What specific areas of “spam” is Google’s latest November Update targeting? Google has not said precisely what types of spam this Update is designed to tackle. However, there are quite a few theories bouncing around the web:
Danny Sullivan’s comments on the differences between a Spam Update and a Core Update are very interesting.
Google’s Updates always impact plenty of sites and this Spam Update is no exception:
Danny Sullivan also has a few tips for webmasters whose sites have been affected by this Update:
Google Spam Updates 2021
To date, there have “only” been two Core Updates in 2021 – one in June and another in July. But there have already been four Spam Updates this year. So it would appear that Google is upping their game when it comes to fighting spam. And advances in anti-spam AI have certainly helped. Google have released the following anti-spam updates so far in 2021:
June 23, 2021: The first Spam Update in 2021 was Cork Used Bicycles Shop announced on June 23, 2021. They completed the rollout on the same day. To accompany the Update, Danny Sullivan also published a short video via his Google Search Liaison Twitter account about how Google intends to keep the web spam-free.
June 28, 2021: Shortly after the first Spam Update, Google published the second part of the Update just 5 days later. Having announced that this would be a two-part Update, this was not unexpected. Both parts of the Update focused on combating spam. The entire rollout was completed in just one day.
July 26, 2021: Rollout of the Link Spam Update begins. In a longer blog post, Google announce that the Link Spam Update would begin at the end of July, saying “This algorithm Update, which will rollout 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.” There are also best practices for webmasters on the correct use and labelling of links and sponsored content. According to Google, the rollout was completed on August 24th.
3 November 2021: Rollout of the November 2021 Spam Update. Announcement of the fourth Spam Update in 2021, Google shows that they’re serious about spam.
Google’s best practices for preventing spam
Google published two guides in 2021 with more precise how-to instructions and best practices for preventing spam and dealing with links correctly . The most important points are listed below:
Labelling affiliate links: Every kind of affiliate link, whether created manually or dynamically, should be marked as rel=”sponsored”. At the same time, Google assure us that “In general, using affiliate links to monetize a website is fine.”
Labelling sponsored posts: When accepting sponsored posts and guest posts from other websites, Google “strongly” recommends applying the appropriate rel values to these links. Google notes that they have observed campaigns of low quality sponsored and guest posts intended primarily to gain links.
Google threatens to take action against sites with too many paid links or improper labelling: If Google’s algorithms “detect sites engaging in either publishing or acquiring links with excessive sponsored and guest posting without proper link tags, algorithmic and manual actions may be applied, similar to affiliate links”.
Nofollow still permitted: According to Google’s guidelines, they still permit the use of the nofollow attribute for affiliate links or sponsored posts. In their best practices, Google says, “The nofollow attribute was previously recommended for these types of links and is still an acceptable way to flag them, though sponsored is preferred”.
Protecting websites against spam abuse: Google recommends webmasters apply and consider various measures to increase website security:
Block automatic account creation using Google’s reCAPTCHA or comparable verification tool.
Use moderation functions to create comments and profiles so that users are only allowed to post links after they have proven to be trustworthy.
Check the website for spam in the Google Search Console and fix any problems.
Detect spam accounts by checking and removing spammy user registrations.
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