Google has confirmed that on June 23, 2021 it has released a search “spam update.” The update started and completed on a single day, June 23rd. Google did not say exactly what type of spam it targeted with this update but just linked to its general spam prevention notices.
Google said on Twitter “as part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems.” Google added “This spam update will conclude today.”
So far, it does not seem like this update had a massive impact on the areas I track. Yes, there were higher than usual fluctuations with most of the tracking tools and more chatter, but Google announced it, so that always fires things up. It is unclear what type of spam this specifically targeted, I will be watching to see if I find any clues over the upcoming days.
I did confirm that the update started and ended on the same day:
We released it today, and as said, it will conclude today.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) June 23, 2021
Google added that a “second one will follow next week.” So Google will release another “spam update” next week and will let us know when that is released on Twitter.
Here are those tweets:
This spam update will conclude today. A second one will follow next week. We’ll add to this tweet thread when that happens.
We encourage sites to follow our best practices for Search: https://t.co/jK3ArQEuir
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) June 23, 2021
These are old documents and videos we covered before here. So nothing specific stands out with what spam tactics this targeted Google went after.
SEO Community Chatter
The Black Hat World forums, which is a public and open black hat SEO forum, has very little chatter currently on this update. WebmasterWorld (I am sure they will change the thread URL at some point) has some chatter but it isn’t massive right now. Keep in mind, the update ran yesterday, and yesterday only. So you would see the changes throughout the day/night and then today. Here is some of the relevant chatter so far:
Samsam1978: I have looked at many sites over the last week and older ones all appear to be hit by this update negatively
msb44: pretty much what you wrote in your summary. except core web vitals are behaving exactly as Google said it would so I don’t see an issue there. I agree it’s a huge mess. I agree it’s not being discussed much – if at all – in mainstream circles. June and July are also now update galore. We’ll see what happens after all this settles.
trabis: “So anyone seeing any changes and if so, what spam tactics did you use? “
3 pages, 10 pinterest results. Answer is no.
Neohippy: So much for the spam update – just tried “see full list on site” again (thanks @Westcoast for the tip!), and the number of shady redirected results has actually increased since last week
msb44: So it feels like they need to do a spam update now to perhaps patch up the spam largely enabled by the last few core updates (I already explained many times here why I think it’s the core updates that enable and incentivise so much spam).
Seems like they really want to force the things they are doing with the core updates no matter what and aren’t willing to back down, and instead come up with separate updates in an attempt to separately “fix” what the core updates broke.
Pure speculation obviously. Remains to be seen how effective these “spam updates” will turn out to be. especially interested in potential collateral damage.
christianz: I also feel like they can’t be satisfied with the way things are spam-wise right now (AI generated, spun, cloaked, expired domain, PBN sites ranking). I just don’t understand why this has not been addressed over past 7 months and has actually got worse.
So not really all that much chatter with complaints of ranking drops or improvements just yet…
The tracking tools are showing volatility but not extreme volatility, here is what they show this morning:
Sistrix often takes a different approach and showcases how individual sites that got hit, how much it hit them visibility wise. But they said the impact was “not huge” yet, as I’ve been saying above. But maybe that will change tomorrow?
BrightLocal – which tracks the local pack results, did show a big change – but I don’t think this update impacted local results (I will find out):
If we have any updates on this, I will let you know.
There will be another spam update sometime next week as well, so stay tuned…