With the recent Goolge’s algorithm update (which was quickly called “Farmer’s Update”, as it seriously affects the so-called “content farms”) and Blekko’s removal of twenty famous websites from its results, it seems that fighting spam is the hottest issue in the search engine market.
Indeed, when we face certain enemy, it is very advisable to know about him as much as you can. So, what is this “spam”? The answer is clear – something annoying and useless. The first occurrence of spam is said to happen in the 19th century, when many honorable English gentlemen received an urgent telegram with an advertising content.
When we are talking about search results, however, spam is not easily defined. Usually, it means irrelevant pages that happen to have a keyword in them. But this has been handled a while ago. The search algorithms are far more advanced than 10 years ago, when one could fill the page with meaningless phrases and get a high SE ranking.
The problem has switched to using a good-written content (grammatically that is), which provides little useful information. It keeps repeating the same things again and again, so while looking “normal article” for the bot/spider, for the human being it is simply a waste of time. That’s what “content farm” means – a website that has constantly generated and frequently updated content, which has little value in it. That’s what Blekko and Google are fighting. The problem is that technically it is very hard to distinguish between “useful” and “useless” content – even for a human, let alone an indexing bot…
Fighting SPAM is everyone’s concern these days. E-mail providers try to create advanced Spam-filters that send offensive and disturbing emails out of your Inbox to a “Spam” folder (and, of course, sometimes valuable, long-expected messages from certain contacts end up there as well). Search engines are struggling hard creating sophisticated algorithms in order to present the most “relevant” results to the user – their success is somewhat moderate, I would say.
There is, however, another option. Grant USER the ability to “mark” certain domains as “unwanted” and “untrustworthy” aka spam. According to Google’s Matt Cutts, the search industry market leader spam fighting team “has definitely discussed this” and the option has a chance of appearing in Google search tools. Of course, Cutts was very clear about “not pre-announcing things before they lunch”, but the hint is there.
Based on the experience and data of the now-extinct SearchWiki, the feature of “user blacklisting” can be quite useful and successful. The intention is, reportedly, to provide the user with the ability to mark domains and create blacklists for any given keyword. This data, associated with user’s Google profile can be stored on Google servers, making it an effective tool for fighting spam or other unwanted content, which is regarded as irrelevant by a specific searcher.
The truth is, many Internet marketers sometimes have the tendency to be over-eager, earning the industry a less than stellar reputation. More than a few have tried to change this perception over the years with honest-to-goodness value propositions, and for that I applaud them. However, there are those who still insist on turning a profit on deceptive, irritating methods like spamming. Where traffic is, so spam goes, and right now the prime targets are social networks. (more…)