Google’s Link Spam Related Algorithm Update

Backlinks refer to a link from one website to another. Search engines use these links as a ranking signal because linking one website to another indicates the authority in content earned by it. High-quality backlinks can be used to increase a site’s ranking and visibility in search engine page results. 

Due to the significance attached to links in increasing SERP results, many uses backlinks on pages and websites regardless of context or user experience. This is commonly referred to as Link spam.  As such links offer no additional value to the pages they occupy search engines such as Google have issued clear guidelines warning punitive action or devaluation for using spammy links. 

Types of Link Spam

There are several signs of link spam that you may find across a site:

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Spam Posting

Spam posting is referred to as the practice of posting solo links in public forums, comment sections, or guest books. Spammers use such forums for link spamming because they have low barriers to entry, making it easy to create accounts and post comments with their links. But these links can be easy to identify as spam, and they often earn little to no actual clicks. 

Hidden Links

Another common type of link spamming is the usage of hidden links. It is a practice of hiding hyperlinks across content where it is not easily visible. To insert hidden links, spammers might alter the colour of hyperlinks to match that of the background, hide hyperlinks in images or even hide hyperlinks in the site’s code, so that only the algorithm can view them. This realizes the goal of link spamming without visually appearing to be so. 

The same can also be done to press release links, where site owners will have to write and distribute their press releases that are based on linking their conversion pages.     

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Link Farms

A link farming is another type of link spamming where a group of websites hyperlink to other sites in the group for link building and therefore SEO rankings. 

Despite that, this practice is not seen as authoritative linking, and therefore either has little to no effect on a link farmer’s backlink profile or will negatively impact it by flagging the farmer’s entire site as spam.   

No- follow Links

Too many no-follow links on a page might be an indication of link spamming. A few automated link-building programs use randomized no-follow links to enhance the page’s backlink profile while trying to go under the radar of Google’s spam detectors. 

But since the Penguin update- which analyses links in terms of their quality and posting context, instead of the pages’ backlink numbers- it is extremely difficult for any automated system to escape flagging by the algorithm.  

Moreover, no-follow links have don’t have any value, and hence don’t pass the PageRank. So although the no-follows are not picked up as spam, they still don’t contribute to the SERP ranking.

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Single-Post Blogs

A blog is seen as a great way to enhance your linkability through a variety of keyword-focused and linkable content. With regular and authoritative posting, these turn out to be assets.

On the other hand, a single post blog can be a sign of spam linking, as a site owner in the hope of improving their backlink profile can post a link-packed article. But such blogs have little to no effect, as they don’t gain many views or independent traffic due to their separateness.    

Google’s Link Spam Algorithm Update 

Google has rolled out its Link Spam Algorithm update on July 26th to identify and nullify link spam. Google’s press release suggests a particular focus on targeting links from sponsored, guest, as well as affiliate content.

Let’s examine Google’s guidance in detail, which seems to be especially relevant to this algorithm update.

Best Practices for Link Building 

Links are one of the best ways search engines recognize what content may be useful to searchers, and they can be beneficial to the sites as well. An excellent practice is to sidestep those devious methods of acquiring links that contravenes the search engine guidelines against link schemes.

Here are some specific instructions to help site owners manage links that work within Google’s guidelines.

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1.Affiliate Links

Affiliate links like product reviews and shopping guides are some common methods used by blogs and publishers. Google asks sites involving in affiliate programs to qualify these links with rel=” sponsored”, irrespective of how it was created.  

If sites fail to do so, the search engine giant warns of manual as well as algorithmic actions. This may impact the search engine rankings of the page.

2.Sponsored and Guest Posts

Another method used by site owners for link building is accepting sponsored and guest posts. Links from sponsored or paid links should be marked up with rel=” sponsored” value while the links from guest posts should be marked rel=” no follow”.


With each new update, Google has tirelessly worked on the quality of its search results. The latest algorithmic update will effectively identify and nullify link spam across languages and sites using such link-building initiatives will see changes because they are reassessed by algorithms. 

As site owners, you should ensure that you are following the best practices concerning link building. As always, working on producing high-quality content and improving user experience is the best way out in comparison to manipulating links. Promote your site with the suitably tagged links, and monetize it with suitably tagged affiliate links. For more queries about how our SEO services can help you increase your revenue and lower your marketing costs contact us

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