How Search Engines Define Spam

How Search Engines Define Spam

In terms of SEO, the term “spam” or “spamdexing” is used to describe techniques used to artificially inflate the perceived relevancy of inferior web sites. Throughout history, various techniques have been implemented with varying degrees of success. Examples of these spam techniques include hiding links, cloaking, link farming, keyword stuffing and using style controls to mask content. Since spamdexing practices are constantly evolving, SEOToolSetTM has decided to hold our Certified Analysts, Organizations and Partners to a common SEOToolSetTM Code of Conduct instead of outlawing certain bad practices. However, we believe that it is important to know what the major search engines specifically say about spam and what practices are definitely not allowed if you would like to rank in top-tier search engines. Plus, every ethical SEO should know how to properly report any spam that they see so the search engines can correct their algorithm accordingly…

How Google Defines Spam:

As part of their Webmaster Guidelines, Google outlines techniques to use to help Google locate, index and rank your website. They also specificially state that the following techniques may lead them to remove your site from the Google index:

  • Hidden text or hidden links.

  • Cloaking or sneaky redirects.

  • Automated queries to Google.

  • Pages loaded with irrelevant keywords.

  • Multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

  • “Doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

However you should keep in mind that these aren’t the only practices that Google disapproves of. Generally, Google doesn’t like their results manipulated by deceptive practices. Their recommendation for webmasters is:

Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles listed above will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.

To combat common search engine spam practices employed by rogue SEOs, Google has also posted a list of practices that should raise a red flag when you are looking for a search engine optimizer. According to Google, feel free to walk away from an SEO who:

  • owns shadow domains

  • puts links to their other clients on doorway pages

  • offers to sell keywords in the address bar

  • doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear in search results

  • guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway

  • operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info

  • gets traffic from “fake” search engines, spyware, or scumware

  • has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google

NOTE: If you are having trouble finding an ethical search engine optimization specialist, take a look at our Directory of SEOToolSetTM Certified Analysts and Organizations. Everyone certified by SEOToolSetTM is audited at random at least once a quarter to make sure that they are not using practices that would violate our Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics.

How Yahoo! Defines Spam

According to Yahoo!, search engine spam is webpages “that are considered unwanted and appear in search results with the intent to deceive or attract clicks, with little regard for relevance or overall quality of the user experience.” Officially, Yahoo! does not want to index sites with:

  • Text that is hidden from the user

  • Misuse of competitor names/products

  • Pages that have substantially the same content as other pages

  • Multiple sites offering the same content

  • Pages in great quantity, which are automatically generated or of little value

  • Pages dedicated to redirecting the user to another page

  • Pages that give the search engine different content than what the end-user sees

  • Pages built primarily for search engines

  • Pages that use excessive pop-ups, interfering with user navigation

  • Pages that use methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking

  • Sites with numerous, unnecessary virtual hostnames

  • Excessive cross-linking with sites to inflate a site’s apparent popularity

  • Pages that harm the accuracy, diversity, or relevance of search results

  • Pages that seem deceptive, fraudulent, or provide a poor user experience


3 Responses to “How Search Engines Define Spam”

  1. For your keyword research try using KeywordSpy.com – a keyword research technology that will help you know what keywords your competitors are using and how it generates money for them, you can use those keywords to drive traffic to your site and give your business the exposure it needs. It offers Free trials.- http://www.keywordspy.com/

  2. Actually, Google defines spam as trying to deceive their web crawler by means of everything that you have said. In addition to your list, Keyword stuffing and submitting

    repeatedly to a search engine, directories, etc in a short period of time can also be considered as a spamming.

  3. Nice post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you as your information.

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