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URL KWS Update in Bing Slams Spammers

Posted on 9.29.2014

Bing recently revealed the methods they use to detect keyword stuffing (KWS) in URLs and it provides a rather excellent foundation for the digital naming conventions of serious Internet professionals.

Several methods are used, obviously, but Bing detailed a few which (believe it or not) are still used frequently by spammers. The goal of URL KWS is to manipulate search engines to give a higher rank to a Web page/website than it deserves - relying on the assumption that search engines rely heavily on exact keyword matching, and that matching against the URL is particularly valuable. In reality, as you should know by now, search engines (including Bing) use numerous factors - hundreds in fact - to determine where a page/site deserves to be ranked.

Some of the more common signals that Bing uses to identify possible use of URL keyword stuffing include site size, the number of hosts, the number of words in host/domain names and path, the keyword co-occurrence in the host/domain/path, the percent of the site cluster comprised of top frequency host/domain name keywords, as well as those which contain certain lexicons/pattern combinations, along with the site/page content quality and popularity signals.

Bing also indicated that in order to amplify their efforts, they try to cluster sites (by various pivots such as domain, owner, etc) and then look for patterns of the signals (listed above) in the same cluster. This helps Bing improve its detection precision because spammers often create numerous (sometimes hundreds or thousands) of similar sites. The update that Bing rolled out recently impacts about 3 percent of search queries - about 5 million sites and 130 million pages, resulting in a nearly 75 percent reduction in traffic to these sites from the search engine.

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