Spam … does it ever go away? Every internet user has had those days when they think the internet gods must hate them, as the spam just keeps coming relentlessly. It shows up all over the place in so many searches and emails, and you just can’t seem to get rid of it. The truth is, though, that the people at Google are hard at work 24/7 dealing, often quite successfully, with this seemingly omnipresent web nudge. In fact, if Google’s knowledgeable staff wasn’t equally unrelenting at ridding the internet of spammers and their unsolicited rubble, your internet searches would become never-ending pursuits of relevant data. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is what internet searches are all about. Users must be able to search on … and find … whatever they’re looking for, and if a website contains spam or content irrelevant to users’ searches, that makes users unhappy. And unhappy users make Google sad.
Some techniques used by spammers are easily detected, while other spammers use subtle methods that cloak or hide their unsolicited and unwanted information. Because spammers will try anything to bypass search engine guidelines in order to obtain the highest rankings for their websites, regardless of how irrelevant their information may be, Google must also be relentless in thwarting spam. Google has dedicated itself to ridding the internet of as much spam as possible in order to make the results of your search free from irrelevant data and threats to your computer. Sometimes spam is just a nuisance, but oftentimes it brings with it viruses or other malicious software that can creep into your system, making it vulnerable to hackers looking to, at best, disrupt your information and, at worst, steal your financial information and identity.
Google has designed and built up algorithms that can detect most spam, ridding their search engine results of it. For spam that does not get automatically deleted, Google employs techniques for staff to manually review and demote spam in their search engines. Google’s algorithms look at a number of spam types, including: links labeled as ads, site-wide links, links sold by link brokers, link relevance, and locations outside where main content would appear. Links labeled as ads can be detected by Google with algorithms that scan for nearby text, such as ‘advertisement’ or ‘ad,’ ‘partners,’ or ‘sponsors.’ Site-wide linking is inorganic because they contain web links that will be seen throughout all pages of a website. They typically can be found at the bottom of a website’s page. These links should be linked to a site’s content, but generally are not, making the link irrelevant. Link brokers are experienced and informed about the many methods of detecting spam. For this reason, they are skilled at avoiding detection with the links they sell. If a link is not relevant to a search, this is a pretty good clue that it is spammy content. In addition, Google’s algorithms can detect when a link is not part of the main content of a website. For instance, if it appears down the side of text in column form with the main content showing up in the middle, this is automatically detected by Google’s algorithms. Google often must change its algorithms in order to stay ahead of spammers who gain knowledge of Google’s methods of fighting spam.
Google’s staff also works tirelessly in reviewing websites for clues of spam, and to make sure the sites they rank highest maintain quality content. A search engine must contain data that points to relevant user searches. SEO experts are trained professionals who can help website owners optimize content relevance in order to be found on searches. Because the higher the ranking, the more page views a website obtains. When web pages get to the top of Google’s page rankings automatically, in order to stay there, they must be monitored and reviewed continually by human raters in order to prove they deserve to be there. In other words, the quality and relevance of their content remain high, while the spam remains low. Google’s aim is to please its users. If users are not happy with their Google searches because they continuously find irrelevant information, spammy content, or spam links, they will abandon Google to use other search engines. Therefore, Google must continue to use human raters who constantly review sites for relevance and quality. Google trains their raters to determine spam and low-quality content not relevant to searches based on certain criteria that they have put into their quality-raters’ handbook.
The simple fact is that users are Google’s bread and butter. As long as users continue to find top-quality, relevant content, they will continue to use Google’s search engine. Fighting spam is a never-ending prospect for Google. So, too, must SEO experts be on their toes at all times in order to combat spam and optimize websites’ search results. After all, if your search yields you little or no results in Google, you’ll just go somewhere else.