Google is starting to roll out “link spam update”, making its algorithms more efficient at identifying and eliminating link spam.
The update is starting to roll out today and it will take at least two weeks to roll out broadly to search results in multiple languages.
Google warns that placement changes are imminent for some site owners:
In our continued efforts to improve the quality of search results, we are launching a new change in spam control today – which we call “link spam update …
Websites that engage in link spam will see changes in Search as these links are re-evaluated by our algorithms. ”
Continue reading below
Information strewn through Google’s message suggests a particular emphasis on targeting links from sponsored, guest, and associated content.
In fact, the message begins as a casual reminder to mark associated content with the relevant rel values. Google is burying lead as the news of this algorithm update is not mentioned until the end of the blog post.
This is an indication that Google wants website owners to pay attention to their advice on how to handle links within content where there is an exchange of value involved.
Let’s go through Google’s guide, which seems to be of particular relevance to this algorithm update.
Continue reading below
Best practices for Google Link tagging
Google reminds site owners to properly qualify links when linking to other sites.
Websites are required to add tags to links where there is a value exchange between the two domains.
In particular, Google designates affiliate links and links from sponsored and guest content.
Here is what Google recommends for each type of link:
Affiliates: Google asks sites participating in affiliate programs to qualify these links as rel = “sponsored”, whether those links are created manually or dynamically. Links from Sponsored Posts: Links that are advertisements or paid placements (often called paid links) should be marked with rel = “sponsored” value. Links from guest posts: Links from guest posts must be marked with the rel = “nofollow” value.
Google adds that it can issue manual actions when it finds sites that do not qualify the above types of links correctly.
Source: Google Search Central Blog