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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.

March 2022 Product Reviews Update Now Rolled Out

04/13/2022

Nineteen days after Google launched the third version of the product reviews update, it is now finished rolling out.

According to data providers, the update was much smaller than the one in December, but it still did manage to cause some fluctuations in rankings and impact organic traffic.

If you have products review on your website, it would be a good idea to check if your organic traffic improved, declined, or remained unchanged.

In the long run, you should definitely put more effort into your product and make it special, let it stand out on the web.

What To Do If You’re Affected

Those who were affected by this update probably felt it very strongly, but the chatter within the community was not as widespread as it was for the December update.

Google has provided advice on what you should consider if you are negatively impacted by this product reviews update.

Along with focusing on providing users with insightful and useful, expert-written content, you should also think about two things: multimedia and multiple sellers.

If you ask Google, you should provide evidence in your product review. Add visuals, audio, and links of you using the product –  show your expertise.

Also, add include links from multiple sellers. That will give readers more choice and help with your trustworthiness.

Include helpful details and specifics, show how the product is actually used and include information beyond the manufacturer’s. Explain why is that product better than the competition.

Take a look at Google’s best practices to use when writing a high-quality product review

In its third update to the products reviews, Google also added three new tips:

  • Product reviews apply to all forms of review content, but because ranked lists tend to be shorter, you may want to demonstrate expertise and emphasize authenticity more concisely. Including original images from tests you’ve done with the product and citing pertinent results are good ways to demonstrate this.
  • If you recommend a particular product as the best overall or the best for a particular purpose, be sure to explain to the reader why you feel that is the case.
  •  The combination of a ranked list of related products and in-depth reviews of each product can be very effective. If you were to write both, make sure the ranked list has enough useful content to stand on its own.

This update’s goal is to promote review content that is much more than basic, dry, templated information you find on the web.

According to Google, these types of product reviews will be promoted in search results. So, why not benefit from the situation and do your best to get a fresh organic search result rank?

For now, Google is not punishing those who have a simplified summary of products. But, if there is better-written content out there, it will beat you and get the rank – so, you’re not punished, but they are rewarded.

So, go, check, rewrite and get that ranking!

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Desktop Getting A Page Experience Update

01/11/2022

Back in November, Google confirmed it will be launching a new page experience update for desktop. The rollout is supposed to happen in February this year and is expected to last for about a month. That means we are hoping for a full rollout by the end of March.

The Google Desktop Page Experience Update will use the same factors as the mobile version – except, of course, the mobile-friendliness one. This update will not be applicable for desktop only, but tablets and laptops, too. It will include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • First Input Delay
  • HTTPS Security
  • Absence of intrusive interstitials

In case you forgot, safe browsing is no longer considered a part of the experience and is not a ranking signal anymore.

What Is Page Experience?

Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users are liking your website. It measures the loading time, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. It also includes existing search signals like the ones we mentioned above. However, page experience is not the only thing important for your rankings – content counts too.

Google Search Console

Google said they will update the Search Console to support desktop, too. That should launch before desktop becomes a ranking signal. Google search console helps you monitor your website traffic, optimize your ranking and make decisions about the appearance of your site’s results.

 

This update shouldn’t have much of an impact on your rankings, because it is designed to highlight pages that offer a great user experience. Page experience is just one of many factors Google takes into account when it comes to your ranking.  Still, it is important to stay in the loop, keep track of changes and monitor your metrics.

 

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