Google Says War on Spam Ranks First

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Google principal engineer Matt Cutts posted a lengthy message on the company’s official blog Friday in response to recent complaints from users about the increasing prevalence of spam in search results.

The war on webspam, Cutts writes, is being waged as intensely as ever, in fact saying that Google’s search quality is presently “better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness.”

The post goes on to say, however, that while “pure webspam” has decreased in recent years, users’ expectations of Google search results have increased. “People are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content,” he writes.

Content farms pose a relatively new kind of problem, says Cutts, because they can clutter search results with a shallow brand of content without falling into the category of traditional spam of years past.

Nevertheless, Google is as committed to the fight as ever and is “evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower,” Cutts wrote.

To add some clarification, he reminded users of the following principles of Google search results:

•    Google absolutely takes action on sites that violate our quality guidelines regardless of whether they have ads powered by Google
•    Displaying Google ads does not help a site’s rankings in Google
•    Buying Google ads does not increase a site’s rankings in Google’s search results


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Moving to Atlanta 01-22-2011 12:22 PM

It's a shame so much time money and effort has to go into fighting what are basically IDIOTS.

A real shame.

Matt Cazel 01-22-2011 1:15 PM

Most spammers are far from idiots. Most of these guys know alot about SEO. Why else do you think their junk sites are ranking so high. It takes some skill to rank a 1 page site. As Google gets smarter so do spammers, things are always changing, but nothing ever changes.

~ Commented through my Website Magazine Android App!

Atlanta Homes 01-22-2011 1:40 PM

I don't agree. If any part of your SEO "strategy" includes SPAM or any other blak hat nonsense, then you are a short-sighted idiot.

Ranking one-page sites for long tail KWs is actually rather simple.

They are idiots because these are the methods they employ and there's NO long-term vision whatsoever.

But if you prefer to defend them, that's your choice.

RobertO 01-22-2011 4:22 PM

I personally feel that we will see what amounts to server farms, where you have to register, be validated, then you're allowed to submit all you want within your account, however if you submit any pages that are in violation of the server farm's terms, then all of your sites are suspended and possibly deleted.

Matt Cazel 01-23-2011 7:28 AM

Well I don't want to be categorized as defending spammers, and Atlanta is correct in saying most spammers have no long term vision and consider their sites disposable.  It's not just the long tail though, I come across large sites for competitive keywords all the time that aren't blatant spam but obviously made for nothing but making money on advertisements, and not written for the user.  The way I interpret Google guidelines is if you are writing your web content to make a few bucks you are in violation of their terms.  If they were to filter to this guideline, only thing left would be company sites, (which may not be a bad thing).  

Unfortunately I think it will be hard for Google to pick today's spammers out of search, idiots or not, they are not dumb.  

I feel the largest problem is the way content is so easily syndicated these days. Most news sites are just copied content from the source, and what about article syndication services like ezine articles.

Web Spam (not email spam) and "blackhat tactics"  are a lot like ethics, it may not be illegal, but to some it is OK, to others it is not.

IngvarG 01-25-2011 6:25 PM

Google itself is pretty well 100% "syndicated" content, isn't it? Does Google write original content? All news on Google news is syndicated. All serps are extracts from the listed websites. So it is difficult for me to understand how they can disallow syndicated content. And they don't. What they are chasing are the pure keyword stuffed pages. A properly designed site with only RSS feeds from a variety of news sources relevant to the topic of the domain is, to me very much ok.

Linc Wonham 01-26-2011 9:15 AM

Great comments, all. Your last two sentences are accurate, IngvarG, as Google says it is primarily focused on "websites that try to cheat their way into higher positions in search results or otherwise violate search engine quality guidelines" with "repeated spammy words - the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments."

But as Matt wrote, determining who is churning out spammy content today from those reacting to legitimate analytics-driven customer research has become exceedingly difficult. Google says it is up to the task and committed to the outcome, so all we can do is see if that's actually the case.

Please be sure to let us know what you think as this continues to unfold.

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