For organic search results Google uses an increasingly complex algorithm to determine which sites appear where in the listings. The algorithm is constantly evolving and a big reason for this is to try and combat false results caused by SEO practitioners attempting to cheat the system.
Google’s latest raft of significant changes to the algorithm has been labelled ‘Maccabee’ and parts of it seem to be targetting what we call ‘spam links’. Spam links are defined by Google as irrelevant and low quality links to your website from other websites. These spam links can be purchased from many providers, offering countless links to your site in order to boost rankings.
We see this when we perform a competitor analysis for a business website. When checking backlink profiles of sites higher in the search rankings we note sometimes hundreds or thousands of these irrelevant links from other sites. In the past pretty much any link was seen as good and a ranking signal for your site. Now, Google is successfully trying to rank these links in terms of authority, trustworthiness and relevance. Too many of these bad links in your backlink profile will cause your site to plummet in the rankings.
Once again, these new features in the algorithm will reward those who follow the guidelines published by Google for webmasters and penalise the ‘black-hat’ seo practitioners.
Taking advantage of the changes
- Disavow Bad Links
A thorough investigation of your backlink profile will uncover such spam links if any exist. These can then be submitted to Google as a ‘Disavow’ file, this informs Google that these links are to be ignored.
- Obtain Better Links
A campaign of acquiring high quality backlinks from relevant, trustworthy websites is a standard tactic of a good seo practitioner. There are many methods to obtain these.
- Follow Google Guidelines
See our guide here on how to make your website rank ethically and within Google’s guidelines.