Google Link Spam Update

outbound link hyperlink rel relationship

Google is no doubt changing almost everything regarding its algorithm, in 2021, we saw Core Web Vitals and Page Experience update which will be fully rolled out in August 2021. As for RankYa Fans, you will always benefit from ALL Google’s core algorithm updates because using RankYa search engine optimization techniques means that your business website is adhering to Google guidelines.

In conjunction with Google Page Experience update (fully in effect in August 2021), Google is changing its algorithm and calling it link spam update. And before learning about this latest change, we really need to touch base with

What are Hyperlinks & What Google is Changing for Links

Hyperlinks, links, backlinks, outbound links basically means that a website is linking to another resource.

When linking within a website, this is called internal links.

When the linking is pointing out towards some other external website on another domain, this is called outbound links.

When the link is pointing back to a website from another domain, this is called backlinks.

Google link spam update focuses on outbound links, and wants site owners to tag outbound links better guiding Google to understand the relationship between the links it encounters.

What to Do for Google Link Spam Update

Continue using RankYa SEO techniques and stay away from participating in linking schemes taught by other so called SEO experts. Then, from your end, Google now wants website owners to TAG the links using HTML rel attribute.

In terms of HTML5 Standards, there can be many use cases for marking up hyperlinks using HTML rel attribute, however, as far as Google link spam update is concerned, Google wants website authors to at least use these:

  • rel=”sponsored”
  • rel=”ugc”
  • rel=”nofollow”


Use this if you are linking out to affiliate products, advertisements, when guest posting on your website, when someone pays you for link placements, or any outbound link that has been sponsored by someone.


This is called user generated content. Use this if your website is a community social network type of website or forum based site or even any content that is generated by users (this includes comments which most websites have (especially WordPress))


This no doubt is going to very hard to understand for almost all so called SEO experts as to how best to use this. I’ll try to simplify it because using rel=”nofollow” means that you are telling Google to not follow the link the rel="nofollow" tag is placed on.

When Google sees nofollow on a link, it will NOT follow the link. Now, without confusing you too much about how Google rankings works or how google finds links through following other links on internet, when you use nofollow attribute on a hyperlink, you are simply telling Google to not associate the link on your website with the web page that it is linking to (if other confused you about with terms such as “link juice, nofollow doens’t pass pageRank etc. simply ignore such non-sense information about SEO and Google rankings, instead, focus on creating new content and continuously improving your content). <a href="" rel="nofollow">web page on some external website</a> Basically, looking at the example above, when Google sees such links, it will not follow and also not pass any ranking calculation value from the document (the link is at) to the other document it is linked to (meaning, each URL (web document) as far as Google is concerned has a ranking-value, nofollow will ensure that value is not carried on to the outbound link).

Multiple REL Values

To clarify, when you see rel=whatevertag you are creating a relationship between web documents. And since you can use multiple values on HTML rel attributes, Google Link Spam Update encourages website owners to do so as well. How? Let’s imagine that the sample link as below is created by a forum member on some forum related website? <a href="" rel="nofollow ugc">web page on some external website</a> You are telling Google:

Hey Google, first, do not follow (also do not pass any ranking calculation value), just realize that this link is coming from user generated content (see ugc)

Another example: <a href="" rel="sponsored">ABC Company</a>

Hey Google, treat this link bit different compared to all other links on my website because the relationship I have with this external website is sponsored

Google Link Spam Update for SEO

I’m not sure how long you’ve been operating your business website online, thus, just realize that links are important, hence Google is evolving to catch spammy practices. In fact, even today in 2021, there are many SEO experts and SEO agencies using spam techniques to obtain backlinks to bump up their clients Google rankings. Worse yet, even major players like Crazy Domains Web Hosting, GoDaddy hosting, marketplaces like upwork or fiverr have many services offering you all sorts of spammy SEO techniques.

Beware of & Stay Away from Spam Practices

Quite honestly, its always great to hear about Google algorithm changes regarding spam and SEO. First because it helps the internet become less spammy, and second, it helps reduce so called SEO gurus damaging unsuspecting business website’s reputation.

Usually these spam tactics get Backlinks from places such as free versions of WordPress, Blogger, using free website builders such as Weebly, Google Sites, spam backlinks from PDFs, Google Maps (so called local SEO Google Map citation), sneaky quick and easy forum backlinks, bookmarking and question and answer related websites. Its obvious that Google is finally taking action for all these spam techniques to avoid:

  • Submit business information to all the directories and search engines
  • Local Citation Building. Niche Citation Building
  • Create Citation profile. Create NAP
  • Web 2.0 backlinks
  • Create Social Profiles for backlinks
  • Bookmarking. Ads Posting. Classified listing
  • Blog comment links. Blog Directories
  • Q&A backlinks. Image or Video backlinks

Anytime you see SEO’s offering such things and telling you that they’ll get higher Google rankings for your business website, simply stay away.

What if you already worked with SEO services who got such links? Then, you can look in to Google Disavow link feature (RankYa YouTube channel has videos showing how to use it). Remember, Google may be penalizing a website without the website owner realizing it (Google actually does that right now when a website uses spam backlink tactics).

By RankYa

RankYa digital marketer, website optimizer, content creator, and a fully qualified web developer helping businesses of all sizes achieve greater results online. Based in Melbourne Australia RankYa serves valued clients worldwide by providing personalized services.

We love sharing our proven experience through how to videos and complete courses related to business website marketing, conversion optimization, Google (Search Console, Ads, Analytics, YouTube), SEO, HTML5, Structured Data and WordPress. Thank you for visiting our blog.

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