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Google Aren’t Just Fighting Spam, They’re Fighting the Perception of Spam

19 April 2012 BY

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I can’t quite pin-point the date, but Google have changed the way they fight spam. It’s a dramatic shift that can only have come from a change in policy internally. This schism from their own way of thinking is dramatic and perhaps an end of innocence from the Webspam team.

For me the first indication of this shift was when Google started naming their updates again. Vince and Panda (and Caffeine, even though it wasn’t technically a algo change) this was a change from the ever-flux where changes were being made constantly in small iterations, why did they make this change? Perhaps it was just because they were big cohesive changes, or partly it was because Google want to talk more publicly about what they considered good and bad content and they wanted to show that they were taking action.

Clever PR there.

Here’s what we don’t like, and here we are taking action, and don’t think about doing stuff like that it won’t work….

Also it might make the spam fighting a little easier, what’s one way to reduce the amount of low quality content on content farms? Make a strong clear statement that the tactic won’t work, maybe people won’t do it quite as much.

More recently we’ve had the aggressive de-indexing of some of the more flagrant blog networks. “Good work,” say the whitehats, “but why’s it taken so long?”

Instead I think those links probably haven’t worked for a long time (or had limited value) but by de-indexing these sites they made that far more explicit, made their campaign against spam more explicit. They’re sending a message – spun content or automated link building schemes won’t work. People may have evidence to the contrary but by de-indexing networks like BuildMyRank the intentions are clear. Suddenly people might be put off using that approach.

Also it might make the spam fighting a little easier, what’s one way to reduce the amount of blog networks? Make a strong clear statement that the tactic won’t work, maybe people won’t do it quite as much.

Let’s be clear I’m not criticizing Google, I think they way they publicly react to spam is as important as how they react to it algorithmically. Blackhats are going to be blackhats, spammers are going to spam, but if they can deter the lazy SEOs or the noobs they might just reduce the spam they have to deal with with even if they don’t solve the problem completely

AUTHORED BY:
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Kelvin Newman is Creative Director at SiteVisibility and specialises in achieving natural search results and producing link-worthy online content, working with a variety of brands including the RSPCA & uSwitch.
  • http://www.barryadams.co.uk/ Barry Adams

    It’s not just the perception of spam, it’s the perception of SEO itself that Google is trying to change. As I said before, Google wants SEO to mean “Google-approved best practices”, and anything that falls outside of that narrow definition is to be interpreted as spam and harmful.

    Also, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these big spam-fighting efforts began to ramp up as Google’s internal infrastructure improved (as detailed in this Wired article: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/04/going-with-the-flow-google/all/1 ). This enhanced internal infrastructure may have enabled some processes that can be used in their fight against what they perceive as spam.

  • Fergus Clawson

    Hi Kelvin,  in relation to your post I believe Authorship
    (for SEOs author rank) is Google’s key game changer here. Google wants to know
    who owns the content and will add weight accordingly if they know the content
    connected to key influencer (G+) groups, entities and personas. Google are
    making life harder for spammers by devaluing ‘traditional’ links – links will still add value in the right
    places, however I believe semantic content (this will eventually replace anchor text)
    backed by ‘white hat links’, authorship, the right social signals and clever on-site will determine who wins and
    who loses in the Google SERPS. 

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