Google Begins Rolling Out November 2021 Spam Update

26 Nov, 2021 Google Rolls Out November 2021 Spam Update

Google has officially confirmed the rollout of its new spam-busting algorithm update, designed to target search spam and take action against those responsible for it.

This extensive algorithm update has been aptly entitled the “November spam update” and the rollout is expected to take no longer than a week.

Taking to Twitter to make the announcement, Google released the following statement:

“As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. This November 2021 spam update should be fully rolled out within a week. We encourage sites to follow our best practices for Search.”

Google chose not to go into any specific detail with the exact types of spam the update will target. For example, no indication was given whether content spam, link spam or any other specific types of SEO would be in the firing line.

One website owner questioned Google’s Danny Sullivan on how this spam update differs from the long list of broader updates already rolled out by Google over recent weeks.

His question read as follows:

“How does a spam update differ from a core update in terms of what a small business needs to keep an eye on to know if we are affected?”

Mr Sullivan provided a suitably succinct answer, which as usual did not really clarify anything at all:

“Spam updates deal with content that doesn’t follow our guidelines. Core updates are simply an adjustment to how we assess content overall.”

Google posted a link to its published Webmaster Guidelines, advising website owners and SEOs to continue following the rules accordingly.

In terms of spam, the Webmaster Guidelines state that each of the following practices should be avoided entirely:

  • Automatically generated content
  • Participating in link schemes
  • Creating pages with little or no original content
  • Cloaking
  • Sneaky redirects
  • Hidden text or links
  • Doorway pages
  • Scraped content
  • Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
  • Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
  • Creating pages with malicious behaviour, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
  • Abusing structured data markup
  • Sending automated queries to Google

The extent to which the update will impact rankings and traffic for online businesses remains to be seen. In the meantime, another user took to Twitter to ask Mr Sullivan when exactly positive improvements to a website would be picked up on and recognised by Google:

“If a site owner makes positive changes to their website during a Google update, could they expect their traffic to recover during the update, after the update, or not until the next update? (One of my sites has dropped and I’m working on it, but not sure what’s wrong!)”

To which, Mr Sullivan provided the following response:

“If it dropped right after we shared about a particular update, look at the guidance we gave about that update. Sometimes, it will be any improvements help for the next round. But we also have lots of small updates and regular ranking changes all the time.”

In a nutshell – follow all update-related guidance from Google and abide by their published Webmaster Guidelines at all times. Nothing we didn’t already know, but a reminder of the growing importance of avoiding black-hat SEO at all costs.