The “Google Link Spam Algorithm Update” begins rolling out, making Google’s algorithms more successful at detecting and eliminating link spam.
The change is starting to roll out today, and it will take at least two weeks to reach all search results in several languages.
For some site owners, Google warns that changes in rankings are on the way:
“As part of our ongoing work to improve the quality of search results, we’re introducing a new link spam combating measure today, dubbed the “link spam update…
As our algorithms re-evaluate those links, sites that participate in link spam will notice changes in Search.”
Google’s statement contains a lot of information that points to a focus on sponsored, guest, and affiliate connections.
In fact, the notice starts off as a kind reminder to use rel values when marking up affiliate material. The news regarding the algorithm upgrade isn’t revealed until the very end of the blog article, thus Google buries the lede.
This indicates that Google encourages site owners to follow its recommendations for handling links within content where there is a value exchange.
Let’s take a look at Google’s guidelines, which appear to be particularly pertinent to this algorithm change.
Google Link Tag Best Practices
When connecting out to other sites, Google advises site owners to classify connections correctly.
Where there is a value exchange between the two domains, sites are required to add tags to links.
Affiliate links, as well as links from sponsored and guest material, are singled out by Google.
Here’s what Google suggests for each link type:
- Affiliate links: Regardless of whether the links were made manually or dynamically, Google requires sites that participate in affiliate programs to qualify them with rel=“sponsored.”
- Links from sponsored articles must be marked up with the rel=“sponsored” value if they are ads or paid placements (often referred to as paid links).
- Links from guest posts must be annotated with the rel=“no follow” attribute.
When it comes to sites that fail to qualify the aforementioned sorts of connections properly, Google says it may take manual action.
Google Search Central Blog is the source of this information.