Google’s November Spam Update is Underway

It’s been confirmed that Google has started rolling out a new algorithm update as of 3 November. The rollout will take a week to complete and is said to be targeted at fighting search engine spam.

Google regularly rolls out spam-fighting updates in order to maintain the quality of its search results. 

Here’s all you need to know about how this update may affect your site and the best way to make sure that those effects aren’t negative.


What are Google Algorithms?

Let’s start off with defining what algorithms actually are to better understand how an update to them can affect a website.

An algorithm is a set of instructions that are given to a computer to complete a task. The Google Algorithms are a complex system whose task is to search the web and pull the webpages that contain the keywords you used when you typed in a search for something.

They will then rank these pages based on different factors such as the relevancy of the webpage and the number of times the keywords appear in that webpage. 

Hence, changes to the Google Algorithms can affect your SEO, the way webpages are ranked and their visibility in Google searches.

Using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices can help your website rank better in Google search results.


The aim of the November update

Although the exact details of the update haven’t been confirmed as yet, the purpose of any Google update is to always improve the relevancy and quality of its search results. For example, the optimization can be done by fighting search engine spam or duplicate content.

In their announcement, Google didn’t mention whether the update would be targeting a specific type of spam, like link or content spam.

They do, however, have a strict definition of what they consider as spam. This includes any site that tricks users into providing personal information or installing malware, uses phishing scams or disguises themselves as other reputable sites. Inadequately secured sites can be hacked sites and as a result also be treated as spam. This is because they could be unknowingly serving spam to users.

As the fourth spam-fighting update of 2021, the new update will surely add to the maintenance of the 99% of visits that these regular updates have made spam-free.


Google’s latest updates

Back in the day, there would only be a few updates made to Google’s algorithms, but now they seem to be changing more than they stay the same.

Experts estimate that updates are made about 500 to 600 times a year, amounting to approximately one to 2

two times in a day.

This year, there have been a number of different updates, including three previous ones targeted at spam.

In July, the update aimed at identifying and nullifying link spam. This meant that any sites taking part in link spam tactics could see ranking changes. Sponsored, guest, and affiliate content were to be amongst the most likely impacted. The announcement mentioned that these changes would be seen across multiple languages.

In June, there was another spam update, which was rolled out in two parts. The first was to be completed in a day and the second would follow a week later. However, it wasn’t revealed what exactly these updates would be targeting. 


How might updates to Google’s algorithms affect your site?

It’s important for website administrators and SEO specialists to stay informed with any Google updates as some changes may have an affect on the sites they manage. And these effects aren’t always guaranteed to be good.

It’s important to understand the mechanics of these updates to know how they can affect your site. 

There are certain updates that makeup Google’s core algorithm. These updates are integral to the search engine and are developed continuously and automatically. They usually modify the ranking formula and are the most impactful because they affect a large number of indexed pages.

Some notable updates include:

  • Penguin 
  • Panda
  • Fred
  • Hummingbird
  • BERT
  • Rankbrain

You may find that your site was ranked high for keywords before a core update but ranked lower after, or vice versa.

Core updates can also impose penalties. For example, the Panda update penalised websites with very little content and so they lost their rankings.

Other core updates can affect Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). These can remove or modify alternative listings such as the People Also Ask listings, knowledge panels and featured snippets.

Minor updates are usually initiated manually and will affect fewer indexed pages. Most of these kinds of updates will go unnoticed by webmasters because they may only affect 0.1 to 1 percent of indexed pages.


Tips to ensure your site isn’t affected negatively

Most changes are unlikely to have a significant change to the overall SEO, but at times there can be updates that will affect the way you need to write for SEO so that your site doesn’t appear as spammy. 

The first thing is, as always, to ensure that you are following Google’s best practice guidelines. These include:

  • Providing high-quality content
  • Focusing on user-oriented web services
  • Use ethical SEO practices
  • Avoiding link manipulation, keyword stuffing and other black hat SEO tactics that attempt to exploit the algorithm

Because an update to the algorithms can result in a website suffering a drop in rankings or SEO visibility, other key things to remember are to:

  • Regularly check your website’s traffic and analytics
  • Regularly check your search rankings for your targeted keywords.

This will help let you know if your site has been affected by any new rollouts.

Google also documents their named updates so you can check the site for details to stay informed on rollouts and their potential effects.




Any changes to the algorithms could potentially have an affect on your site. It’s wise to always be aware and prepared so you’re not affected negatively. Follow Google’s best practices for search which will help Google find, index and rank your site better. 

You can also get in touch with us to increase your site’s visibility and stay ahead of the changes with our customised SEO services


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