Everyone knows that Google indexes web pages. In fact, that’s almost the very definition of what Google is, and that’s its main business.
But what a lot of people may not know is that Google is, in a way, in a war.
An ongoing war with many, many battles.
That war is waged to keep you, and other users, safe. Safe from false or misleading information, safe from bad websites (malware and phishing), and safe from…bad things.
Not only is Google trying to keep you safe, but they’re also trying, to some extent, to protect your privacy.
If you’re a webmaster who would like to get organic Google search traffic, this is pertinent, because Google has some dos and don’ts pertaining to web pages.
But First, What Is Spam, Really?
To begin, Spam is a brand of cooked pork from Hormel foods.
As for exactly how the term made its way into computer lingo, I’m not sure which came first: its use in MUD (multiple user dungeons) or the Monty Python sketch.
This funny video gives a bit of history:
But regardless of how exactly it came to be used in the computer world, we can say that, at the very least, spam is something we didn’t ask for. It can be in the form of unwanted, bot-generated text, and unwanted email, unwanted text, or, in this case, an unwanted search result/web page.
These web pages can cause quite a bit of trouble. For example, the most aggressive of these pages can try to lock your browser and give you only one option: to download something that you’d be wise to not download.
Some of these pages can try to trick you into giving you a password or login information. For example, the domain name of such a page can look like the domain name of a major bank, and the layout and color scheme of such a page can look like that of your bank, but beware…it’s not your bank! It’s a fake that wants you to enter your bank card number and login info.
Spam and Google’s Business
As you know, Google is, at least in a good portion of the world, the most-used search engine.
And for Google to stay that way, it has to return reliable, safe search results.
Part of how it does that is by identifying and minimizing spam.
An Idea About How Google Identifies Spam
To be sure, Google’s algorithms and methodologies aren’t 100% impenetrable. There are unworthy sites that do make it onto the first page of search results.
That said, over the years, through updates and daily algorithm tweaks, Google has been gaining the upper hand on spam sites.
As for how, exactly, Google does this, I don’t know Google’s exact trade-secret process, but one can guess. Google has Webmaster Guidelines, and I think that part of their algorithms are designed to identify pages that violate these.
Also, people can manually submit web pages to Google that are not in accordance with the Webmaster Guidelines. In that case, Google can take manual action to penalize such web pages. (In that case, I think Google will try to notify the webmaster that such action has taken place.)
So, in short, that’s a brief introduction to why, and how Google combats webspam.
Source: Google Twitter channel