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Google Targets Link Schemes with New Algorithm Update Third Spam Update of 2021 Begins Rollout

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - In The News, SEO

After a summer of frequent updates, Google has launched yet another update to its algorithm. This time, they’re targeting link spam.

Google announced on July 26 that it would begin rolling out what it is calling a ‘link spam update.’ This follows a pair of spam updates that were rolled out in June.

In a blog post, the search engine company wrote that “links are one of the ways Google understands what content may be helpful to searchers, and they can be good for sites to receive, as long as they’re well deserved. A best practice is to avoid methods of acquiring links that violate our guidelines against link schemes.”

Specifically, the update will target links that Google identifies as unfair or deceptive. Google will nullify these links, meaning that sites won’t face any direct punishment, but will lose out on the benefits that their links would have provided.

What is Link Spam?

Good-quality links can improve a page’s SEO score. However, not all links are obtained in an ethical and transparent way.

Many of the problematic ways that sites obtain links can fall under the umbrella of ‘link schemes’ – these are defined by Google as “any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results.”

Examples of link schemes may include low-quality sponsored posts (or guest posts), or link exchanges with other content creators.

It’s important to note that you may notice a drop in rankings even if you do not participate in link schemes. Google’s algorithm is not perfect when it comes to differentiating between genuine links and spam, and your links may get nullified.

What’s Google’s Advice?

“Site owners should make sure that they are following the best practices on links, both incoming and outgoing,” they suggest. “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.”

Google says the update will continue to roll out over the next two weeks. We recommend keeping a careful eye on your site’s performance over this period.

 

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

Google’s December 2022 Helpful Content Update

12/07/2022

Google’s got an early Christmas gift for users, an update to help user generated content!

This is the latest in a string of updates since the system last rollout in September.

The goal of Google’s helpful content approach is to promote websites made with users in mind rather than search engines. It strives to elevate information that enhances the web above what is generally offered otherwise, reports Search Engine Journal.

What’s The Google Helpful Content System?

As the internet becomes increasingly saturated with content, it can be hard to know what’s worth reading and what isn’t. Google is now using sitewide signals to target websites that contain high amounts of low-quality content.

Read More: Helpful Content Update Might Get Stronger?   

By low quality, we mean content that is not helpful. What Google means is that these websites will be penalized in terms of ranking and visibility. Nor is the content helpful for real people reading.

How The Rollout Is Going

So far the rollout has only been in progress for a couple of days. This helpful content system started rolling out on December 5th and is expected to rollout over the coming weeks.

Here is what Google announced on Twitter about the helpful content’s rollout.

Read More: Google Helpful Content Update Still Rolling Out

What To Do If Your Impacted By This System Update?

You might not notice any impacts just yet but as the helpful content system update continues, theres a chance you might see some impacts. Google has included a set of actions you can take to make sure your site doesn’t experience severe hits.

Here’s their list of questions that you can ask yourself:

  • Do you have an audience that will find your content useful?
  • Does your content show first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • Will a person leave your website feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic you wrote about?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

Look out in the following weeks for hits to your site or improvements in content written for users first.

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Google Helpful Content Update Still Rolling Out

08/30/2022

Update from the future: Two weeks after it started rolling out, the Helpful Content Update is still not showing big ranking changes. Danny Sullivan said the update might get stronger with the next core update. Read more about that here.

More than a week ago, Google announced its biggest drop of the decade – an algorithm update so important no one was ready for. Glenn Gabe shared about this on Twitter, and Barry Schwartz reported on this on Search Engine Land.

Google Helpful Content update is now rolling out and should almost be over.

But, you never know with Google. Just because the update should be rolled out and done in cca two weeks,  the impacts of it and fluctuations can be seen weeks after.

It’s always a good idea to monitor your Google visibility, traffic and ranking and act accordingly. But, sometimes, especially while the updates are in the process of rolling out, it’s better to wait.

What Is Google Helpful Content update?

A sitewide signal that targets websites with high amounts of low-quality content. When I say low quality, I mean not helpful content. What Google means by the same term is: content written for search engines instead of humans.

So, if your content was not directed to humans first and is not helpful to them, but you hit all the right points for Google to rank it well, this update will probably make your website plummet.

The rollout of this update started on August 25th and Google will let us know when it’s finished rolling out.

What If your Website Is affected by this update?

There is a list of questions you can ask yourself about the content on your website. Google shared that a while ago. Some of them are:

  • Do you have an audience that will find your content useful?
  • Does your content show first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • Will a person leave your website feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic you wrote about?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

Think about these questions. If you answered “yes” to them, chances are – you’re good. If not – you will likely be hit and it will take some time to recover. But, you still have to make changes to your content.

So Far, the Rollout Is Pretty Slow

Given that the update is pretty big and important, everyone thought the hit will be fast and brutal. But at the moment, everything seems kind of calm. For now, most of the chatter in the SEO community doesn’t seem concerning. Is this just the calm before the storm?

Update from the future: The Google Helpful Content Updatefinsihed rolling out on September 9th! Even though not a lot of people reported seeing major fluctuations, the update is still valuable and very important. Read more about it here and find out what to do if you were hit!

 

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