On July 26, Google announced a new algorithm update regarding links that has left some business owners scratching their heads about what it means for the future of link building and ranking.
The specific causes and effects won’t be known for a few weeks, as is the case with most Google updates. What Google says and what happens in reality is often very different, so we’ll always just look at the data to make our real conclusions and suggestions.
Understanding Google’s Link Spam Update
The goal of Google’s link spam update isn’t to penalize online businesses for using guest posts. Instead, they’re trying to cut through the increasing levels of spam content.
We want to share a reminder on how to deal with links that might have a commercial nature and how we continue to work to lessen the impact of link spam on our results.
It’s important to note that Google specifically says they will not penalize sites with this update, and instead they intend to “nullify” the impact of links that they deem spam.
This algorithm update, which will rollout across the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages.
In the end, it should improve quality for all.
Within the update post, Google specifically called out links that are designed to monetize a website like affiliate links.
This understandably got digital marketers nervous, but Google went on to explain that high-quality content and links aren’t part of the crackdown.
Google said that the monetization of websites is allowed in a lot of instances. For example, affiliate sites are creating quality content to inform and educate readers and in return, make a commission from any sales.
Not a big deal here, most affiliates don’t care whether the link is dofollow or not, they just care that they get paid from the click.
They also specifically call out guest posts in the article, but similarly they are looking for posts that are “commercial” or promotional in nature.
In marketing, we call this an advertorial – a post that is specifically designed to sell a product or service and is obviously promotional in that case.
However, Google, in reference to guest posts, “Google does not discourage these types of articles in the cases when they inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company”
This Update Is Not Intended To Penalize
Unlike in the past algorithm updates involving links, likes the infamous Penguin update, this new update is not intended to immediately penalize the website. However, what it does is “nullify” the undue advantage that some sites enjoy by building low-quality backlinks.
It’s clear that Google is trying to draw a line in the sand to help weed out low-quality links. If you’re building mass links with no value that are overly promotional, you probably want to stop doing that.
But if you’re investing in white hat, manual outreach to grow your backlinks from quality sites, with informative content that is not overly promotional, then it seems as though that is not a part of what this update targets.
Don’t Drop Your Guest Post Strategy
This brings up the question of guest posting as a strategy, will this continue to produce results?
This update isn’t penalizing guest posts, it’s instead saying that Google will stop allowing low-quality, spammy links to help website’s SEO. Google wants to ensure that quality guest posts and links are what is driving SEO results.
Certain websites may experience a drop in ranking but if you are using HOTH Guest Post, our white hat, manual outreach link building service, you have nothing to worry about.
Google has also reminded readers of its best practices for links.
Guest Posts Continue To Drive Results
It’s natural that algorithm changes are going to spark confusion and speculation.
But we track the effectiveness of guest posts every single day and we’ve found some data about guest posts since the update.
So instead of theorizing what may happen, we want to show you what’s ACTUALLY happening in some of our campaigns since the update.
Here’s a client of ours who is in the plumbing industry.
They have been with us for quite a while, doing several high-quality link building and content creation campaigns. A few months ago we created a DA40+ guest post for them and within a month of the post going live their rankings for the keyword exploded.
The keyword they were trying to target was of medium difficulty, and the DA40 link not only helped them drive rankings but also continues to keep them there.
They are now ranking in the top 3 for their money keyword with no sign of slowing down.
Here’s a few more examples of sites that have had guest posts published very recently and have had success during this new Google Update rolling out:
Here is a news media website that used a DA30+ guest post to try and target a new keyword. While attacking it from other angles with content and foundational link building, they used their guest post to blast onto page 1 of Google.
Here’s a home improvement self-help site that used a DA40+ guest post to get to position #6. They climbed the SERPs slowly and steadily, directly through the time that the Google update was rolling out!
This last one is an e-commerce store for plumbing parts that saw a slow down in growth towards the end of June. By using a variety of different guest posts, they we’re able to grow and recover their rankings while the Google update was rolling out!
Our results match up exactly with what the update says: quality guest posting links work and will continue to be a powerful driver in your SEO.
Need Help Navigating the Update?
Google’s link spam update won’t be the first or last change coming from the search engine. The important thing is that you’re able to reevaluate your strategy and pivot for new growth.
Do you need help figuring out your next move?
The HOTH offers a premium Guest Post product that’s been proven effective with thousands of clients. Our team also has the expertise to sit down with you and find ways to optimize your current campaigns.
All you have to do is book a call with us for a one-on-one strategy session!