Google Link Spam Algorithm Update

Last Update: July 28, 2021

So, this is important, please pay attention. As of yesterday, Google began rolling out its newest update, known as the link spam algorithm and it affects every one of us as affiliate marketers!

For the next two weeks, Google will be trying to identify what it calls link spam, and possibly impose manual penalties and a drop in ranking. This includes looking particularly at guest posts, and affiliate links.

What is Google Looking For?

We are talking about marking your affiliate links as being "sponsored" using the rel value in WordPress. Let's have a couple of screenshots so you can see what I am talking about.

Here, you can see that I want to add a link to the words memory foam. Once added, I will then click on the cogwheel to go to the settings.

Here you can see the settings options, and because I want to add an affiliate link, I should check the sponsored box.

This option was recommended by Google at least a year ago, but if it wasn't done, there were no penalties, Now it appears that it is mandatory.

I have yet to find out how we do this with Amazon products, as I assume we have to add extra HTML code ourselves. So, unfortunately, I am only telling as much as I know right now, without delving further into the information. Still, I thought it important to give you a warning of this, as clearly, it could be a time-consuming task.

Obviously, I won't be able to answer your questions, but hope to study this further and provide training. As far as I can see, there is very little on WA that covers this, but if anybody knows of anything to help, please let me know and I will add the link.

Here is a link to the article I have summarised.

UPDATE: If your affiliate links are already marked as "nofollow" there is no need to change them to "sponsored". Thank you to @MikaelM for this information.

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Julai Premium
THank you for this Dianne. Luckily, I still have few affiliate links in my site, so the change was easy. All the links were already no follow though, but i only read it now that it's ok.

How about the images from amazon?should we also put "sponsored or no follow to that? if yes, how?
TiredCobra Premium
Good work.
Ihave been adding "rel=sponsored" to the other links, but not sure what to do about the Amazon.

I wonder if it needs to be added at the amazon page when we get the link/banners?

I have not seen any thing, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

Sent you a reply to your reply to this question.
Stella741 Premium
Hi Diane, It's 3am London time....

I've just read this and quickly went over to my site to look for the 'rel sponsored' to add to each affiliate link in the first of my posts to edit.

Something weird has happened though, because my posts are on site in view mode only. Which means when I log into my site and click on a post - only the title remains. The post has disappeared.

I have checked 3 posts so far. Does this mean Google has deranked me for not having the rel sponsored checked for my affiliate links?

My site was fine yesterday...There's more than just one algorithm coming. I think there will be more major shake ups to follow. This could well spark off lots of things from both sides. Google's and affiliate marketers'....!!
jofa Premium
" Which means when I log into my site and click on a post - only the title remains. The post has disappeared."

Google algorithm will not affect your blog post within WordPress but will only affect you in ranking on Google. You have to check your site to be sure you have not deleted your post.
DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - even the most stringent of Google's algorithms would not remove your posts entirely. You would simply lose ranking. If you did have a penalty, it would show up in Google Search Console under the Manual Actions tab.
Only1Hugh Premium
Thanks John for your response Stella had me scurrying to my own posts. Stella I hope you work it out.
etseil20 Premium Plus
Hi Diane,

That's good to know. I can understand why Google is doing it- I didn’t know that at all.

I’m working on a new niche site now, but haven't added affiliate links to my posts yet. So I’ll keep that in mind. For my other websites, I’ll need to do some updates. But it’s well worth it.

Thanks again for sharing- great post.


edhozubin Premium
Thank you for the heads up & I am somewhat concerned for Google. They will be seeing references Galore! Particularly for new products that have all new ingredients makeup. I think they are trying to take out the creativity produced by everyone and turn us into Machines producing all kinds of Wikipedia Posts. Then everything can be done by Artificial Intelligence as they presently do with incoming Questions! Oh Mama Mia!