If you’re running an effective marketing campaign, chances are you’ve got a strategy for creating backlinks but how good are those links? Does quantity mean more than quality when it comes to your link-building strategy? If you’re not too discerning about your SEO link building and to you, backlinking means “the more, the merrier”, you may find you have a few spammy links on your hands that could affect your ranking efforts.
One of the latest Google algorithm updates finished rolling out on the 12th of January, 2023. This recent link spam update aims to protect users from spammy content in search results. Link spam refers to the practice of trying to improve search engine rankings by placing backlinks on pages that have no context to the link and offer no value to the user.
Backlinks are a useful way for websites to demonstrate authority to Google, but only when high-quality backlinks are used. So how does the recent link spam update affect your site and what does it have to do with your backlink strategy? We’ve put together everything you need to know about the link spam update 2022.
What is The Google Link Spam Update?
Also referred to as the December 2022 link spam update, this enhanced google algorithm is an evolution of the previous link spam update that was released in July 2021. This update is an upgrade to Google’s AI-based spam detection algorithm known as SpamBrain. SpamBrain can detect and neutralise unnatural links and prevents them from appearing in search results. The purpose of the update was to improve the effectiveness of SpamBrain’s spam detection. This will prove bad news for sites that use spammy link-building tactics.
How Does The Google Link Spam Update Affect My Site?
This is the first time Google is utilising SpamBrain to detect link spam so if you have spammy, unnatural links on your website, they’ll now be nullified by Google. If you have a sound backlink strategy with a stream of natural, relevant links to and from your site, you may not feel the negative effects of the link spam update. However, if you partake in black hat SEO tactics like link buying, and your site has a poor backlink profile, you may see a decline in your rankings as Google neutralises links that are detected as spam. Any previous ranking benefits gained by the spammy backlinks are lost as the links are no longer acknowledged by Google.
Sites affected by the Google link spam update won’t face penalties, instead, links labelled as spam will be ignored by the search engine which could result in you seeing a decline in rankings.
How Can I Avoid Being Affected by the Link Spam Update?
According to Google, following link-building best practices is the most effective way to avoid taking a hit from the link spam update 2022. Bad link-building tactics that may have been effective in the past can no longer slip through Google’s net of spam prevention, thanks to SpamBrain’s recent evolution.
Google states that not only can SpamBrain “detect spam directly, it can now detect both sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.” This means it’s more important than ever to have a backlink strategy that provides you with quality links that offer value to the user and are not created to manipulate search engines.
In the Spam Policies for Google Search, the policy states that it covers the common forms of spam which include:
- Link spam – Using automated software or services to create links, buying or selling links or posts containing links for ranking purposes are just a few of the activities that Google labels as link spamming and they all go against spam policies.
- Cloaking – This black hat SEO practice occurs when the search engines are presented with one type of content or URL and the user is presented with a different URL or content. For example, showing Google a page about Adele concert tickets while showing the user adult-rated content is a form of cloaking.
- Hidden text and links – This refers to the act of trying to manipulate search engine results by hiding links or text on a page so that it is visible to Google but hidden from users. Examples of this could be hiding text behind an image, using a white font on a white background to hide content or hiding links within sentences, behind small characters like hyphens.
In short, if you already steer clear of these types of blackhat SEO tactics and follow SEO best practices you won’t need to worry about being affected by the Google spam update.
How Do I Create Good Backlinks For My Website?
If you already have a poor backlink profile, you’ll need to fix that first. Any spammy backlinks need to be removed by submitting a disavow file. It can be time-consuming to fix a bad backlink profile but it is worth the effort to do things manually. Using AI to fix bad backlinks should be avoided, focus on creating natural links. The best way to create high-quality backlinks for your website is to create a linking strategy that focuses on relevance, authority and trust. By only using white-hat SEO tactics and following the content policies for Google search, you can create good-quality, useful backlinks for your website.
If you need help nursing your backlink profile back to health or you think need help to avoid taking a hit from the latest Google link spam update, SEM Consultants can help. We provide a range of link-building services that focus on creating a stream of natural, manually created backlinks that are relevant and help you to build trust and authority with your audience. For more information about building a solid link-building strategy, contact our SEO team today.