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Google Spam Brain Update: Relevance, Impact and SEO Best Practices

Google Spam Brain Update was an algorithm update that Google launched in 2022 to fight link spam with SpamBrain, its AI-based spam-prevention system. The update was announced by Google on December 14, 2022 and took up to two weeks to complete. The update affected the search results on all devices and languages, and nullified the impact of unnatural links on search rankings. The update had a significant impact on the rankings and traffic of many websites, especially those that had issues with their link quality or relevance. In this blog post, we will answer some common questions about Google Spam Brain Update and its relevance for SEOs in 2023.

What is Google Spam Brain Update and When Did It Take Off?

Google Spam Brain Update was an update that involved changing Google’s algorithm to use the power of SpamBrain to neutralize the impact of unnatural links on search results. SpamBrain is Google’s AI-based spam-prevention system that was originally launched in 2018. SpamBrain can detect and remove various types of spam, such as hacked sites, scraped content, cloaking, keyword stuffing, etc. In addition to detecting spam directly, SpamBrain can also identify sites buying links and sites used for building outgoing links.

Google announced the update on December 14, 2022, giving webmasters a few hours to prepare for it. Google also provided a link spam report in Google Search Console to help webmasters check and improve their link quality. The update started to roll out on the same day and took up to two weeks to complete.

What Inspired Google to Launch Spam Brain Update and What Does It Mean for SEOs?

Google launched Spam Brain Update for two main reasons:

  • To improve the quality and relevance of its search results by giving more preference to websites that users trust and enjoy on all devices.
  • To counteract the spam and manipulation techniques that some websites used to rank higher for competitive keywords.

Google Spam Brain Update means that SEOs need to pay attention to their link quality and relevance. SEOs need to ensure that their websites have natural, relevant and authoritative links from trustworthy sources, and that they provide relevant, useful and high-quality content for users. SEOs also need to avoid unnatural links that have no editorial value or relevance, such as paid links, link exchanges, link farms, etc.

How Spam Brain Update Lifted or Dropped Websites and SEOs in the Past?

The impact of Spam Brain Update varied depending on the website’s link quality and SEO practices. Some websites saw an increase in their rankings and traffic, while others saw a decrease or no change at all. Websites that were lifted by Spam Brain Update typically had one or more of the following characteristics:

  • High domain authority and trustworthiness.
  • Strong brand awareness and recognition among users.
  • Positive user behavior and engagement metrics.
  • Relevant and high-quality content for users.
  • Natural and diverse link profile.

Websites that were dropped by Spam Brain Update typically had one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Low domain authority and trustworthiness.
  • Weak brand awareness and recognition among users.
  • Negative user behavior and engagement metrics.
  • Irrelevant or low-quality content for users.
  • Unnatural or low-quality link profile.

How SEOs Adapted to Spam Brain Update: Best Practices and Pitfalls

SEOs adapted to Spam Brain Update by following some best practices and avoiding some pitfalls. Some of these best practices are:

  • Building a strong brand identity and reputation for their websites, through social media, PR, offline marketing, etc.
  • Creating relevant, useful and high-quality content for their target audience, not for search engines.
  • Earning natural, relevant and authoritative links to their websites, not buying or exchanging links with low-quality sources.
  • Optimizing their website’s usability, speed, security and mobile-friendliness.
  • Monitoring their website’s performance and reputation metrics, such as traffic, conversions, bounce rate, reviews, etc.

Some of the pitfalls that SEOs should avoid are:

  • Relying solely on link building techniques to rank higher for competitive keywords, without building a strong brand presence or value proposition.
  • Creating irrelevant, spammy or low-quality content for users, or copying content from other websites without adding any value or attribution.
  • Participating in link schemes or networks that have no editorial value or relevance, or using excessive or irrelevant keywords in their anchor text.
  • Neglecting their website’s usability, speed, security or mobile-friendliness, or blocking Google from crawling or indexing their pages with robots.txt or meta tags.
  • Ignoring their website’s performance and reputation metrics, such as traffic, conversions, bounce rate, reviews, etc.

How to Manage Spam Brain Update and Rise in Local Search and SEO in 2023?

Spam Brain Update is still relevant for SEOs in 2023 because it marked a major change in Google’s algorithm to fight link spam with SpamBrain. Although Google has made many more updates since then, such as Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, RankBrain, BERT, Core Updates, etc., the core principles of Spam Brain Update still apply today. SEOs need to create trustworthy, authoritative and user-friendly websites that provide relevant, useful and high-quality content for users, and earn natural, relevant and authoritative links to their websites. SEOs also need to avoid spammy or deceptive practices that can harm their website’s performance and reputation.

In addition to Spam Brain Update, SEOs also need to consider the rise of local search and SEO in 2023. Local search is the process of finding and ranking businesses or services based on their location and proximity to the user. Local SEO is the practice of optimizing a website or a business listing for local search. Local search and SEO are important for SEOs in 2023 because more and more users are searching for local information on their mobile devices, and Google is giving more prominence to local results in its SERPs.

Some of the best practices for local search and SEO in 2023 are:

  • Claiming and verifying a Google My Business listing for the business or service, and keeping it updated with accurate and complete information.
  • Optimizing the website or the business listing with relevant keywords, categories, descriptions, photos, reviews, etc.
  • Encouraging customers to leave positive reviews and ratings on Google or other platforms, and responding to them promptly and professionally.
  • Building citations or mentions of the business or service on other reputable websites or directories, such as Yelp, Facebook, etc.
  • Creating local content or landing pages that target specific locations or areas where the business or service operates.

I hope this blog post has answered your questions about Google Spam Brain Update and its relevance for SEOs in 2023. Thank you for reading!

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