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Google December 2022 Link Spam Update Unleashed Using SpamBrain AI

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Google December 2022 Link Spam Update Unleashed Using SpamBrain AI

Google began rolling out a revised link spam update on December 14, 2022, named the December 2022 link spam update. This update is new in that it uses SpamBrain AI to “detect both sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links,” and not just “detect spam directly,” Google said.

The update will take up to two weeks to roll out and started rolling out a week after Google started the December 2022 helpful content update, which is not yet done rolling out. The previous link spam update was in July 2021, as an FYI.

December 2022 Google Link Spam Update Quick Facts

Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:

  • Name: Google December 2022 Link Spam Update
  • Launch Date: It began to roll out on December 14th
  • Rollout: It will take up to two weeks to fully roll out
  • Targets: It targets both sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.
  • Penalty: This will “neutralize” links that it detects as being spam and thus links that are detected won’t be counted and may show a decline in rankings.
  • Not a manual action: This is not a manual action, so you won’t be notified in Search Console if you are hit.
  • Global and all languages: This is a global launch and affects all languages.
  • SpamBrain: This is the first time Google is using its AI-based spam detection, i.e., SpamBrain, for link spam purposes.

SpamBrain Link Spam Detection Upgrade

So what is new here is that this is not just a spam update but how SpamBrain uses AI to detect link spam. Google wrote, like I said above, “SpamBrain is our AI-based spam-prevention system. Besides using it to detect spam directly, it can now detect both sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.”

Google added, “As we have always emphasized, links obtained primarily for artificial manipulation of Search rankings are link spam. Our algorithms and manual actions aim to nullify these unnatural links at scale, and we will continue to improve our coverage.”

Google later clarified that this is the first time Google is using SpamBrain for link spam detection:

Google also added to the Spam updated help page a section on links that reads:

In the case of a link spam update (an update that specifically deals with link spam), making changes might not generate an improvement. This is because when our systems nullify spammy links, the link credit that was previously generated is lost. If this credit was helping to generate rankings, it cannot be regained.

No Notice – No Manual Action

Like with any algorithmic update, there is no way to be notified that this update hit you. This is not a manual action where you would be notified. Of course, if you see big drops in your Google visibility and traffic in the next couple of days – and you do any sort of link tactics – then you probably were hit by this.

Here is John Mueller of Google saying this is not a manual action, if you don’t believe me:

Spammy Links & Negative SEO

Google has been saying you don’t have to worry about negative SEO or spammy links pointing to your site as long as you did not build them yourself. Many SEOs miss the point that Google is “neutralizing” the link, which means they are not counting the link. So the link won’t hurt you; more importantly, it won’t help you. If the link was helping you prior to this or other updates, and now it no longer is helping you rank, then that might feel like a penalty. Got it?

Timing Not Great?

Being that it is right before the holiday season, some SEOs are not happy with the timing of this release. Plus, with the December 2022 helpful content update also rolling out a week earlier and it not being done, you have two different but overlapping updates happening at the same time.

Both updates are a couple of weeks before the holidays (Chanukah is Sunday night), and Christmas is the week after. So timing is not great, and if your customers are hit, you might be super busy over the holidays.

Just go through the responses on the Google tweet; some are pretty funny.

SEO Chatter On Ranking Impact

Although this started to roll out less than 24 days ago, I am seeing some chatter about ranking changes as well on WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World. The chatter so far is pretty limited, which is a bit surprising to me for a spam update but the previous link spam update was not massive either.

Here are some quotes from those threads:

My search traffic is up 31% so far today, it would be great to see that continue, but the first day of these updates tends to be an anomaly. I’m not sure, but I don’t think purchasing links from link farms, etc., is a huge problem in my niche. I do suspect one major competitor site may be doing this. It will be interesting to see how they fare now….

Already dropped a LOT OF rankings in the past 24 hours. Not sure if an update could roll out that quickly but yea… getting hit hard, and I bought a lot of links…

and today we are -50% again. Not buying any links or exchanging any links.

Google Tracking Tools

Here is what the automated tracking tools are showing and many are not showing big changes – but I think RankRanger is showing early signs of something big.

RankRanger:

click for full size

Semrush:

click for full size

Cognitive SEO:

click for full size

SERPmetrics:

click for full size

Mozcast:

click for full size

Advanced Web Rankings:

click for full size

Accuranker:

click for full size

Algoroo:

click for full size

So what are you all seeing so far?

Forum discussion at Twitter, WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World.

Source: www.seroundtable.com

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Google Father’s Day Weekend Search Ranking Volatility Update

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Google Fathers Day Doodle

Happy Father’s Day – it looks like we are seeing some pretty significant ranking fluctuations and volatility within the Google Search results over the past day or so. Yep, yet another big Google weekend update of sorts – of course – not confirmed by Google.

I am seeing a huge spike in chatter from SEOs here where these SEOs are seeing big ranking changes for the keywords they track in Google Search. The tools; some of them have never been this heated but most of the tools have not yet picked up on the volatility – I do wonder what they will show tomorrow.

Like I said, yet another weekend update, because we had weekend Google Search ranking updates or volatility over the past several weekends now. We had one last weekend, June 8th. We also had unconfirmed updates on June 5th and then on the weekend, June 1st. That was followed by the Memorial Day weekend, then we had around May 22nd, May 16th, May 9th, May 3rd and April 25th. Before that the March 2024 core update started on March 5th and ended on April 19th, 45 days later.

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the early chatter at WebmasterWorld and comments here:

USA traffic is dying again…last two days way down the entire day, and then suddenly surges at the end of the day to break even. I hardly think that is a real traffic pattern, and the complete lack of any new sales inquiries this week proves it. My last actual sale was three weeks ago. That is impossibly bad…I am beginning to think that everyone has stopped spending completely in expectation of a recession. Are people seeing a decline in sales from other (non-Google) channels? I don’t sell via amazon and other sources.

I’m seeing more and more sites that are stopping or being updated very rarely than before. Some have been abandoned for months now. The once precise SERPs are now replaced with sites with the most generic results possible and with forums everywhere or short superficial guides written by brands. I’ve noticed that Bing is also going the Google route, I’ve done some searches with completely wrong results. I don’t know what’s going on, but it looks like there’s an intention to destroy the web.

Something has definitely happened in the past 24 hours.

More rank drops.

Seems like Google is going for the kill.

+Traffic drop…Unimaginable Traffic drop…expected it to hit 0 within a week but it seems max 3-4 days is enough for that.

So again I’m seeing garbage in Google search results.

Paid for articles on major news site ranking on top, then some more high DR sites abusing the high DR only to rank high, then sites that don’t load at all, sites that don’t have the product listed at all, ..ebay, amazon.. an that on top of 4 ADS at the beginning.

Same in almost every niche

Added spam links in my niche

are you all ready for a big shuffle for Father’s day? Seems Google has already started it in my niche. We had a few quiet days.

massive drop infact…im disheartened that traffic will touch 0 in 5-6 days…im not sure whether there r others like me who r experiencing such massive traffic drops approx 50-100 daily traffic drop

I think it is super early but I suspect a lot of the tools to match with this chatter tomorrow – I guess…

Google Tracking Tools

Some of these tools, like Accuranker, have not been this heated in a very long time. Some tools are still not showing the volatility yet but maybe they will tomorrow?

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Algoroo:

Algoroo

Semrush:

Semrush

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Mozcast:

Mozcast

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Mangools:

Mangools

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

I’ll try to come back later today and tomorrow to update these screenshots with more recent data.

What are you all noticing over the Father’s Day weekend?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview, Apple Intelligence & More

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Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview, Apple Intelligence & More


For the original iTunes version, click here.

Google Search had more weekend volatility, surprise, surprise. Google responded more to the search leak around Navboost, clicks and user interactions. I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker on the March core update and much more. Google said you can recover from the helpful content update after a core update. Google spoke about fixing a few pages and how that can help, or not, with the helpful content update. Google said sometimes search experiments cause issues with Search. Google said you cannot completely disregard desktop for SEO. Google Search Console performance reports gain merchant listings for the image tab. Google added return policy structured data to the organization level. Google dropped home activity cards from Search. Google said the lastmod date in your XML sitemap is either trusted or not. Google said you should disallow crawling of action URLs. Google needs to fix product variant structured data. Google is testing organizing the search results. Google is testing shaded favicon, site name and URL in the top of the snippet. Google is testing local five packs. Google is testing QR codes in the local panels. Google Business Profile websites now completely 404. Bing is testing black review stars. Google is testing call and location extension new formats. Appel Siri is getting more useful with Apple Intelligence and ChatGPT. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Sponsored by Similarweb, the all-in-one- strategic SEO software. Get clarity of the SEO landscape through competitor analysis, keyword research, rank tracking, SERP insights and more. With industry-leading traffic and keyword data, based on real user journeys, Similarweb gives SEO professionals the whole picture so they can strategize smartly and drive sustainable business growth.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast player to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe on YouTube or subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 14, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google experiments sometimes cause problems for Google Search and they need to revert them. Google Business Profile websites now 404. Google Ads it testing new call and location extension formats. Google is testing a new from sources across the web snippets. SEO bloggers are the reason Googler’s don’t share as much, sorry. Plus, I posted the SEO video recap (in a daze).

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Search News Buzz Video Recap: Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview, Apple Intelligence & More


    Google Search had more weekend volatility, surprise, surprise. Google responded more to the search leak around Navboost, clicks and user interactions. I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker on the March core update and much more. Google said you can recover from the helpful content update after a core update…

  • Google: Sometimes Search Experiments Conflict Causing Issues


    In the last Search Off The Record podcast, Gary Illyes from the Google Search team said that sometimes issues can arise within the Google Search results due to two experiments that conflict with each other. He said at the 19:41 mark, “Very often there are experiments that need to be rolled back because two experiments might interact very badly with each other.”

  • Google Business Profiles Websites No Longer Load – 404


    Google Business Profiles websites, which stopped loading websites and began redirecting to the Google Business Profiles listing on Google Maps now completely 404 – as expected. It was supposed to stop working completely this past Sunday, but it did not stop working until later this week.

  • Google Tests New Call & Location Extension Ad Format


    Google may be testing a new call extension and location extension ad format. This format shows up as a carousel of links or buttons that you can scroll through below the ad snippet in the search results.


  • Google Tests Multiple Featured Snippets Under From Sources Across The Web


    Google is testing a new look for the “from sources across the web” search results feature. This one looks like the multiple features snippets look, with the perspectives design, but is titled under the “from sources across the web” search results.

  • I’m The Reason Googlers Don’t Reply With Nuance


    Did you know that SEO bloggers, like myself, are the reason you see fewer and less nuanced responses from Google Search reps? John Mueller from Google said so on Reddit, where he wrote, “Love the SEO news/bloggers, but it also means I can’t reply to things with nuance publicly.”



  • Google Dinosaur Eating A Baby


    Stan, the Google dinosaur, has a baby in its mouth, as if it is eating the baby. Stan is the Google dinosaur that is located at the GooglePlex, the Google Mountain View offices in California.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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