The July link spam update was Google’s third algorithm change in the summer of 2021 and was announced on July 26. The rollout of this update was supposed to take just two weeks, but the whole process eventually took just over a month, with the end of the rollout being notified by Google on the 24th of August.
Like previous link spam updates, this new rollout aimed to improve Google’s algorithms at identifying links that promote spammy policies, resulting in them being ignored when calculating a site’s ranking in the SERPs.
The July update focused primarily on correctly identifying affiliate and sponsored content links. What is the difference between them? When a site posts an affiliate link to a particular product, it receives a small sales commission if the reader decides to buy that product through that link. Sponsored links, also known as paid links, are a little different, as they are basically a form of paid advertising where a site receives a fixed sum just for posting a specific link in the middle of the created content.
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Google guidelines are pretty clear on how these links should be tagged. Affiliated and paid links should be qualified with rel=”sponsored”, regardless of whether the links are created dynamically or if the person posting the link is paid just for listing the URL in the middle of the created content. Google’s guidelines also consider the creation of guest posts, which, according to them, must be tagged with the distinction of real=”nofollow”.
You shouldn’t worry too much if you don’t follow these guidelines strictly, as your site won’t be de-listed in the SERPs. Instead, your links will likely be nullified, which can affect your profit. In fact, after the implementation of the update, SEMrush, and Advanced Web Ranking showed increased volatility in the SEO market for many websites. The same spikes were reported again after August 5th, which strengthens the hypothesis of a hidden algorithm update right in the middle of the implementation of the July rollout.
Your site may have been affected by the latest update if the existing content on your pages is heavily reliant on paid links, which are a relatively risky traffic-boosting practice as Google’s updates often target them. Google especially favors traffic obtained by implementing organic solutions and paid, or affiliated links will always be potentially risky as they are often identified as spam.
To decrease the potential volatility you may encounter with the rollout of Google’s algorithm updates, your site should benefit from a diversified portfolio of links. The best solution to make the entire SEO process worry-free is to hire a professional SEO company like GAMIT to implement robust link-building solutions on your site that always comply with the policies imposed by search engines.
Find out more about the experts in our team. You can contact them and request a free website SEO audit report together with our SEO proposal on how to increase your website’s traffic and sales.
Mihai C. Tudorache
I am the president and co-founder of GAMIT. My business administration background is important in understanding our client’s necessities, so my expertise includes building comprehensive and all-inclusive SEO strategies for lead results. Our advanced SEO solutions are developed through extensive analysis and complete SEO improvement audits.