SpamBrain is now designed to neutralize the impact of link spam on search results.

SpamBrain is Google’s system for spam prevention and is based on artificial intelligence.

What does “link spam” mean?

It’s linking a web page with the only goal to manipulate the SERP.
They are unnatural and created with the sole intention of pushing it up among the search results, without that page having valuable content that other external sites may find useful to link.
In other words, they are links to a certain site purchased from another site for the purpose of “passing Link Juice”.
There is a large market of links on the web: there are many sites that serve specifically to acquire a good Page Rank and sell outbound links to others to promote.

Of course, Google considers this practice a fraudulent attempt to manipulate search results: it goes against its guidelines and Google thwarts it… That’s where SpamBrain comes in.
In addition to detecting spam directly, it can now detect both sites: the ones that buy links and those used as a source.

In December last year, Google rolled out an update for SpamBrain, in all languages, which is expected to start showing results around this time.
As the detection of “fraudulent” links continues, placements in natural search will be reconsidered. Sites that have used these practices will most likely have negative impacts.

As always, if your site is affected by this update, Google won’t notify you… But if you use unnatural link-building techniques and notice a significant drop in visibility and traffic, SpamBrain has probably penalized you.

What if you want to buy links to try to improve the ranking of your website?

Easy: just do a search (that’s right, right on Google!) and many sites that offer this type of service will pop up.
Many agencies and SEO professionals use this kind of practice, even without their clients being aware of the risks they are exposed to.
In this way, the SEO consultant can show that they have quickly brought results in visits and traffic to the site. However, the risk that Google penalizes it after a short time is concrete.

Link Building can be done correctly, though. That’s done by putting into practice strategies that favour link acquisition from external sources.
In practice, it is necessary to create content with high added value that can gain popularity because they are actually useful and, therefore, be successfully shared by others spontaneously. In this perspective, it is more correct to speak of “link earning” techniques. Actually, it has been done for some time, at least among those who use exclusively White Hat SEO techniques.

Highly valuable content naturally builds bonds, not only links.

A backlink profile must be natural and authentic for a site to benefit from it in a real and lasting way.
For this reason, it is advisable to have incoming links also of the “nofollow” type, that is, that do not pass Link Juice. Check that a part of incoming links has this attribute to have the reasonable peace of mind of not being at risk of “SpamBrain Update”!

How to add a “nofollow” or “sponsored” attribute to a link

It’s quite simple, just type it in the tag:

<a href="..." rel="nofollow">

Also, links with affiliate marketing or sponsorship purposes need to be qualified with a “sponsored” attribute:

<a href="..." rel="sponsored">

CMS platforms usually let you insert it from their publishing interface while you’re writing and want to link something. The option to add a nofollow is usually shown when you add the link; here’s how it’s made on WordPress, just activate the option and you’re done!