By 5 years ago in Google

New linkspam algorithm from Google

For those of you into paid links and blog/guestbook spamming this is probably going to be bad news – Google has apparently got a new linkspam algorithm and they are actively seeking reports to test it with.

Google has been working on some new algorithms and tools to tackle linkspam and we’d like to ask for linkspam reports from you. If you’d like to tell us about web sites that appear to be using spammy links (e.g. paid links that pass PageRank, blog spammers, guestbook spammers, etc.), here’s how to send us more info. Go to

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport

and tell us about the site that appears to be employing link spam. Be sure to include the word “linkspam” (all one word, all lower-case) in the textarea (the last field in the form).

Now we’ve all heard about Google trying to crack down on paid links before but they have failed for a number of reasons. The main reason is that a lot of sites with top rankings have thousands of paid links. Other people see these links, assume that they must be working and then go out and replicate them. There are some clever people who understand that these links might not actually be helping but most people don’t know how to really test whether a link is passing weight.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this one. Perhaps this new algorithm is going to be part of the caffeine update which we are still waiting for.

By Patrick Altoft. at 3:04PM on Thursday, 04 Mar 2010

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

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22 Responses to “New linkspam algorithm from Google”

  1. paolo says:

    that is good and bad! You’re right some people do good link building but then complement it with not so agreable strategies, just because all their niche compeititors are.

    There has to be more top linkbuilding then linkbait, article submission, crappy directories, blog commenting, blah blah.

  2. Gareth James says:

    Patrick, care to share some of your testing methods to determine if a paid link is passing weight?

  3. Daz says:

    This whole topic makes me skittish, links in and out are the bane of my life. It’s such a generally misunderstood concept, not for you guys obviously, but plumbers like us with a few crumbs of understanding really struggle in this arena.

  4. Be interesting to see how this one pans out, part of me thinks there asking for the reports so they get a heads up about the network

  5. [...] New Linkspam Algorithm from Google [...]

  6. JR says:

    This is something that will be problematic and really useless from many perspectives and I am surprised that Google is doing it as they will now get plummeted with competitors trying to get rid of their competition.

    Google has always been emphatic on the fact that there is nothing that a competitor can do to harm your rankings, and because regular web users have no clue about web spam and bad links, this is obviously geared to those in the know, who are inevitable vying for better rankings.

  7. JR says:

    By the way, I see that this is part of the Webmaster Tools interface, so obviously this is even more bad news, as those greedy competitors will have a field day with this one. Shame on Google, are they this desperate, get real!

  8. JR says:

    Me again, in reading more carefully, what is interesting is that Matt’s announcement on his blog, is very different from what is actually on the Webmaster Tools SPAM submit form.

    The form at GWT asks for actual SPAM sites, that use Black Hat tactics, such as Doorway pages, cloacking, redirects and the like: “Trying to deceive (spam) our web crawler by means of hidden text, deceptive cloaking or doorway pages compromises the quality of our results and degrades the search experience for everyone.” That is a good thing, and I welcome it, as many of those sites also carry Malware.

    Nothing there about paid links, or spammy links, so looks like Matt may have his own agenda with his announcement and request.

  9. searchbrat says:

    If they do have a new algorithm that gets rid of paid links, site wide footer links etc etc, half of the web in competitive markets is going to end up missing.

  10. I’m sure it’ll all be ok
    They’ll have to be carefull not to rock the boat
    I can’t see this will affect the competitors…. it wouldn’t be fair otherwise !
    Anyway what will be will be unless we all kic up a stink
    Good luck to you all out there

    http://twitter.com/MijasRealEstate

  11. [...] While it’s unclear exactly why Cutts and his organic search squad are refocusing their efforts on this initiative now, there has been plenty of speculation floating around the net. The most logical explanation is that Google wants to highly refine their search results and get everything in place for when Caffeine launches. [...]

  12. [...] cualquier manera  se oyen rumores de que el nuevo algoritmo de Google Caffeine que parece nunca llegar,  será suficientemente [...]

  13. seo says:

    Awesome site! got some new information.

  14. New algorithm will be benefircial in a long run. Thanks for the info.

  15. Pretty happy about this. Been criticised by some clients for the past few years who wanted to build a complete longterm strategy based on this. Always advised against it as it’s farily obvious that megaspamming google is only ever a short-term gain. Okay for clients who can afford to change online strategies quickly and who have the budget – for SMEs, always a bad idea in IMHO.

  16. Tomas says:

    Give that there are billions of websites there will never be an effective link spam filter.

    I am persanally opposed to links counting towards rankning as its only people like me who use link strategies. Google likes organic links and we are a small english school so strangely there is no great intrest from other sites to link to ours organically. My advise get rid of linking all togeather as part of the Google algorithm or you will always have people trying to cheat.

  17. Scott says:

    The more and better ways Google figures out how to identify paid links the sooner we will be on the same playing level. Why should some sites have that choice, cheating the system, it hurts the small business owner trying to promote their site by hard work and passion.

  18. maccosmetics says:

    The form at GWT asks for actual SPAM sites, that use Black Hat tactics, such as Doorway pages, cloacking, redirects and the like: "Trying to deceive (spam) our web crawler by means of hidden text, deceptive cloaking or doorway pages compromises the quality of our results and degrades the search experience for everyone." That is a good thing, and I welcome it, as many of those sites also carry Malware.

    Read more about New linkspam algorithm from Google by Blogstorm SEO Blog

  19. Louise says:

    What would Google do to verify such reports? Isnt it going to cause confusion as I cannot think of any major websites who do not use paid links without nofollow tags. Ther pirposes may differ, but its all part of marketing. Is it that Google want to divert all paid links clients to adwords?

  20. McGelligot says:

    A few people in the comments recommended that Google stop using links as an indicator of relevance and quality. My question would be, if you don’t use link popularity, what do you use? I think they try to include some contextual aspects to their algorithm. They could use some kind of grammar checker or spell checker easily enough. But context can only be a part of the solution. They keep talking about using brand. This might help. Yet it certainly skews the playing field even more toward the established site. Right now, I think links must remain their main focus.

  21. I was told by a guy I know today who is some kind of SEO guru (he claims) that Google have just changed their algorithm again.

    I build a few sites for people and am quite adept by now at getting them high on Google. However, I did one about a week ago, and although they have indexed it, it is not ranking for keywords in what is not a competitive niche. I am a bit concerned that something has changed and we need to rethink some of this stuff.

    Google, having found it, should have ranked it within a few days yes? It has a few backlinks out there, is linked from an article on my blog, all good original clean content, good code, perfect meta tags, sitemap,……. crawled but not properly listed yet. First time ever!

    • I think you can pretty much assume they change it every other day! But I think major updates will be well publicised in all the relevant places and people make it their business to notify the world about it.

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