate or sponsored links?

Example of affiliate links affected by the spam update link
Example of affiliate links affected by the spam update link

All the sites living from the affiliation and not adding on their affiliate links the attribute rel = “sponsored” could soon be penalized manually by Google (or algorithmically via the company’s new algorithm for detecting this type of link).

But that’s not all.

Any sites that take advantage of these untagged “sponsored” links may also be subject to a manual or algorithmic penalty.

In any case, this is what Google announced through its announcement article associated with the update …

Example of sponsored links affected by Google's spam update link
Example of sponsored links affected by Google’s spam update link

The same goes for all sites that accept sponsored guest posts and let advertisers embed dofollow links that redirect to their sites, without also adding this rel = “sponsored” attribute.

For unsponsored guest posts, links must be tagged with the rel = “nofollow” attribute to meet Google’s quality guidelines.

How long will the link spam update take to deploy?

Like many algorithmic updates from Google, the full rollout will take about 15 days. All the impacts of the spam update link can therefore be observed in France. from 09 August 2021.

Links, a still important positioning factor in Google’s algorithm in 2021

Through this latest algorithmic update, Google also confirms the importance of backlinks to be well positioned on its search engine.

“Links are one of the ways Google understands what content can be useful to searchers. It can be useful for sites to receive some, provided they are well deserved. “- Google

Smart netlinking therefore still has a bright future ahead. Links are also still one of the 2 most important positioning factors for Google in 2021.

What Google wants with this update on link spam

Google wants, through this update, further encourage webmasters to use rel = “sponsored” link attributes so that these “unnatural” links do not artificially affect the quality of their organic search results.

Should we replace nofollow links with sponsored links?

No, it’s not necessary, although Google would be happy if you did, John Mueller confirmed it. Thus, all the links currently in nofollow can remain with this simple attribute without the webmaster having to replace them in rel = ”sponsored”.

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