Matt Cutts Explains What A Day In The Life Of A Spam Fighter At Google Is Like

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Matt Cutts Explains What A Day In The Life Of A Spam Fighter At Google Is Like

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about what it’s like to fight webspam in his latest Webmaster Help video where a users writes in to ask:

What is a day in the life of a search spam team member like? What is the evolution of decisions in terms of how they decide which aspects of the search algorithm to update? Will certain things within the algorithm never be considered for removal?

The webspam team consists of engineers and manual spam fighters, Matt explains a bit about both.

Manual spam fighting, which Matt has done a lot of, is both a proactive and reactive process. Upon receiving a spam report, or being alerted that someone is spamming Google, a manual spam fighter would then react to that. A large part of a spam fighter’s day is making sure spammers don’t infest the search results, they do this by seeking out and removing spammy content that is ranking relatively well.

Matt says the best spam fighters are the ones capable of detecting trends and moving into a proactive mode. Being proactive involves trying to figure out how certain spammers are ranking so highly, what loopholes they’re exploiting, and how to get to the root of the problem.

The average day of a spam fighting engineer, on the other hand, is spent coding and testing new ideas. For example, they’ll write up an algorithm designed to fight a particular type of spam and then run experiments to see how well it works and in what areas it needs to be improved.

As new ways to fight spam are developed, the spam fighting team then goes back and looks at what older algorithms are no longer needed. This is very challenging, Matt says, because with so much spam on the web the landscape is always changing and they’re constantly having to rearrange their priorities. When they look back at the end of the year at what they accomplished versus what they wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the year, it’s often very different.

There is no average day in the life of a spam fighter, Matt says, because something new is thrown at them all the time. They have to respond to complaints, attacks, and various feedback from users which makes every day a bit different. The webspam team takes a critical look at all feedback they get because if it’s affecting one user it may be affecting many, and if that’s the case they want to fix it.

For a full, in-depth explanation of the job of a spam fighter, please see Matt’s video below. Running at roughly 8 minutes in length, he goes into more detail than he usually he does in his videos so this is highly recommended viewing.

Matt Southern
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
Matt Southern
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  • Maciej Fita

    I think these are issues Google will be up against for the remainder of the search engine lifespan. As long as they have that market share they will be fighting bad apples into eternity!

  • Muhammad Atif

    This is exactly what a typical manual spam fighter thinks and implement the things that according to him is a good way of work done but I agree with Matt this is hard for the manual spam engineer to check out which things are good and which are not good and how he can eliminate and add the things they need to perform with the algorithm that make the algorithm perfect according to the Google and the websites. I just read your post but I am unable to watch the video could you please mention the YouTube link for me.

  • StylePeterson

    Excellent video. The ongoing struggle between search engines and their arch nemesis spam!

  • roy james

    it is good information

  • Philip Mahler

    Amen Matt ๐Ÿ™‚

    There’s a lot of parrallels with the e-mail spam blocking techniques we use at SPAMfighter. Your manual work however is apparently much more advanced when discovering the tricks being used by spammers.

  • Tamil Matrimonial

    Your post is informative..

  • Shirley Moring

    Again a Good Post on this site! There has given all information is very useful for recover my website from spam backlinks. I read whole post and I like so much. Still a little confused

  • Sunday

    From Matt Cutts’ answer its clear that spam fighting still a tedious and continuous move. Its stressful but requires patience to be effective. Indeed “There is no average day in the life of a spam fighter”. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Sunday – contributor to

  • Alex

    I hope some creative sort draws up a cartoon showcasing a Webspam Fighter. Forget all these superhero movies with Batman and Spongebob, we need some variation on the Webspam Fighter. Matt Cutts with arsenal of weaponry etc.

    It must be a tedious job, though, there’s so much bad SEO spamming going on. No wonder he’d had enough of guest posting.