December 2022 Google Link Spam Update with SpamBrain AI
On December 14, 2022, Google released an innovative link spam update known as the “December 2022 link-spam Update”. This update utilizes a clearer definition of what is considered to be unnatural links when compared to previous updates and will help ensure that only legitimate websites are given preferential treatment in search engine rankings. This update introduces a new 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.
After Google initiated the all-important December 2022 helpful content update, this particular upgrade took about two weeks to initiate, beginning a week after. It's important to note Google's previous link spam amendment was conducted in July 2021.
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 to pass 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
Google unveiled an exciting new update for SpamBrain, a spam-prevention system that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect link spam. This technology identifies websites buying links and sites used to pass outgoing links and provides comprehensive protection against all types of unwanted emails. As Google clarified, “SpamBrain is our AI-based spam-prevention system.” With such exceptional defense mechanisms in place, you can rest assured your inbox will remain safe from any malicious attempts!
Google is firm in its stance that links are acquired to manipulate. Search rankings are illegitimate and will not be tolerated. Our algorithms and manual actions strive to diminish these illicit connections at scale, with constant advancements being made to do so effectively.
Google later clarified that this is the first time Google is using SpamBrain for link spam detection:
To augment the Spam help page, Google has included a section on links that reads:
“In the case of a link spam update (an update that deals explicitly 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.”
“it can now detect both sites buying links” fro m our post covers this. It's possible we've used it in some edge / minor situations, but this is the first real implementation of it for link spam (hence why we did a post about it) https://t.co/LLngrATiLV
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) December 14, 2022
Spam Links & Negative SEO
Negative SEO and spammy links can be a huge concern for website owners. Fortunately, Google has assured you that as long as you haven't created these types of links yourself, there is nothing to worry about; the search engine will “neutralize” them, so they don't have an effect on our rankings - in other words, they won't help or hurt your ranking. This may seem like a penalty if previously helpful links are now no longer helping with visibility, but it's merely because those specific links were never actually boosting your page anyway.
Not So Great Timing
With the upcoming holiday season, some SEOs are not thrilled with this release. As if it wasn't enough to have the December 2022 helpful content update launched a week earlier and still unfinished, now you must deal with two different updates that roll out at precisely the same time. Both these changes come in just a few weeks before Chanukah and Christmas celebrations begin - which can leave your customers feeling overwhelmed should they find themselves affected by them – so be prepared for an extra busy festive period if necessary!
Zero Notice - No Manual Action
When you're subject to an algorithmic Google update, there is no notification that this change has occurred. This isn't a manual action would where be alerted. However, if your website visibility and traffic plunge in the upcoming days, and you've implemented any link tactics previously - then it's likely that this was due to the recent algorithm alteration.
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