Google Helpful Content & Link Spam Update Delayed By Holidays

Every year since its launch, Google has released a series of updates to improve user experiences. Thanks to the updates, the search engine continually evolves and improves its functionality.

The updates slated for completion in December 2022 include the helpful content update and link spam update.

Helpful Content Update

The helpful content update builds on the helpful content system launched by Google in August 2022 to flag content created primarily for ranking rather than providing information to users. Over the years, SOE strategies have focused more on ranking in the SERPS by tricking ranking algorithms. This came at the expense of the information provided, ultimately leading to poor-quality search results.

At first, the system was focused on English content. Following the roll-out date of the update on December 5, 2022, Google expanded its focus to a global scale, impacting all languages. According to Google, the update also came with additional signals to make its algorithms better at catching content created for the search engines rather than for people.

At the time of the roll-out, Google had indicated that the update would complete in two weeks. However, the process ended up taking about a month to complete.

Link Spam Update

The helpful content update was not the only 2022 update that saw significant delays. On December 14, 2022, Google rolled out a link spam update which, like other Google updates, was expected to last two weeks. However, the roll-out dragged on for 29 days, with Google announcing its completion on January 12, 2023.

Like the helpful content feature, the Google link spam feature aims to improve the quality of search results by eliminating spammy links geared toward ranking in the SERPs. While adding links is part of SEO, unscrupulous SEO marketers employ black hat linking strategies to manipulate rankings on Google, resulting in low-quality results.

Examples of activities classified as link spamming by Google include buying and selling links for ranking purposes, excessively exchanging links (i.e., site owners exchanging links solely for cross-linking), and using automated programs to create links.

Reasons for Delays in the Roll-Outs

According to Google, the roll-outs for the two updates took longer because of the holidays. For SEO industry professionals, prolonged roll-outs mean there is no way of accurately weighing the effect the updates have on SEO for the entire time the roll-out is in progress.

With the updates now complete, SEO experts can begin to assess which of the two updates will impact their sites. These observations will advise the next trends and strategies in SEO for the coming year.

Initial indications show that the updates did cause ranking volatility in aggregate. However, SEO experts will eventually find a way to navigate Google’s algorithm as they always have to rank in the SERPs. At the same time, Google will keep updating its algorithms to improve user experiences and prevent system abuse. To learn more about keeping up with Google’s updates in the new year, reach out to BluShark Digital today.