SEO Tip #100: What Are Some of the Projects that the Web Spam Team Might Tackle In 2011?

Matt Cutts: Today’s question actually comes from. I seeded the page with various questions such as what are some of the projects the web spam team might tackle in 2011 and that one actually got 40 or 50 votes so I thought I would go ahead and give a quick preview of the sorts of things we are thinking about for 2011.

One of the big ones is sort of a back to basics. We had been working on a bunch of different projects and we are sort of coming back to work on what a lot of people would consider the core spam, the keyword stuffing, the blog comment spam that people see on the web and don’t really want to show up in their search result pages.

So back to basics in my mind means a lot more engineers working on stuff that people will easily recognize as spam. We have a content based spam classifier that will be rolling out and people may see the impact of that for example. We are of course going to continue our projects on looking at the quality of links. So that’s one big emphasis.

Another one is hack sites. We are going to keep working on that. And a third one is communication, trying to figure out how to better talk with webmasters in ways where they can figure out what’s going on with their site, ideally ways they can submit a reconsideration request and get a little bit more information back.

The problem is the web spam team relative to the number of sites on the web is very small and so how do you communicate in a scalable way? How do you let people know what is going on with their site in a way that they understand and gives them something actionable to do?

For example with hacked sites we’ve just started to show a little message in our Google server that says, “This site may be compromised.” If you click on it it will take you to a little more help information about if we thing your site has been hacked here are some of the things that you can do.

So we are looking at the full spectrum of ways to communicate better not only when we think something is going on with your site but when you also want to submit a reconsideration request. Along with that we will continue to work on improving our work on things like hacked sites and then we are going to have this emphasis on back to the basics.

We are going to try and figure out what are the things that an average person is more likely to hit that they can realize is web spam, whether it be visible stuff or things in the backlinks and just continue to try and execute on that and continue to make the results as spam free as possible.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.