If you follow natural referencing news at all, you have inevitably noticed that the pace of updates and developments to Google’s search engine accelerated at the beginning of the summer. What is happening? Does the Mountain View firm have a new strategy to implement, or has the engine just gone into overdrive?

A little context

When I was a beginner in the world of SEO, around 2008, we had Google Dances: every month, the engine did an update where it recalculated the PageRank of all the documents in its index, which led to changes position (I already talked about it here). We watched it like milk on fire, we had learned to detect their beginning and their end. About once a month, we were in front of our tools like kids in front of their TV, to see what new the update would bring to our sites. Then, around 2009 (after the Florida update, as I recall), the dancing stopped.

For around ten years, we were entitled to a big update once a year. Since 2017, Google Dances have become Core Updates, with the difference that the engine no longer wishes to communicate about the changes it is making to its algorithms. Once a month, fingers crossed, it can go up or down, depending on the whims of these gentlemen from Mountain View.

In addition to these monthly Core Updates, since the beginning of April, there have been updates specifically designed to correct an aspect of the SERPs. We had Product Reviews (in April), Page Experience (from June to August), Spam Update (in June), then Link Spam update (end of July). It’s starting to do a lot.

Very messy communication

As we have already said, Google does not give any information on the content of its Core Updates: the official version is that they touch buttons to adjust the algorithms a little better, and we have to make do with that. We spend more and more time with our noses in our tools to spot possible traces of logic: which sites are going down; which sites are going up? (Besides, Sitix is ​​always on hand to publish her little analysis)

The Spam Update, deployed in two parts, overlapped with the June Core Update. For Page Experience, we feared a third “mobileggedon” (we are still waiting for the first two): after announcing that it would favor mobile compatible sites (in 2015), Google moved to the mobile first index (in 2018). Each time, somewhat alarmist consultants warned that global seo company would never be the same again. In short, the Page Experience was the same lemonade, and apart from a few “as usual” corrections, no notable results.

A recap of the latest updates

With such a deployment schedule, it’s quite easy to get lost. Here is a quick recap of the little information we have on each update:

Product reviews update

In April 2021. This one was almost a Core Update. It targeted pages (and more generally, sites as a whole) which publish reviews of Products (often monetized through affiliation: you present the product, and if you make a sale, the seller gives you a ticket). Google asked webmasters to make a real effort to give a well-constructed and reasoned opinion on the product, otherwise their site will fall by the wayside.

Basically, if you import product catalogs and you don’t display more information than the description provided by the seller, you risk getting yourself a lead. Read between the lines: if you don’t bring anything more than Google Shopping, you might as well free up space in the SERPs so that we can make our own money.

Page Experience

From mid-June to the end of August (longer than usual). That’s good, it’ll be almost two years since we heard about it. Google has decided to take into account the experience that your site offers to the user, especially if it is on mobile. The ergonomics must be square (no clickable elements that are too small or too close, for example), intrusive pop-ups should be avoided, and Core Web Vitals make their appearance. book marketing agency These are three indicators which reflect the good adequacy of your site with the state of the art: LCP (Largest Concertful Paint) and FID (First Input Delay) measure the time that the user will wait for your site to finish loading, and CLs (Cumulative Layout Shift) checks if your design “moves” as it loads (because an image shifts elements down, for example).

Spam update part 1 and 2

Respectively June 23 and 28. Their rapid deployment suggests that it is more of a new filter (or new settings of an existing filter) than of a “recalculation” as the Core Updates could be. The name was very scary but when we read the “definition” that Google gives of spam (necessarily vague, you are starting to know them), we understand half-heartedly that the update was mainly aimed at hard spammed sites, such as for example WordPress hacked to inject content pages (a technique very common among counterfeit sellers), and not just “low quality” sites.

Link Spam Update

For this one, since we sell links, we dug deeper. The recognized purpose of this update is “to identify and nullify low quality links”. Do follow links would be targeted as a priority which should have the mention “sponsored” (the webmaster is compensated in one way or another for this link) or “gun” (the content is posted by a user – for example in a comment – and the webmaster does not guarantee its quality), and in general links posted by a third party (guest posting: the webmaster has lent you the keys to his blog so that you can write an article there). If your links are no follow, it has been confirmed several times that there would be no point in retouching them.

The first problem that arises is that it is not clear what the term “spam” refers to. We do not know if Google is not, in reality, talking about links placed without your knowledge and/or in an automated manner. As a precaution, let’s assume that the purchased links are in the viewfinder, which would logically be the case, even if these links are not spam in my eyes.

Our first feeling is that Google is trying, through its aggressive communication (“be careful, I’m going to punish you”), to push webmasters to use their new “reel” attribute standard (sponsored and gun). This is not the first time that Mountain View has tried to impose its standards, we have already seen this with the AMP format, an HTML optimized for mobile, which was “imposed” by Google on publishers who wanted to be cited in Google News. Now that this obligation is lifted, I predict that this format will quickly fall into oblivion (we will discuss it on Google Plus, well).

What are the risks if we still buy links? Concretely, few things. The goal of this algorithm is to “nullify” the links (make them null). So if you buy a link today, two things can happen: either the link slips through the cracks (and our job at Souvenir.fr is to find spots for which this is the case) and it will be taken into account normally, or it is caught by the patrol and it will have no effect.

To find links that go unnoticed, we monitor the ability of our publisher-partner sites to position themselves (including SEMrush and Webserver). We were already doing this before the update.

With the deployment of this update, it is possible that your positions will drop if too many of your links end up ignored. On the other hand, and the nuance is significant, Google will not be able to penalize your site by pulling it down. If links could be taken into account in a negative way, it would allow me to buy poor quality links and point them to my competitors’ site to make them go down: this is one of the methods that has long been used in negative SEO, which Google has always described as an “urban legend”.

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