Spam Fighting at Webmaster Central

How to identify web spam, via the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog

Webmaster Blog for Indexing and Crawling Sites

Today’s Webmaster Central Blog post gives the following as an example of a probable spam site.  Not surprisingly, it reads as “all gibberish”:

Gibberish site example

The post also includes information for submitting a compelling spam report. This is certainly important, in order that the report will be acted upon. In fact, Google’s criteria can be used as the basis for best practices guidelines for submitting spam reports in general, anywhere, not solely in the context of Google website-related spam reporting:

  • Submit the URLs of the pages where you see spam (not just the domain name).  This makes it easy for us to verify the problem on those specific pages.
  • Try to specify the issue as clearly as possible using the check boxes. Don’t just check every single box–such reports are less likely to be reviewed.
  • If only a part of the page uses spammy techniques, for example if it uses cloaking or has hidden text on an otherwise good page, provide a short explanation on how to look for the spam you’re seeing.
  • If you’re reporting a site for spammy backlinks rather than on-page content, mention that.

Google actually provides the following criteria for the type of website-level spam of greatest interest to them as an organization:

  • the cached version contains significantly different (often keyword-rich) content from the live version
  • you’re redirected to a completely different domain with off-topic, commercial content
  • the site is filled with auto-generated or keyword-stuffed content that seems to make no sense

These are just a few examples of techniques that might be potentially spammy, and which we would appreciate seeing in the form of a spam report.

Here’s Google’s evaluation and action procedure after reviewing these reports:

After reviewing the feedback from these reports (we want to confirm that the reported sites are actually spammy, not just sites that someone didn’t like), it may take a bit of time before we update our algorithms and a change is visible in the search results.

Keep in mind that sometimes our algorithms may already be treating those techniques appropriately; for instance, perhaps we’re already ignoring all the hidden text or the exchanged links that you have reported.

Submitting the same spam report multiple times is not necessary. Rest assured that we actively review spam reports and take appropriate actions, even if the changes are not immediately visible to you.

via Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: How to help Google identify web spam.

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All comments welcomed! Less enthusiastic about spam though.

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