SEO Company Guide To The Link Spam Update
In this SEO company guide to link spam, we will share some important tips on avoiding being affected by these types of updates in the future. We all want our sites to rank well on Google but to do this you need two main drives: you need to write original content and you also need to earn a number of links.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. Many people think that the more links they include, the better. This is not the case, and if you are not selective about the links you include, you may end up being flagged for link spam by both the publishing site and the receiving site.
In this SEO company guide, you will find out what link spam is, how it may be impacting your website in terms of your own content, on-page or in terms of other sites linking to you, off-page, and if there is anything that you can do to turn things around. We also offer SEO services to help navigate this update in terms of your site.
What is Link Spam, according to an SEO company?
Link spam is a situation where a company will use poor-quality backlinks in an attempt to influence ranking or sell poor-quality backlinks or placements such as guest posts on the company website without qualifying the content and backlinks with the appropriate rel tags. Google has seen this type of activity from the early beginnings but many more sites, more than ever before, are now using this practice in an attempt to climb higher on the SERPS, this is why they launched the link spam update.
The link spam update is Google’s attempt at stopping manipulative sites from exploiting the ranking system either on their own site to others or who they receive backlinks from sits in terms of formatting and trustworthiness of the domain itself.
Google announced that it would be launching a previous version of Link Spam update originally on the 26th of July but Google officially rolled out the November version on the 3rd of November. They reminded site owners that qualifying affiliate links and even guest posts on sites that link off or to your site are the way forward when it comes to your site ranking. Google also released a warning, saying that if sites fail to qualify their links or receive backlinks that are unqualified, then they may resort to manual actions to stop them from affecting the system or take algorithmic action.
According to the Link Spam update link-source site must qualify the outbound links, so if a site offered you backlinks from a post that was paid for, then it should be qualified according to the following:
A regular link that the source site wants Google to follow does not need to be qualified and may be created in the original format.
Have the site linking to you use the rel=”sponsored” valued when the link is a paid placement.
Ensure any user-generated content links on your site, or the site that links to you, carry the rel=”ugc” value on your site. Google does look at out-links of your pages as a form of reference to the quality of content.
If you are not sure what value to use but know that you don’t want to associate your website with the site you are linking to, then the rel=”nofollow” value should be used. Google said it will use nofollow links as a hint but historically nofollow links did not share PageRank. Also, you do not have to change nofollow links that were formated as such before the link spam update, just going forward.
You may also use multiple values:
We do know that links are a fundamental aspect of SEO and Google uses backlinks to understand who should be at the top of the results according to other sites. Each backlink is considered as a popularity “vote”, depending on its legitimacy.
Google has clarified what a natural link is and what it isn’t, many times.
The link update focuses on penalising paid-for links, sponsored guest posting, and also affiliate links that are not formatted correctly. This update also means that Google is now getting better at being able to spot any links that may exist, unnaturally.
How is the Link Spam Update Going to Affect your Business?
If you own a blog, then Google has been abundantly clear. They have said that it is now your responsibility to tag links if they have been placed as the result of money exchange and that if you are the target of the links from another website, then you also have to ensure that the source website is tagged correctly. As an SEO company we strongly advise taking the time to check this, especially if your site has been affected by the November link spam update.
If you have tagged links with the “nofollow” label, then you don’t need to revisit and change your blogs to “sponsored”. In the future, it may be judicious to explore this. From a corporate perspective, this may put you in a difficult situation, in terms of things like paid link placements, since the tagged links don’t tend to confer link value to various other websites, the link value will be lost. You need to ensure you comprehend the worth as being brand awareness and actual direct traffic rather than benefitting from the ranking signal.
By now, you probably know that having paid link placements will impact your SEO campaign. They may cause your website to experience penalties and as a webmaster, you find this very difficult to recover from. On top of this, they have the potential to set you back years of progress for your organic presence.
What’s Going to Happen if you have not tagged links correctly?
You might not be aware that you have been affected by link spam previously. There are inferior SEO companies that use black-hat methods as a way to secure results for their clients. This delivers good results at first, but things can rapidly take a turn and all of your money, energy and efforts may be nullified. Check traffic to the pages on your site individually in correlation with the November link spam update and then check out the backlink profile pointing to those pages, to get an idea.
If you know that you have been affected according to a manual action, or if you are concerned about some questionable methods you might not have been aware of previously, then, it may be likely that you’ll lose a high percentage of your traffic overnight in extreme cases due to this update. If you get hit with an algorithmic penalty, you may find that without warning, your rankings seem to worsen and thus traffic is reduced but not quite as severe as a manual action.
According to an SEO Company, What Action Should You take After the Update?
If you have some organic link placements, you don’t have anything worry about as long as the sites providing these links are trustworthy and relative to your content. Add the “sponsored” website tag to the link if you know it was affiliate in nature. If you rely on guest blogging substantially for your SEO campaign, then now is the time for you to diversify your portfolio. The most impactful website links cannot be purchased, they are earnt.
Monitor your website rankings If you notice that they have fallen in the SERPS, now is the prime time for you to be focusing on earning positive, trustworthy links that make sense, in context. Ensure that you check the drops occurred in sync with the rollout of these updates to be sure if you suspect an algorithmic action, as a result.
Google has released a statement saying the organisation has plans to ignore spammy links, as opposed to punishing your website for them, this may still have a radical impact on your overall rankings if you relied heavily on the links the link spam update is targeting. You might need to do a full overhaul but what’s done is done in this case, thus you must focus your efforts on other strategies going forward. According to the top SEO company in the industry, you need to check your site for manual penalty in Seach Console, if you haven’t received a manual penalty then you have less to worry about and need to balance the old problematic links with new earned links that follow Google’s guidelines.
You need to focus on earning quality links, posting original content, and just trying to follow white-hat SEO practices. Although there is no telling whether or not algorithms will change your site ranking in the future, it should be relatively simple for you to overcome any challenges if you have a solid content strategy in place that offers value to your vertical.
How do you Stop Your Site from Being Affected in the Future?
As mentioned in the section of this SEO company guide, above, aim to earn links through a regular content strategy that offers value to your specific industry vertical. Google are getting better at catching out short-term manipulative strategies, so best idea is to be what they expect you to be: a website that offers searcher’s value.
In addition, you need to start by understanding the guidelines that Google has on links and any content that is published. According to an SEO company, you should always consult the Developer Blog at Google.
This will allow you to safeguard against any important updates in the future, as the updates tend to build on one another. If you have received a manual action, then you should have a solid understanding of what’s happened as well as be aware of the steps you can take to solve the issue. If you go into a sudden panic about your site, then it is wise for you to try and contact the experts and not make any knee-jerk reactions, due to assumptions. An SEO company would remain calm and get to the cause before any sudden action.
This is all complicated and thus an SEO company will be your best resource when it comes to protecting your site while also getting safeguarded against future algorithm changes. SEO companies have seen it all and spend every moment working in this complicated space.
Find out How you have been Impacted
An SEO company will usually study your historic ranking data to find out how you have been impacted as you will need to have a solid overview of your website pages and you will need to come to a conclusion regarding which keywords and related pages you have dropped in rankings and traffic levels for.
A very useful way for you to find out this information would be for you to refer to the Google Analytics site and the Search Console. Set a time period and then do a comparison. When you have done this, you then need to export any affected URLs into an Excel Sheet, this is what an seo company would do.
Then, find the keywords that relate to every URL. Ahrefs is a very good resource for this. For each of the keywords, find the top 10 results and find out what they are doing in terms of earning links, that you are not. By adopting this approach, you can then pinpoint anything that requires immediate action.
If you do not have the time, the money or the resources needed to do the job properly, remember that hiring an SEO company is certainly the best way for you to make a positive change. An SEO company has the experience to see where issues may originate from and also how to problem solve the issues.
An SEO Company’s Final Thoughts
Google appreciates content creators who are willing to stick to policy guidelines while extending their websites with high-quality content. The bottom line is that you rather work towards matching what Google ia looking for to safeguard against updates in the future.
As a website owner, you have to make sure that you review your backlink profiles, and that you correct anything that may not be in line with Google’s guidelines. The new Link Spam Update is important for the future of SEO authority strategies, and it is something that Google wants all of the sites’ content creators to stick to. Becoming familiar with it will certainly help you to ensure that your site is in-line with the rules.
If you need some assistance then remember, it is forever a good idea for you to read the information that SEO companies are putting out there, as they have experience in helping people deal with algorithm changes. Also, refer and subscribe to Google’s blog.