Justin's Daily SEO Insights

Justin, our Technical Director, shares his daily thoughts on what is happening in the world of SEO...

Google’s Link Spam Update is finished

Google has confirmed today that the Link Spam Update that began rolling out in December has now finished. It took nearly a month to roll out as it was partially paused during the holiday. The Link Spam Update is focused on removing the effects of spam links that point to websites that may be artificially helping them to rank well. The effects of this update may be difficult to determine in isolation as it was overlapped by the release of the new Helpful Content Update.

Therefore, if a website has lost rankings over the last 30 days, it could have been because of either update or could have been affected by both. Google still heavily relies on backlinks for ranking websites and it is continuing to refine how it determines if a link is natural or artificial, i.e., that the website hasn’t gained that backlink organically. We can expect more Link Spam updates to continue rolling out during the year.

Even Google’s updates take a holiday

The Helpful Content and Spam updates which were released by Google in December, are still continuing to roll out, which may explain the current turbulence in the search results. These sorts of updates typically take a couple of weeks to fully roll out but the December updates have not yet finished, and it’s been nearly a month now. Danny Sullivan, Search Liaison at Google, stated that the the reason why this is taking so long is because Google pauses the release of the updates during the holidays.

There was some speculation that the length of an update is relative to its impact, but this seems not to be the case. There is still no news as to when these updates will be completed but the search results have been in a high level of flux recently, so we hope it won’t be too long now before things settle down again.