Google Search spam updates and your site

While Google's automated systems to detect search spam are constantly operating, they occasionally make notable improvements to how they work. When they do, they refer to this as a spam update and share when they happen.

For example, SpamBrain is Googles AI-based spam-prevention system. From time-to-time, they improve that system to make it better at spotting spam and to help ensure it catches new types of spam.

Sites that see a change after a spam update should review the Google spam policies to ensure they are complying with those. Sites that violate these policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all. Making changes may help a site improve if the automated systems learn over a period of months that the site complies with the spam policies.

In the case of a link spam update (an update that specifically deals with link spam), making changes might not generate an improvement. This is because when Googles systems remove the effects spammy links may have, any ranking benefit the links may have previously generated for your site is lost. Any potential ranking benefits generated by those links cannot be regained.

Detecting spam to bring you relevant and reliable results

Google invests in systems to ensure that sites don’t rise in Search results through deceptive or manipulative behaviour. This is especially important because spam sites can harm or mislead people.

Why Google fights against spam

Spam sites attempt to game their way to the top of Search results through a variety of techniques such as repeating keywords over and over, or showing Google content that's different from what users see (something that's known as 'cloaking'). Hackers sometimes even get into legitimate sites and change them into spam sites that might redirect people into scams or worse.

How Google targets spam

Google has clear guidelines that call out spammy behaviour, and provides a clear process to appeal removals once violations have been addressed.

  • Googles automated systems can detect the vast majority of spam and keep it out of your top Search results, similar to how a good email system keeps spam from flooding your inbox;
  • The rest of spam is tackled manually by their spam removal team, who review pages and flag them if they violate the webmaster guidelines. When they take manual action on content, they try to alert the creator to help them address issues;
  • Once the problem has been remedied, they website owners can re-submit for reconsideration. Google processes all of the reconsideration requests that we receive;
  • Google wants website owners to have the information that they need to get their sites in shape. That’s why, over time, Google has invested substantial resources in webmaster communication and outreach. 

Fighting spam to keep your results safe and useful is a daily challenge.

While Google wants to be really transparent about how Search works, they also have to be careful not to reveal too much detail that would allow people to game their search results and degrade the experience for everyone.

Google learned this lesson the hard way. Back in 1999, Google’s founders published a seminal paper on PageRank, a key innovation in Google’s algorithm. Once that paper was published, spammers tried to game Google by paying each other for links.

Search is a powerful tool. It helps people find, share and access an amazing wealth of content regardless of how they connect or where they are located. Google works hard to ensure that you see high-quality Search results and not spam. They continuously improving their spam-fighting technology and will continue working closely with webmasters and others to foster and support a high-quality web ecosystem.

Google Spam Detection