The final day of SMX West included a panel of experts speaking about search spam, those people trying to game the search engines to get top search rankings even though they are providing a poor user experience.
Moderated by Danny Sullivan, the panel included Sasi Parthasarathy of Bing, Matt Cutts of Google, and Rich Skrenta of Blekko. The group covered two main topics: what search engines consider to be spam, and what they do about it.

From a search engine’s perspective, what is spam?

Parthasarathy defined spam in this way: “A spam page is one that uses one or more spam techniques to inflate its ranking in search results in a way that adds no value to the user.”
Page rank in search engines is mostly calculated by a page’s content as well as links to that page from other pages. So, what are the techniques that spammers typically use? They either try to game page content or links.

Spam techniques for page content include:
  • Keyword stuffing: artificially adding many keywords all over a page.
  • Parked domains: domains that only link to other places, often misspellings of real domain names.
  • Hidden content: white text on white background, hidden HTML layers.
  • Machine generated content: based on keywords, this content looks okay until you start to read it and it doesn’t make sense.
  • Redirect spam: content that redirects to unrelated places.
  • Hijacked content: hacked sites with unrelated content added to the page.
Spam techniques for links include:
  • Link farms: a lot of sites linking to each other.
  • Link exchanges: webmasters agreeing to link to each other’s sites.
  • Link buying: similar to link exchanges but money changes hands.

What are search engines doing about spam?
Search engines take two approaches to limiting spam: manual and automatic.
To automatically remove spam from search results, search engines adjust their algorithms. Cutts says, “No algorithm is 100% perfect.” All search engines constantly tweak their algorithms to limit spam.
Search engines also manually remove spam pages from their search results. Their teams either look for spam to remove themselves or they take feedback from users about which sites might be spam.
The manual methods of removing spam from search results also feed back into the automatic method by showing how the algorithm might be improved. For example, Blekko originally blocked 20 sites manually based on user feedback and then yesterday blocked 1.1 million sites based on an algorithmic change.

What can I do if a search engine thinks I’m spam?
The search engines try to be transparent enough so that honest site owners know how not to be marked as spamm but they don’t want to give away too much information so that spammers who are trying to game the system will be more successful. If your site has incorrectly been marked as spam, contact the search engine.

Spam in search results is in the news right now (see my Social Signals & Search post for examples), but it has been around for a while. As a site owner, it pays to be aware of what search engines are looking for so that we can be careful to not be marked as spam. However, if we use honest SEO and SEM tactics, we shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

This will be my last blog from SMX West. It was a great conference, I learned a ton and I hope you learned a little from my coverage.

David Kline - Program Manager, Global Web & Community Team

Post a Comment

Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Services, SEO Experts, SEO Articles, SEO Guide, SEO Help, SEO Tips, Google SEO Guide, Search Engine Optimization Tips, Link Building, Link Building Services, Link Building Guide, Link Building Tips, Google Link Building, Search Engine Optimization Lahore Pakistan, SEO Lahore Pakistan, SEO Services Lahore Pakistan, SEO Experts Lahore Pakistan, Link Building Lahore Pakistan, Link Building Services Lahore Pakistan, SEO Tips and Guide, SEO Campaigns, Low Cost and Affordable SEO Services, Low Cost SEO, Low Cost Link Building Services

Designer Webdesigner