Digital Marketing

Jan 25, 2011

Google is going to fight search engine spam sites in 2011

A few days ago, Google announced that they are going to fight search engine spam stronger than before:

"We're evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others' content and sites with low levels of original content.

We'll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites."

What exactly is Google going to do? Could Google consider your website spam?

1. Google might downrank content farms

Websites with low quality content that has been created to get clicks for AdSense ads might have a hard time in the coming months:

"As pure webspam has decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to content farms, which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. [...]

We hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content."

If your websites mainly exist to display Google AdSense then your site might lose its rankings on Google. Google makes it clear that running AdSense ads won't help the sites to remain in the index:

"One misconception that we've seen in the last few weeks is the idea that Google doesn't take as strong action on spammy content in our index if those sites are serving Google ads. To be crystal clear:

* 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; and
* Buying Google ads does not increase a site's rankings in Google's search results."

2. Google might enable you to tag other websites as spam

In an online discussion a user asks about the possibility for personal domain blacklists for Google accounts? Users might be given the option to remove sites from their own search results.

Google's Matt Cutts indicates that this might be an option for the near future:

"We've definitely discussed this. Our policy in search quality is not to pre-announce things before they launch. If we offer an experiment along those lines, I'll be among the first to show up here and let people know about it."

3. It will be more difficult to get high rankings with clone sites

Many spammers clone the content of websites to get high rankings for the long tail keywords that are listed on these pages. For example, some people scraped the contents of Google Groups and actually got higher rankings than the original Google Groups pages in Google's search results.

Matt Cuts also comments on that issue:

"I've been tracking how often this happens over the last month. It's gotten much, much better, and one additional algorithmic change coming soon should help even more. I'm not saying that a clone will never be listed above SO, but it definitely happens less often compared to a several weeks ago."

What can you do to make sure that your website won't be downranked?

If you have a regular website with regular content then there's nothing that you have to worry about. As long as your website has good content and good backlinks, Google will give it high rankings in the search results.

You should not try to game Google's algorithm with scraped content and you should not take any optimization shortcuts. Optimizing your website for users and search engines takes some time. If you want to get lasting results, you should use ethical search engine optimization methods.

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