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Google December 2022 Link Spam Update

Google announced the rollout of the December 2022 Link Spam Update aimed at identifying and neutralising link spam across all languages. This update is significant as it leverages Google’s AI-based system, SpamBrain, to detect and nullify spammy links.

Key Highlights

  • Rollout Duration: The update began on December 14, 2022, and took approximately two weeks to fully deploy, concluding on January 12, 2023.
  • Objective: The primary goal is to neutralise spammy links by ignoring or not counting them, rather than penalising sites. This is part of Google’s ongoing effort to ensure search result quality and fairness.
  • SpamBrain Utilisation: For the first time, Google employed SpamBrain specifically for detecting link spam. This AI-based system is now capable of identifying sites that buy links or are primarily used for passing outgoing links.
  • Impact: The update affects search results in all languages and aims at removing any ranking signals passed through unnatural links. Sites engaging in inorganic link-building practices were the main targets.
  • Compliance: Google emphasises the importance of adhering to its webmaster guidelines, particularly concerning link acquisition and qualification. Proper tagging of affiliate and sponsored links is crucial to avoid negative impacts from this update.

Best Practices

  • Natural Link Building: Focus on acquiring links naturally through high-quality content creation and improving user experience.
  • Proper Link Tagging: Ensure that affiliate links are tagged with rel=”sponsored” and links in guest posts with rel=”nofollow” as per Google’s guidelines.
  • Quality Content: Prioritise producing valuable content over manipulating links for better long-term search visibility.


The December 2022 Link Spam Update reflects Google’s commitment to maintaining a high-quality search experience by combating link spam. By leveraging advanced AI capabilities like SpamBrain, Google aims to identify and neutralise unnatural links more effectively than ever before. Websites adhering to Google’s best practices in link acquisition and management are likely to remain unaffected or even benefit from this update.

You can read more about it here:


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