Google’s efforts to keep spam out of search results are detailed in the company’s annual webspam report, published today.
According to the report, over 99% of Google’s search results are spam-free, and the company goes to great lengths to keep it that way.
For instance, Google’s webspam team discovers 25 billion spammy pages every day which are filtered out of Google’s search results index.
“That’s a lot of spam,” Google says, “and it goes to show the scale, persistence, and the lengths that spammers are willing to go.”
Here are more highlights from Google’s webspam report, which show the company’s efforts to stay ahead of spammers in 2019.
How Google Fought Webspam in 2019
Google received nearly 230,000 reports of search spam in 2019, and was able to take action on 82% of the reports it processed.
The company attributes this in part to improving the spam fighting capabilities of its machine learning systems, which was a top priority for 2019.
“Our machine learning solutions, combined with our proven and time-tested manual enforcement capability, have been instrumental in identifying and preventing spammy results from being served to users.”
Google’s Spam Fighting Victories
Google’s spam fighting efforts managed to keep user-generated spam at bay, which was reduced by 80% in 2018 and did not grow in 2019.
Link spam remains popular, but Google is getting better at detecting it. Moreover, Google confirmed paid links and link exchanges are even less effective now.
“More than 90% of link spam was caught by our systems, and techniques such as paid links or link exchange have been made less effective.”
Google notes the progress it’s made to fight spammy sites with auto-generated and scraped content. These sites typically engage in behaviors that annoy or harm searchers.
Examples include sites with deceptive elements such as fake buttons, overwhelming ads, suspicious redirects, and malware.
Google was able to reduce the impact on Search users from this type of spam by more than 60% in 2019 compared to 2018.
Lastly, Google touts its webmaster outreach efforts as it relates to spam fighting.
When Google detects spam it alerts the site owner via Search Console. In 2019, Google sent over 90 million messages to website owners.
Those messages were sent to let site owners know about any issues or problems that may affect their site’s appearance in Search results.
Of all 90 million messages, about 4.3 million were related to manual actions resulting from violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
The Importance of Spam Fighting
To coincide with this report, Google’s Danny Sullivan penned a separate blog post discussing the reasons why keeping spam out of search results is so important.
“Without our spam-fighting systems and teams, the quality of Search would be reduced–it would be a lot harder to find helpful information you can trust.
With low quality pages spamming their way into the top results, the greater the chances that people could get tricked by phony sites trying to steal personal information or infect their computers with malware.”
What you can take away from that is – serving high quality search results is as much about fighting spam as it is about developing complex algorithms.