Google Spam Update was rolled out on 19th October 2022.
This Google’s new Link Spam Update is expected to impact marketers and SEOs.
Link Spam Update?
Google released this new update to make its search engine results more relevant.
This Google Link Spam Update was also aimed at making it difficult for spammers to manipulate rankings in Google’s search results.
The changes this spam update brought to the table are expected to set major and impactful, not just for marketers but also for businesses.
After this update, the industry might see a decline in traffic for some websites while this new update can NIL traffic for many websites.
Although, this Google Spam Update October 2022 isn’t a core update.
A core update is launched with the purpose to improve the quality of search results and not punishing any particular website or niche.
On the other hand, Link Spam Updates like this one are done to update google’s system which is responsible for dealing with ONLY Spam.
With Spam updates, google targets websites that do not follow google’s spam policies.
What if your website is affected by this update?
Google’s latest algorithm updates are a threat to many businesses that earlier used spam backlinks for gaming the search engine traffic and organic rankings.
If your website traffic has declined after this update, there are chances that you are violating one of google’s spam policies.
Google lists down these activities which they think are under the radar for Black Hat SEO or Spammy ways to manipulate its system for better rankings,
- Link Spam,
- Keyword Stuffing,
- Door-way Pages,
- Hacked Content,
- Hidden Content,
- Artificial Content.
Let’s understand each of the factors, how they can affect your website, and most importantly how to recover from google spam update.
1. What is Link Spam?
Link spam is a type of spamming that occurs in the world of SEO.
Link spam is often used as a way to artificially inflate the PageRank of a website or web page.
Link spam can be defined as “the act of using various methods to increase the number of links pointing to a web page,” and it is often done by people who are trying to manipulate search engine rankings.
Types of links that google considers fraudulent are:
- Purchased Backlinks,
- Link Exchange or Link Interchange,
- Automated Links or Generating links from a third-party tool,
- Forum Links,
- Footer Links,
- Low-Quality Directory Submission/Bookmarking Links,
How to Recover From Google Spam Update?
As you know backlinks are an important ranking factor for SEO, the more quality backlinks you have, the better your rankings will be.
But what if you already have spammy links to your site & you are affected by this update? Is your Link Building Strategies work as you expected? No worries. If you find a major drop in your organic traffic, you may got affected with this Link Spam Update.
The best way to get rid of spam backlinks is to use Google’s disavow tool.
This tool allows you to direct Google to not count any link juice from a specified domain as a part of your link profile.
The method to use this tool is simple.
List down all the domains in the Notepad file which you think you have purchased, exchanged, or are of low quality.
The complete guide on how to make your disavow file is given here in Google Answers.
Open Google Disavow page and just upload the file.
Allow a few days until Google starts ignoring those links.
You will start noticing the impact after the google bot crawls your website.
2. What is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is when you stuff a web page with too many keywords to manipulate search engine rankings.
Google spam update discourages keyword stuffing for the following reasons:
- It makes hard for Google to identify what your website content is about,
- It can also be a sign that you’re trying to deceive Google or other searchers,
- It can be seen as spammy by visitors because they see lots of keywords but not much useful content.
Google recommends to potential keywords identified after a immersive keyword research practices.
How to make your web page look more natural?
Identify web pages on your domain that have a high density of keywords.
Identify keywords for each page and try to figure out if your primary or secondary keywords aren’t used unnecessarily.
Make your web page focused more on user intent, and try to deliver whatever the particular query requests.
Making those small changes in your content and allowing some time for Google to index a fresh page would be enough to recover if you ever violated this policy.
Cloaking is the process of creating content for Google and other search engines that are different from the content that is shown to users.
Webmasters sometimes use dynamic content on their web pages. This dynamic content is shown differently based on user_agent (human or bot).
Cloaking is a very bad practice for SEO because it’s against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
It can be seen as deceptive and manipulative, which can lead to a site getting penalized or banned from Google.
How to avoid cloaking?
Ensure that you do not use this black hat technique to avoid getting caught after this spam update. Even if you have used cloaking in your web pages, follow the procedure to recover from it:
- Review all the elements of your domain, and make sure you have a contrast of 4.5 to 1,
- Remove all the hidden text if it is anywhere in your domain,
- Use Screaming Frog to identify if your website has hidden text by CSS.
4. What are doorway pages in SEO?
Doorway pages are web pages that are created to rank for a single keyword. It is also called the doorway site.
Doorway pages are not allowed in the Google algorithm. They can be penalized if found by search engine crawlers.
However, it is not always easy to detect them and they can still rank on the first page of the Google results page.
Doorway pages have been used in SEO for many years now and they will continue to be used as long as there’s an opportunity for them to work.
However, with the October Google spam update, the updated Google system for recognizing spam, Google has already started de-ranking many websites using this method to outrank the competition.
How to fix doorway pages?
Doorway pages can be fixed by using one of the following methods:
- Using no-follow tags on links or images,
- Redirecting users to the original page after clicking on a link,
- Building new content around keywords with similar meaning.
5. What is hacked content?
A hacked website has all its content changed altogether in it with the sole purpose of de-ranking it.
Hacked content can include things such as spammy links, keyword stuffing, and using other people’s articles without permission.
Hacked content can be a disaster for any website. It can lead to a loss of trust, credibility, and customer base.
Websites that are hacked are often used in phishing scams and other types of cybercrime.
Sanitize your website, and update its security to keep it safe further. However, security is itself a big topic and is out of the scope of this blog.
You can check out this blog to know more about your WordPress website security.
6. What is Hidden Content?
Sometimes, webmasters or website designers use many techniques to hide content or links from human visitors while keeping it visible to Google bots to influence Google SERPs.
Some common ways by which they do this are:
- Using the same text color and background,
- Using an image to hide text behind it,
- Placing text out of the viewport,
- Making font size 0,
- Making text transparent via CSS.
All these methods are used to hide content from human visitors.
With these techniques, webmasters & SEOs try to feed keywords to Google bots to outrank the competition ultimately.
Google spam updates can block you and can nil your traffic in no time if caught.
If you were using these blackhat ways, it may take time to recover back and regain the lost traffic.
How to fix the hidden content issues on your website?
- Delete all of the hidden content from your website and then upload new files that contain only visible content.
- Add a tag to your website’s header so that browsers know where to stop looking for scripts and stylesheets.
7. Using AI Tools for Content Generation
AI content generators are a new and popular trend in the world of content marketing.
They help marketers create content without the need to hire a writer, which is time-consuming and expensive.
However, Google is not as welcoming to AI content generators as they are to human writers.
The reasons for this might be that AI-generated content has no personality and it’s difficult for Google’s algorithm to understand it.
If you were using AI content & you noticed a decline in your traffic lately, this might be the reason that google thinks you have violated their policy.
Remove the pages that have artificially written content on them.
Alternatively, you can remove the artificial content on those web pages and can create more natural content.
If you are hit by Google spam update, check whether the content on your web pages is artificially created.
If yes, this might be one of the reasons your traffic declined.
From what’s discussed above it’s clear that the majority of this Google spam update is focused on content, meta tags, keyword stuffing, and a lot more.
For the long-term growth of the business, one should always focus on creating natural backlinks.
You might have heard again and again of content supremacy in the marketing domain with the term “Content is King” and that’s because it’s true.
It doesn’t mean Google overlooks other factors such as links or duplicative content and AI-generated content.
Once your content gets noticed in search engine result pages you will naturally gain backlinks.
Avoid getting low-quality links (bookmarking, directory submission, profile creation, forum links, etc).
So, to sustain in the long run spot-check yourself and do what’s best for users.
The only way to win is to realize there are no shortcuts to success and question yourself like is my content providing enough value that makes readers want to link to me?
If yes is your answer then share it with us and also comment your opinions about the Google spam update jump into our Facebook community.