Feedback: Webspam in 2006?

Okay, I’m most interested in hearing what people think Google should tackle in webspam. Based on your experiences, close your eyes and think about what area(s) you wish Google would work on. You probably want to think about it for a while without viewing other people’s comments, and I’m not going to mention any specific area that would bias you; I want people to independently consider what they think Google should work on to decrease webspam in the next six months to a year.

Once you’ve come up with the idea(s) that you think are most pressing, please add a constructive comment. I don’t want individual sites called out or much discussion; just chime in once with what you’d like to see Google work on in webspam.

153 Responses to Feedback: Webspam in 2006? (Leave a comment)

  1. Matt,

    I’d like to see automated links tackled. I’m aware from your previous posts that you’re tackling bought links and (non-relevant) reciprocal links. In my humble ipinion automated links are vastly more insidious.

  2. 1 Take a close look at the norm for a kind of site:
    Since you are using the DMOZ description, you should analyse the average amount of pages / of links of the similar sites (using the same keyword or a related one in the description) on DMOZ.
    If the average site has 50 pages and 25 links, have a look specifically at the sites having 5000 links on the link: command (probably 20 times more) and 12000 pages on a site:command.

    2.Take out the directories if the user didn’t use the word directory as search term. I do not think many people are actually searching for directories and it is pushing the real sites away.

    3. If a site of 2000 pages has only 1 about widget, push it behind the one with 5 pages and 1 about widget, this would avoid site taking about possibly everything just for the sake of having more pages. (of course, the site with 50 pages and 49 about wiget should be before both two)

  3. it seems that hidden text is still a problem. I can name several #1 sites for big keywords that have hidden text on their pages. 1 is a flash site with no other real text except the hidden and the adsense.

    also, the domianer / affiliate sites need to stop showing up. Without using domain names, I have a buddy who runs a poster site. It’s just him re-packaging data, and sending users to the other site when they click on something. He does well in the SERPs, but all he’s really providing the customer with is an inflated price, and a different themed search box of the original site.

  4. While I know this idea goes against the theory of Mr Brin and others, the answer to webspam does not only rest with algo changes, but sometimes requires a human eye.

    Take the top 100,000 searches. Hire enough staff so that first two pages for each of these searches can be manually reviewed. Use agressive and near instant tools to remove spammers, redirectors, and scammers. Don’t let them drag on until the next update or wait for an algo change. Make it so that webspam does not pay, and webspam will drop as a result.

    I won’t say humans do it better (DM-Z proved otherwise, I think) but humans can help weed out the newest problems each week.

  5. Matt, I am so glad you started this thread as I am fighting something right now that in my opinion “has to go” although, of course, I don’t know how (and have reported it twice actually in the past week).
    Searching for a unique text string from our main page brings up a scrape/spam site which has basically taken about 95% of our text off our main page and claim it as their own with no links to our site at all. When doing the search in Google for “synthetic fabrics have been our specialty since 1950” our page does not even come up unless you go to the bottom of the results page and click the repeat the search with the omitted results displayed link. Then, we show up but at the sixteenth position. On MSN we are listed first and Yahoo! we are second. Now, granted, not many people will be searching for that exact phrase but other text from the page provides the similar results…

  6. Hi Matt

    I think that Google should not use Dmoz. In Italy for example, many editors are corrupted and so, many sites are of big spammers


  7. I’d like G to be proactive in spotting and removing MFA/scraper sites from their index. They do nothing for the user except clutter up the SERPs with junk which offer little/no original content.

  8. I know you’re trying, but please keep fighting those scraper and adsense farm sites. Pure garbage. Also frustrating are parked sites that basically do the same.

    For purly personal reasons, I’d appreciate a little more communication and compassion on the banned sites front. I still don’t know why exactly our site was banned and if we’re on track to get reinstated. I’m waiting patiently but it is frustrating for us and people searching for our site.

  9. Going forward, it seems to me that Internet searching would be a much better experience if the burden of “qualifying” a web site were shifted from the search engine to the web site owner. I would like to see an independent organization (like DMOZ) with human reviewers, that charges the site owner to promptly review, qualify and categorize the site. Sites would have to periodically meet minimum “quality” standards, much like companies who apply for, and pass periodic independent audits for ISO-9000 certification. Quality can be defined as proper coding, no spam, accessibility, ect. Sites that meet the standard would be assigned to one or more categories and be recognized by the search engines as trusted sites. Any legit ecommerce site owner would be willing to pay a reasonable fee for periodic (plus random) human audits knowing that search engines would take their certification into account. Some would argue that the Internet should not be for sale, but certification would be just one part of the search engine’s evaluation for relevance, and would place spammers at a big disadvantage.

  10. What i’d like to see is in the expanded results links (i.e. the ones where it says “Cached”, “Similar Results”, “Remove Result”). I’d like the option to mark it as spam which will send an automated report to google. For example (excuse the topic but it’s one I was sure would return this type of result):

    See result:
    Viagra, russian viagra, viagra hypothesis, viagra cartoons
    discount viagra europe viagra price comparison viagra side affects nitric oxide
    viagra free try viagra viagra attorney viagra and drinking …

    What use is that to someone searching for viagra, a gateway URL that uses obviously dirty SEO tactics (putting every single keyword possible at the top of the source) to rank well.

    Just an idea…and once again excuse the poor example 😉

  11. Not sure if Google does this, but now that there is blog search I’m sure it won’t be to hard. Make it so people using an RSS feed can’t just throw the content onto their site and call it a site. Just have some way to check if site content is in a feed somewhere, and then detirmine if the site in question is the site making the feed or not. If it isn’t, then don’t give them any benefit from taking the feed.

  12. Hi Matt,

    I sent a spam report addressed to “GoogleGuy” earlier today about a daunting problem I have found to do with my site. I have no clue what is going on there, but if you happen to see a report from Liane, I sure would appreciate any advice! I included my e:mail address.

    In regards to the other spam problems …

    1) Spam reports.

    I have sent in spam reports for the same website at least half a dozen times (maybe more) over the past few years. The site in question is chock-a-blok with doorway pages! The annoying part is that the doorway pages are working to a certain extent.

    They take 30 identical pages, throw a different title on each page and substitute the keyword(s) to fit into the exact same spots on each page! They even have a notice on their site map which lists all the doorways and a notation saying, “Ranking and Reference Use Only”

    OK, so the spam report goes in and this site eventually disappears from the top search results … only to reappear every time there is a major update!
    I have a real bugaboo about this particular site because they continually steal my meta descriptions and sometimes even content such as photos! It was annoying enough when all they stole were parts of my page layout for product pages, but these doorways are directed at my company name and others in the same industry.

    In keeping with your request, my constructive comment is to permanently penalize the specific doorway pages. Its not necessary to ban the whole site, just the doorway pages so spammers like this will soon realize that they do them no good and once they realize that, they’ll stop!

    Its pretty tiresome doing the same reports over and over again!

    Thanks for listening Matt! 🙂

  13. I think Google needs to look at sites that are abusing sub-domains.

    I’ve seen sites that I’ve reported that have subs domains for every state of the exact same site and of course each site links back to the main site thus boosting the keyword anchor.

    If anything, perhaps discount all links back to the main from a subdomain and to any other domain.

    That would stop that practice in it’s tracks.

  14. i agree with the domainer sites that shouldn’t be coming up.

    I hate searching for something and then seeing that its a parked domain with tons of ads on it…

  15. 1) DMOZ should be removed from Google’s consideration how to value websites. Good sites are waiting years to be added or never get added. These guys do not have any communication tools in place to verify if a site has been reviewed and dumped at all.

    Google also needs to put communication tools in place about that sites that are black listed. One of my sites is now slowly showing up in Big Daddy, but was gone from normal Google since Jagger. it is not a spammy site at all and for honest webmasters it is very frustrating not even knowing why a site got kicked out.

  16. The amount of spam on the web has exploded in response to potential adsense income. Lots of people say ban those sites but banning the publisher would be more effective.

  17. Google does a great job of ridding of spam in my field….

    One thing I’d like google to crack down on is the people who are opening a site on domains that have huge authority like & ezboards, with keywords in the URL and all over the pages, to get high rankings.

  18. Definitely get rid of DMOZ. Their screwed up descriptions and titles hurt the Web sites that are counting on good visibility in search results. Google can clearly find other sources of information about a Web site. You need something more honest and reliable than DMOZ.

  19. 1. Get rid of DMOZ and those stupid lazy editors that take 3 years to review a website.

    2. Google penalizing people for trading links.

    3. Google penalizing sitewide links.

    4. Google should catch spammers faster. Indexing and Reindexing should be done quickly. The reason people spam their links is to get indexded by Google as soon as possible and sometimes we are forced to buy some PR6 or PR7 links or we end up in Sandbox.

  20. Identify “commercial” vs. “informational” sites, and give users the power to choose — an option to specify whether they are doing a “commercial” or “informational” search.

    Thanks, Matt, for taking all this feedback! I posted the rest of this under search quality, but now it also seems appropriate under webspam. Here it is:

    Existing options (News, Local, Froogle, etc.) are nice, but as a user I’d love to just have those two choices right at the top of my search: “commercial” to let me find the product or service I’m looking for, and “informational” to find out about anything (product, service, or otherwise) from someone who’s not trying to sell it to me. Maybe this could be some kind of filter?

    One example that comes to mind is web hosting — I recently tried using Google to find a new host, but most of the “reviews” and “directories” I came across were the bucolic fabrications of web hosting companies themselves, most of whom had bad spelling and at least 10 domains with the word “host” in the title. I was left with only my considerable spelling talents to separate out who was biased and who wasn’t.

  21. I think splog has to be the number one problem today. It is so easy for spammers to set up blogs and repost garbage to them. They make many blog searches useless. They pollute the web and are a drag on advertising programs.

  22. Hi Matt –
    I would like to see more backlink spam eliminated. There are tons of things to be covered, but one thing I noticed is that webmasters make additional sites (usually using the same templates for the other sites, but different than the main site), throw up a couple of pages of content and then link into their main site. Yes, this is a ‘doorway’ domain and should have already been caught, but I still see them popping up every now and then.

    I also would like to see more scraper sites banned from the index. I don’t think all adsense sites should be banned though because some actually offer good information for a user. Maybe some combination of adsense + a healthy amount of duplicate content plus some other things would be grounds to rid those sites from the index.


  23. I see the single biggest threat to link based algorithms is the plethora of link schemes like Digitalpoint.

    In my sector there are dozens of these schemes popping up all the time. The number 1 site on one of my SERPs has 100,000 backlinks! And it’s just a hotel reservation site for a piddly little country for christ’s sake.

    We joined one of these schemes for fun and pointed 1000’s of links at a page and it ranked amazingly well on a tough serp within days. These links are cancer for Google and are destroying the basis of the philosophy behind a link.

    The problem now isn’t that top site. It’s that everyone is going to join the bandwagon. Already half the sites on page 1 are using tricks like this now. I’d really prefer not to go down that road, but I’ll have to if it’s not stopped soon.

  24. Let me be the fiftieth person to say PLEASE DROP THE DMOZ FACTOR. In the particular field I work in I know for a fact that a competitor is an editor and that she won’t include certain sites as a result. To say this is a conflict of interest is a serious understatement. If Google cannot ensure the objectivity of DMOZ listings then they should drop the factor alltogether.

  25. I agree with SlyOldDog. Manufactured links must go.

  26. After all these years, there are still sites doing quite well using cloaking. And I don’t mean just a little cloaking, but cloaking as in never actually showing a regular visitor any content at all before redirecting them. However, if you go there with a browser masquerading as google-bot you’ll see a page just stuffed with keywords and strange internal links.

    Also, abuse of the noframes-tag is something I still see around a lot. This is the first choise if you want a link to the type of cloaked sites mentioned above.
    As I see it, external links withing a noframes-tag should just be disregarded by the Google-bot.

    Third. Others have mentioned DMOZ, and even if the organization isn’t perfect, its far better than 98% of the rest of the link cataloques. Most of these seem to be owned be SEO firms, at least where I come from.

  27. I totally agree that DMOZ is not working anymore. It is very corrupted. Quality sites are being removed, friendly sites are being included. DMOZ is not quality directory.

    I don’t see problems with back links or automated links. I don’t even feel that they influence too much anymore.

    The problem is with stealing content. Blogs scrapping content on automatic basis from other blogs. Copy cat websites scrapping content from quality websites and placing Google Adsense on their sites hoping to get the revenues.

  28. Apply justice equally and without prejudice. WordPress got caught spamming with hot nacho and was back in the SERPs in a few days. got caught doing the same thing a week later and is no where to be found almost 12 months later. Even though the offending pages have been removed.

    (FYI I am not affiliated with any of those sites)

  29. I agree with Wolfie and Sly.

    co-op link networks need to be devauled. (not just on devalued new domains, but on OLD/ESTABLISHED domains too : you trust these far too much) (quick example: ranking for a keyword like ‘mesothelioma’ with the help of co-op power)

  30. Keep the Open Directory Project, just help make sure to inform site owners of what it is and is not. I do have to agree to get rid of the scrapers, I still get some bizarre results sometimes.

    Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinion!

  31. I think DOMZ is one of the only places to get good data as far as site go, I would think the descriptions are worth keeping, most are very generic. Hidden text and non related links (for the purpose of pr) should be addressed.
    Thanks Matt

  32. Hello Matt,

    I would like to see google offer a commercial filter so users looking for informational pages do not have to wade through all the listings related to spammy sites that are manipulating search engine placement.

    I’d also like to see google further integrate the data they obtain from DMOZ. The human edited factor makes it a level playing field and cuts out the spam or affiliate marketing schemes that lack any real useful content, many of which ‘clog’ up the first several pages of google search results. Small business or informational websites that have not paid $$$ for search engine placement get lost in all the spam.

  33. 1) Ignore keyword stuffed texts;

    2) Ignore PR coming from purchased links;

    3) Ignore hidden text.

  34. Banning, penalties, new algo.. all are in the right track. However, there are only part of the equation. One of the problems with those stuff is a lot of “honest” webmasters (well.. I will see “honesty” as a continuum between white and black. Any SEO might be a little bit grey sometimes..) got banned or penalized without knowing the reasons.

    It is not to say they don’t something wrong. But, sometimes they commit something wrong without knowing it. For eg. exchanging links was a common practice since Web exists. A lot of webmasters keep doing that because they don’t understand the current development in SEs. In that case, if the website is their major income source, the usual response is to create new sites with same or similiar contents or doing more link exchanges to compensate the losing traffic. In the long run, the intention of getting rid of webspam by G actually increase spamming without both sides actually want to start it from beginning.

    My point is: Banning and penalizing is fine, but G has to balance it with webspam education for webmasters. This blog is going to the direction but not everyone knows and reads this blog. Even if it is read, our cognitive biases make us easier to detect problems on other sites than our own. How many times we hear the comment “I’m sure my site is clean but it got banned” ? I think in lot of cases, that is what they actually believe.

    So, if G could detect the spam, would it be nice if G could also inform the webmasters about nature of the problem(s) and give them time to fix the problems before applying penalties? To avoid this feature to be used by “black hat” SEOs, G can check the domain ownership. For eg. If the domains have been alive for years with contents and still viewed/bookmarked by users (data could be gathered by G Toolbar), then the site is eligible for notification.

    I believe this would help both G and webmasters and is aligned with G’s “Do no evil” philosophy.

  35. Wow where to begin..I agree with getting rid of DMOZ. To give an example, I went in to DMOZ for my region and industry and found several sites, about 18% of the listings according to DMOZ guidelines that dont meet their listing criteria, but yet I know of several sites that do and they have not been added in 3 years.

    DMOZ I believe is a public relations nightmare for Google with all the speculation of corruption and some past editors indicating there is wide spread corruption issues.

    Google states that DMOZ doesnt really hold a lot of weight with withs serps, but yet for several city plus real estate industries I track every single site in the top 10 holds a DMOZ listing.

    Google should just create a human edited directory and charge for it as Yahoo does. I am sure all those people trying to get in to DMOZ but cant because some competitor or friend of a competitor is editing the category would gladly pay Google to have their site review. This could also be another way for Google to track certain industries for spam tactics.

    Another issue I would like to see google attack is link farms. Link farms are a major issue in real estate. I think one way to discount this would be for Google to discount recipical links a great deal, let the sites earn links off their own merits, give no value to recipical links / homepage links. Whcih we all know homepage links are meant to manipulate the serps.

    Remove within Googles ranking algo the age factor of a domain. I have seen a few domains with age go out and purchase links with no repercussions. I have seen however when a new site goes and buys thousands of links they get penalized very quicky, on the other hand I have seen sites that are 4 or 5 years old with very few links go out and buy thousands of links and propel up the rankings for their primary keywords. We all have seen sites that have not been updated in years but yet still rank number one. How does this benefit the consumer, as times change so does information. Changing small amounts of info on a subject matter that should change quite often with large amounts of information is no benefit to the serps or consumers. Hense give more credit to very large sites. Base this on a comparision of sites within that targeted search phrase.

    To point out another issues is the creation of similar sites for the same industry keywords only to manipulate the serps. More and more Realtors are creating multiple sites in order to create nothing more than backlinks. Most of these sites offer the same information …just reworded or create junk adsense sites to create relevance for linking to their primary site / sites. Why create other sites for the same Realtor? If there is new information that needs to be offered why is it not added to the already existing site.

    Webmasters are guilty of this for the most part, they create forums to use for linking schemes, blogs and other sites to use for nothing more than to manipulate Googles serps and create backlinks.

    The top site in our market has over 150 homepage links on their site. This is part of a very large link farm for real estate. Yahoo has addressed this issue by penalizing sites that have homepage links, as most of these top 10 sites on google who use homepage links dont rank in Yahoo or MSN. These links on the homepage only increase the relevancy factor for real estate on these websites, with no real benefit for the website visitor, and only is used to manipulate Googles serps.

    Being in Real Estate, I can tell you placing those homepage links to other real estate sites have no value for the consumer, those are only meant to manipulate Google serps. I have links to other agents in other states we have done business with but they are placed on interior pages in the appropriate category. Consumers do have a need for real estate agents in other states but they have no value on your homepage. When a consumer hits your homepage they are looking for information about that subject matter in your area not that subject in another state.

    Disallow the use of framed pages in your index. Most sites that use frames use these to hide duplicate content. The pages are indexed with unique metas and title tags and get indexed. One certain real estate website company uses framed pages for most interior pages cause they all have the same content, but yet most of these sites rank very well in Google with huge indexes shown by Google.

    I guess this is a long enough book. I surely hope Google addresses these issues. The reason my viewpoints are so narrow is because I only deal with real estate nothing else so these are the only things I can speak of and give some examples of problems I have noticed pertaining to this industry.

  36. Hey Matt, thanks for asking.

    I can suggest a few things to improve the SE spam issue:

    1. Add a filter so any site with less than 100 or so links from the same industry never shows up in the SERPs. Let’s face it, less than 100 quality on-topic backlinks demonstrates very little effort to reward with a top ranking.

    2. Add a time-delay filter so new websites don’t get a shot at the first few (10?) pages of serps for something like 2 years. That should eliminate alot of the pressure for rankings. Most of the new website owners will forget about high-pressure SEO-style tactics if they know for sure they have no shot of ranking for that long. Those that are still good after the delay deserve to rank well.

    3. Only count visible, on-page text for relevance. No tags at all, no scripts at all, no code, no images nor their tags, just good old text. Start from there and impose your algos. SERPs should be much better even as design/styles vary and technology “advances”.

    4. Stop valuing backlinks by PR. The cascading relevance thing is dead, and rewards spam networks and scammers. Why not just kill it? Eliminate all that nepotistic link love and watch the SERPs improve.

    5. Require the Google toolbar of everyone who wants to use Why not? It helps you keep clean, so it can be required. Then you can track all activity, and really know relevance. (Granted this won’t work until you own the entire web, but that’s just a little while from now so better get crackin on the toolbar insertion, no?)

    6. Require AdSense on all web pages in Google. Again, why not? The Internet hasn’t been non-commercial since the mid 90’s. Offer a profit share as an option. Google’s revenue will go up, and you will eliminate much of the one-sided economic appeal of AdSense spamming, because every bit of content in will already have ads on it. No need to scrape sites to put ads on at another domain. Right?

    7. Change the Google indexing algorithms randomly every 5 months or so, on schedule. By my read, each big change in Google leads to about 4 1/2 months of whining in the spammer forums. Also, in my experience most users don’t know a good SERP from a bad one… they just click the first few results no matter what. Those two facts support a plan to just whack the index, and then whackit again as soon as the SEO spammers stop whining and start scheming again. Whack, whine, scheme, and Whack! again. Spam problem solved.

    I have alot more of excellent suggestions if you are interested. Have a great day!

  37. Buy from AOL. A big problem with the ODP is that AOL neglects it in terms of hardware and staff. I’m sure Google can spare some computers and can manage it better. The ODP has more spam-fighting know-how than most people imagine, so a closer collaboration with Google would be mutually beneficial.

  38. Matt … just a little of my favorite rant.

    Google should hold webmasters responsible for the sites they link out to. If YOU endorse a site YOU are accountable … that is the way link reputation is supposed to work!

    If Google wants to get rid of “unnatural links” this makes sense.

    Go ahead, add 10,000 outgoing links to your site … you just increase your exposure to getting banned.

    Go ahead, sell links to shady sites … you will pay for it dearly and lose all your PR.

    Go ahead, build doorway sites and route traffic to your site … all will be penalized.

    Spam sites would not even be a be a factor without links from upstanding web sites. This would also be the end for paid links, auto link software, and FFA directories!

  39. Bring back ODP to more prominence. There are problems with some commercial, spam and cheat prone areas but overall it is really useful for good edited selections of sites. With more prominence they might get more editors again. Perhaps just drop, or downrank, the spam and cheat prone areas.

    Use more brain power over sites that list every known location on databases and add the words hotels, offices, massage parlours, dating etc. My location has 15 houses but according to Google we have the full range of spam services.

    Provide an affordable Google consultancy service. Totally fair, totally white hat consultancy to sort out problems genuine sites might be having in getting listed correctly. Don’t make it so that only major companies or highly profitable sites can afford to pay.

  40. Matt, I would like to see Google taking a top down stance and target the ‘so called’ SEOs that employ (even promote) spammy tactics. Perhaps a friendly email from Google to state they are being watched.

  41. Matt, we keep hearing that if websites don’t “grow naturally” there will be the smell of spam. Internet buzz says that “naturally” means one or two pages a week.

    In my opinion this is not reasonable. What if a site owner has a team of researchers putting together 10 original, “citation-worthy” pages a day, just to provide more information to visitors?

    I suggest that you raise the spam threshold to a growth of about 50 pages per day.




  42. Hi! I’m an editor at dmoz and I know that our editors try very hard to get rid of mass submits from a single SEO. They type of spammy submitters can be banned from dmoz or ODP for behaving in such a way.

    I’m not saying that dmoz is perfect. But we do try our best to make one of the best directories with unique content. I think that it would make Google even worse than it has been, lately, to not use

    Have a nice day,

  43. Rid results of the colossal collections of directory-style city-specific affiliate doorway pages.

    Bring back the DMOZ category links to help users quickly understand the overall content of a site regardless of where it appears in seach.

  44. Matt,

    I would love to see all those domains that get incidental traffic due to the domain name exactly matching a search term gone from the listings. I am not talking about legitimate site, but the parked domains which only have a bunch of advertiser links on them.

  45. As far as spam is concerned, AdSense and Google News are the key. The most obvious spam blogs are the ones which publish snippets from G News and plant AdSense squares above and below the snippets, with no other content.

    Result for spammer: frequently updating content with AdSense revenue coming in. They even have a giveaway signal – the AdSense headline always has ‘6 hours ago’ or whatever directly after it.

    Find the blogs that use these two things together. Cancel the AdSense accounts. Spam problem solved.

  46. I am sorry.I posted this in the wrong thread before.
    I would like to see Google tackle expired domains again.The registrars are one step a head by not allowing expiring domains to drop.They also keep the old whois info on them.
    I let a domain slip expire unwittingly and when I disovered it, I found that it still had my exact whois info except for the admin email and the creation date was not reset.It was being used to spam porn links.
    Matt, what is being dome about expired domains?
    I see that 80% of adult serps are all expired domains.

  47. 1/6/06

    I know a lot of people will hate this comment. But after reading a dozen or so comments, it appears a lot of people have forgotten that we have a First Amendment to the Constitution that guarantees Freedom of Speech.

    Now that does not guarantee the right to use fraudlent practices to get a higher ranking. If Google wants to kick a site out for fraudlent pracitces, I have no problem with that.

    But for a bunch of self appointed spam cops to be able to black list a site is not right. If Google eventually allows this practice and legitimate sites are put out of business, then Google could be sued in a massive class action lawsuit. Now that I have said that.

    I have seen one practice being used for legitimate ecommerce that increases the links back to the main site. That practice is where a site uses the services of a huge shop cart management system to produce backlink pages for each product in the database. As an ecommerce practice to sell products, there is nothing wrong with this. But for Google to count those backlinks toward page rank and SERP, well that is another story.

    I have a particular site in mind that uses this practice to help maintain top ten or top twenty positions for some dozen keywords. So maybe Google can look at this and say oh. It is ok for selling products but not for SERP or PR. And not drop them from the index or penalize them for selling products using a database approach.

  48. I think you should ignore hidden text, it’s the worst problem I can see from Google with spam….

    Plus, this problem doesn’t need any human attention and can be totally automatized….

    I don’t mean to blacklist every site that uses hidden text, for example I do use hidden text to hide “pipe” separators from my site menu, so that text-only client like Links can have a better presentation since they don’t have any CSS support.

    I mean to simply doesn’t take into account the websites that stuff many keywords in hidden text.

    The easiest way to be sure nobody is gonna be hurt between legit hidden and keywords hidden, is to simply ignore the hidden part.

  49. Hi Matt,

    This is my first post, and perhaps also the first post from Turkey!

    I observed that sites seemingly banned by Google run adsense on their pages. Is it still permissible? I used to think that people at Google always checks carefully sites applying for Adsense.

    You may delete the url from my message before posting, but please have a quick check at this spammer:
    which has a link to my site, as if a directory entry, but the description contained therein has nothing to do with my site, or any of the sites on this page, or on any pages of the said site.

    It links to some sites well performing in Google SERPs with descriptions of its own choice. And all descriptions are simply the variations of the same thing. I am sure you will find it interesting.

    Thank you for maintaining an open channel for webmasters, professionals or novinces alike.

  50. The main complaints I read here and at many forums are by people who are frustrated by the fact that their site isn’t showing in the top 10 or 20 of searchresults. They forget the fact that only 10 sites can be listed in the top 10 and they blame everybody else for their misfortune.

    The main problems I see a searcher (and not as a websiteowner) are
    – directories showing in the top positions, I did not search for a directory and don’t wan’t to click to that directory to find the real sites I’m looking for
    – many listings for the same content (same site or mirrors) showing in the top posistions
    – hijacked sites still showing in the serp’s
    – irrelevant sites showing in the serps ; some kind of sites (like real estate) should only be shown if searched by locality or region

    – sites with large amounts of backlinks are most probably using unwanted techniques
    – start a more close relation with DMOZ, human screening of sites is IMO a much better way to validate sites [the current DMOZ is not optimal but is the best there is on the net at this moment]
    – offer extra search options (exclude commercial sites, use geo-information)

  51. I definitely agree with the comment in the beginning about the use of dmoz. There is too much corruption going on in dmoz to make it in any way a trustable source. I know there are still many trustable editors in dmoz, but I am sure there are too many that make a very good living out of adding sites to dmoz.

    I wonder what is worse, the on-page spam, the on-server spam techniques, or the link spamming? Seems to me that cloaking is easy to detect, just set up an office somewhere under a different name and get a huge internet connection to it. Then start crawling the net from there as a normal user, and compare with cached pages. (Perhaps a simple way of looking at it but shouldn’t be too complicated to recognize cloaking)

    On-page spamming, you already know how to recognize that. I just wonder how much algoritmic detection is done and how many people Google has working to do manual detection.

    Link spamming seems to be easier to detect too now.

    Leaves me with one worry,… the historical data algorithms. Now that the spammers have had almost 2 years to have aged domains, are they still as effective?

  52. I think there’s still room for improvement in the detection of doorway pages with hidden content and sneaky JavaScript redirects: 90% of the spam I see in Google’s index is just like that.

  53. One problem that seems not to be able to be found easily is when people have one or two real websites that are supported by literally hundreds of small doorway sites. Unlike some other opinions, I think having a few multiple sites when you’re a real estate agent for a large area is very called for. For instance, one of my clients is a developer/marketer and about half of the resort projects have to have their own website to please the owners. Any agent that deals with a big city probably needs several sites dedicated to important neighborhoods or housing projects too. But purchasing hundreds of domain names, or even 20 or so is usually just spam.

    Homepage links are a blessing in that they are much easier to check.
    Since we are held responsible for linking to sites that that are “bad neighborhoods” then we feel it necessary to check the links periodically to see how the sites look. I would much rather see a site that has a bunch of links at the bottom of the homepage than all these sites that make 50 page directories and put up links like they are DMOZ or something. Most of the SEO companies and even the well known real estate website companies are now making a small fortune charging these hapless agents by the month to email and beg for links from every other agent that has a good site. At least those of us who do our own (homepage or not) KNOW the other agents we are dealing with.

    And DMOZ should be eliminated, amen. I’d love to see Google have their own great human run directory, and what better way to monitor site quality than you all looking at every site to verifiy its validity?
    Charge us for the priviledge, and if we make the grade, then it should give us a boost in the SERPS cause you now know the site is a good one.
    You may get ragged on by the ones that can’t make a decent site, but it would be great for those of us who work our butts off!

    Myrtle Beach

  54. Here’s two Matt:

    1) Please stop allowing hacker sites to fill up G with duplicates of legitimate pages using their tools like nph-proxy, go.php etc.

    You say that because these redirects go supplemental they don’t harm the listings of the legitimate pages. But my experience proves the opposite.
    I had 30 pages targetted in this way and each one plummeted in the BigDaddy serps.

    I’ve filed spamreports about the offending sites (3 times pre and post Jagger) but the illegal redirecting urls are still in G, and our pages still penalised because of them.

    Please do what you can to stop this happening Mate.


    2) As a website owner I’m infuriated to find illegal copies of pages from my site in Google. Filing DMCAs is time consuming, both Goggle Staff’s and mine.

    It would be great if you could initiate some form of Google tag that copyright owners could give to those who they grant legitiamte usage.
    So webpages lacking the tag will be spotted by Gbot as illegal and removed from the index automatically. This will save your DMCA Staff a lot of work.

  55. Well I’d like Google to tackle Google Bowling.

    We are ‘officially’ releasing a website and magazine version in about a months time (it’s been online 2 months) and we have become a target of Google Bowling even before we have started! Obviously this is the plan of whoever is doing this.

    Looking at the stats all links are coming from pharma and other spam sites.

    Is this going to be the end of our website? Do we have any hope or do we just roll over and die?

    Is there any protection against this sort of attack?

    There has to be a way for Google to combat this.

  56. Matt,
    despite all your good work and good intentions here, i sometimes get the impression spam is not always taken seriously.

    What did Jagger 1 , 2 and 3 really do ? Many sites that got banned after they were reported using the jagger keyword in it, got relisted after only 3 weeks while the cloaking is still in place.
    Sites i’ve never seen before that carry hidden text and/or links suddenly pop up in top positions.
    There’s just too many sites that are getting away with it and what’s the risk if they get caught ? Some rebuild other sites and use the very same deception again and again and if that doesn’t work, then there’s always Adwords to get found again.

    A banned site should be banned, remained banned and dissallowed in Adwords. Send a warning to the site owner and/or SEO if applicable that the very same thing will happen to ALL of their sites if Google finds more spam on their other sites.
    Set the exemples and show them to the world. Tell about it on Google’s homepage so all people will know about it (i think there’s only a small percentage of people who have ever read the guidelines) and see how clean the Web will become in a while.

    Just MHO

  57. Where do I start?

    1. I’m tired of seeing search engine results, shopping / comparison engine results and eBay results in the natural search engine results. This muddies your results. I know of noone who wants to see those results. If they do they certainly know how to go to those sites directly and use them.

    2. Page rank needs to go away. Or at least not be considered in the algo. If you removed PR as a value in the algo, the results will naturally improve because people would not be able to purchase or sell links based upon a perceived PR increase. As long as you have this, you’ll have people like Massa, TLB and others trying to game your system.

    3. Anchor text should be required to more closely match the title of the Web page the link points to. This would eliminate the Google Bombing we’ve seen with “miserable failure” and others. Links created for the purpose of hurting someone’s site or reputation would simply not work. Getting tons of varying anchor text links to the home page for the purpose of increase PR to the home page and thereby the internal pages would be eliminated. This would then cause those links to be more evenly distributed throughout the Web site which was the initial intention of the Google founders.

    4. Can’t emphasize more the demise of DMOZ and their poor quality. Dump them.

    5. Start a paid review directory. If a site meets more than one category add it automatically to those categories, once it qualifies. Then your paid reviewers can have quality control measures. If the site is not listed in the paid directory then it has no right to be in the organic results competing with the other honest site owners. Honest being defined as those who legitimately qualified to be in the paid directory.

    6. Dump sites using doorway created for the sole purpose of mirroring dynamic content. Google’s able to index dynamic content fairly easily these days and the use of doorway pages only muddies the results.

    7. Devalue sites whose domain registration information is not visible. Domain registrars should be masking email addresses not the entire registrant, administrator or technical contact information. This can aid Google in determining if a domain network has been setup to game the SERPs. Obviously if a company has multiple domain names and they link to each other on every page, that is a link scheme and against the quality guidelines. Owning such a network should be grounds for immediate devaluation. But currently, they can hide behind annonymous registration information.

    8. Hire me as a quality evaluator. 🙂

  58. I see you’ve got a lot of opinions and suggestions, some good, some terribly selfish, some just plain bad.

    Here are some of my webspam recommendations:

    1 – DMOZ Scrappers
    There are hundreds or thousands of sites that are scrapping the DMOZ directory itself to create their “own”. As a result, once you get listed in DMOZ, links to your site begins popping up all over the web. They are easy to spot, they should be easy to be algo removed.

    2 – Ban AND Cancel
    If you ban a domain which is using AdSense, you should also Cancel their AdSense account, or at the very least suspend it. When it’s owner logs in to their account, they’ll find out what’s happened and be able to either:
    a) Correct their misbehavior or
    b) Cancel that account

    3 – Subdomain Spam
    I really, really get spam annoyed when I do a search and get “” – Subdomains should be entirely 100% independent from the main site. Why would someone openning an account with, say and his account is now have a better shot at SERPS that someone opening an account with another site with much less PR? It should only account for what that subdomain actually contains and what links point to it, NOT because it belongs to a high PR site.

    4 – AdSense Quality Control
    It took me nearly 4 months to amount enough earnings in AdSense to pass the $100 mark. A spammer probably does it in a couple of weeks after starting up. I would do here something very nifty:
    – Search your AdSense accounts for duplicates. Don’t make the match against names and emails (the usual), make it against:
    a) Physical addresses – It would be highly unusual to have 2 different persons in the same house earning AdSense – 30 different people… hmm
    b) Password match – 50 AdSense accounts with the password “california” is quite usual. 50 AdSense accounts with a password combination of characters and numbers is not. It is my experience that spammers in general have a very good sense of security, therefore, they create longer and more complicated passwords so that no one hacks their account and steals their earnings. However, having 50 AdSense accounts with the password “006zHE27klj” is an obvious indication that they belong to the same person or group of.
    c) Bank account match – very easily spotted…
    – Have a manual review quality control team – aided with strong tools at their disposal – flag sites that need to be checked or verified. New sites with thousands of pages or links overnight. I’m sure you can come up with other means of adding flags and placing thresholds, so that their work is as productive as possible.

    5 – Expired / Parked pages
    I should ONLY encounter this if I search for an specific site, and it no longer exists, or it’s under indefinite “under construction”. I really, REALLY don’t want to see them when I run a search…

    6 – Update & Clear Google’s Cache
    I haven’t seen it mentioned very much, but it happens based on my observations. A not so familiar method of spamming the site consists of leaving orphan pages in the index. Say you link to page1.htm and page2.htm on your site. After a month or 2 of being indexed, you no longer link to them from ANYWHERE, but they still exist nonetheless. It will get to a point where GoogleBot doesn’t visit the page anymore. That way, you’ve actually spammed the index, left the bait or doorway page in, and then, you’ve cleaned up your act. No penalties, no nothing, and you still got some of the old methods working for you (even if you actually truly cleaned up or not). Easy fix: Update GoogleBot to revisit any page it hasn’t updated in at least 9 or 12 months, and reindex it. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Discard the 404’s, update those with 301’s, 302’s and other forms of redirects, and update the cache of the page. If the page still exists fine, let it be. If not, remove it. I really don’t want to see any more 404’s in my SERPS for this year…

    Hope you got to read this, and let’s get G’s engineers to work!

  59. Not sure whether this qualifies as “spam” or “low search quality”, but it really disappoints me when I click on a search result only to find a page filled with Overture sponsored listings (no useful content at all, just ads).

  60. Matt: some of the posts above are libellous and I’m surprised at your giving them houseroom. Claims that there is widespread corruption in Dmoz is all too common on SEO forum, but it is an urban myth. The idea is propagated by those who cannot get their sites listed and/or have been removed for abusive editing.

    Time and time again a frustrated submitter will suspect foul play when in fact their site does not meet Dmoz guidelines and has been rejected by an editor who has no connection with the submitter’s field. People add two and two and get 15.

    The Dmoz top brass will remove abusive editors as soon as they are reported/spotted. The percentage is actually fairly small. Most editing is done by a few hundred dedicated senior editors.

    However I have been delighted to see many useless Dmoz clones vanishing from Google. The Google Directory adds value by ordering listings by PR. Many other clones add nothing except advertising and/or links for the link popularity effect.

  61. Hey Matt,
    Take out that sword and find some way of cutting all those MFA Made for Adsense sites from the index. MFA Pollution.

    Google has created it’s own nightmare, by not having some sort of quality check before allowing webmasters to create sites that only exist for the purpose of serving up ads, and add nothing of value to the searcher. Scrapers, Content Thieves, Information sites that provide no information, and on, and on. These webmasters are polluting the internet with garbage created just to make money off PPC, and are doing so with Googles stamp of approval, by allowing the ads to be displayed on their sites.

    Come On Matt, you showed off your sword, are you prepared to use it?
    Google needs to add a team to its Adsense group that does nothing but approve and disapprove of sites, to provide some sort of quality to the program. If a MFA site is found, the site should be sliced from the index, and the Adsense account that is using the site to display ads, the account should be sliced from the program. This may seem kinda harsh, but it is the only way I can see to curb the rampant abuse of the adsense program, and the unbelieveable number of MFA sites already created, and being created every day.


  62. Matt,

    I agree about about nuKing DMOZ.

    I disagree about having homepage links to other real estate sites. I do not really have any on my site, but do have many agents across the country linking to my site for their users from their homepages. I am not linking to them from my home page or others. That is not my understanding of a link farm.

    They link to mine because it is one of the only sites that has a MLS search of all islands in hawaii on one site. Plus it is easier to use.

    If RE agents provide more information for their users they will come back to their sites. Selling real estate here in Hawaii, I have people coming from all over the country. U.S. service men and women, people retiring, just to live here or buy second homes. I have several sites that I am on their home page that send allot of traffic. Last month: – 9,611 visitors, – 3,223 visitors, – 2,150 visitors, 1,201 visitors, – 1,100 visitors, – 1,125. There are more too.

    I had over a 140 sales last year and 80% of the clients come from the mainland from sites like these sending referrals.

    It is no different than a shoe site having links to shoe lace sites and shoe repair from their home page.

    People buying and selling real estate are on the move all over the country and if real estate agents want to link to other qaulity sites for the users they should be able to. That is what the internet is for. Helping people find information.

    Have a great weekend!! Every one try to relax a bit.


    Big Daddy!

  63. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the opportunity to have a real voice in Google’s future, very PC… Here’s my 2cents:

    Sub-Domains: Why is it that my site can have 2 pages listed in any serps result, but if I use sub-domains instead of folders I can have unlimited listings? IMO if the limit of 2 places was expanded to include sub-domain pages, the legitimate use of sub-domains would still be worthwhile but the benefit to spammers would be gone.

    DMOZ: Yes it’s biased, but ANY “people powered directory” is going to be biased to a certain extent; even a “neutral” directory run by Google would be subject to bias depending on a reviewer’s personal preferences. Oh – and I don’t want to have to start paying Google $300.00 for each of my sites to get ranked; some people just can’t afford this sort of outlay – does that make their sites less relevant? Obviously not! The answer? Stick with DMOZ but “encourage” them (perhaps even lend them a hand) to clean up their act.

    Adult: PR Capping for adult sites gives rise to a whole series of other problems; targetting non-adult terms isn’t always done to fool surfers, more often it’s done to fool SE’s. Adult webmasters are no more BH than non-adult, anyone who says different is just ignorant & jumping on a popular bandwagon! The fact is that PR capping has encouraged adult WM’s to create “stealth sites” in order to try to “level the playing field”. The historical reasons for the PR capping are fairly obvious and – to some extent – reasonable (based on the state of the www in 1995) – now they’re just creating problems of their own. Don’t wait for the “xxx” TLD, why not just use a metatag (content rating for example), instruct the industry to use them by “X date”; mark adult sites in your serps – so those which bypass the adult filter are still obvious – (rate them as “X” – may contain adult content; “XX” – does contain adult content; “XXX” – 100 adult content); ask surfers to report adult sites which weren’t marked up in the serps (and remove them from your index until they have added the tags and requested reinclusion).
    That will stop the “stealth” adult sites without penalising people for selling lingerie alongside other clothing and without penalising people trying to offer legal products to people of legal age who want to buy them!

    Penalties: I see some people asking for stronger penalties / permanent bans etc etc… The death penalty is uncivilised and immoral. No matter how careful, you will always end up killing an innocent person (ignorance isn’t a crime) and people must ALWAYS have the opportunity to “go straight” once they’ve grown up; giving them no alternative just encourages them to start again under another false name and be more clever next time!
    The approach I would prefer is this: IF a site is being subjected to a cap/ban/filter for ANY reason, why not make that information freely available to the webmaster in the results?
    That would stop the endless guessing games, conjecture, rumour spreading, wasted time, ignorance, frustration and “google bashing”, whilst simultaneously educating webmasters and would gradually “encourage” the entire SEO world to follow google quality guidelines… what could be better than that?

    Thanks again for the voice :o)


    Maybe 2006 is the time for google to start doing much more human review of the google SERP.

    When I search for a free game online, that is what I want, a free game, what I don’t want is a bunch of sites in the SERP that link to free online games and/or show me google ads about free games…

    When I search for specific information on any subject, I would like to find information on that subject, not just a bunch of google ads wanting to sell me the information that I can get for free… on another search engine.

    From where I sit Matt, all your spam fighting efforts have hurt the RELEVANCE of the google SERP. Ya, your getting rid of some of the search engine SPAM, but google’s relevance has been hurt badly along the way.

    Of course, google does not need to be as relevant as other search engines right now, google is the current darling of the main stream media. One of these days the media spotlight will fade from google and it will come back down to what search engine has the most relevant SERP and best user experience and that aint good for google, at least right now.

    FYI – In the very limited tests we have just ran, users prefer a list of human reviewed sites over a list of (google) algo generated sites 8 to 1 (in the double blind tests users did not know where the lists came from). Not looking too good for google’s current algo…

  65. Matt – I think feedback 06 is great.

    What if –

    The Spam Report was better staffed so that nearly every site reported could actually get looked at by a human. Then take the data of all those sites whether they were banned, pushed back or cleared to create the new algo’s.

    Maybe this is already happening to some extent, and if it is then maybe a better communication solution can be put inplace. Both to notify the web site owners they have been reported of spam, and some sort of feedback to the one reporting it.

    I think one of the problems is webmasters feel like they are in the dark. If their site gets banned they don’t know why, and if they report a site that is a head of them that is clearly spamming they don’t know why the site in question never gets removed or pushed back. They feel like a review never even takes place and they continue seeing a site a head of them that clearly should not be there.

    What if a letter of spam nitification is sent out. I have seen in the smaller sectors that a lot of sites have spam techniques placed by the web/seo firm that was hired not by the business owner. There are millions of oblivious online business owners especially in GEO Targeted sectors that have no clue what spam is. Maybe if they were notified and asked who did their site, or you could look at their links out bound or in bound and probably find the site taking recognition for it. Then watch them as well. I just don’t want to see a Mom and Pop that is trying their hardest get spanked. A solution to pursue and watch the firms would be much more effective in the long run.

    I would be willing to give my email or google username in order to report a spammer.

    Also I think a human edited – paid directory instituted by Google is an awesome idea. If a site doesn’t make it they get a long list of why’s. However they don’t get their money back requiring site owners to try and make their site clean prior to submission. And if a listing occurs some sort of ranking increase happens as well. Except I don’t know about increasing rankings too dramatically on a site that is included because there are sites that might not know about the directory that are the most relevant.

    Maybe the Google Directory can help new sites get released from the sand box in a more timley fashion.

    It seems highly relevant good practicing sites get no love if they are brand new, and that older domains can get away with a lot more spam.



  66. Problems with DMOZ, as viewed by someone whose sites are listed in DMOZ.

    1. Lack of real quality control.

    2. Continual linking to dis-continued or dead sites. People don’t surf DMOZ to find sites any longer so noone knows about the problem unless an editor applicant points out the problem.

    3. Failure to communicate with the people whom they deny. By having the editors fill in a form by simply checking the failed points, submitters will know their site was reviewed. To DMOZ this is simply too much for the editor to do.

    So, again dump DMOZ simply because Google and Yahoo can do it better. I would think it would be more beneficial for Google to start their own paid directory than to recommend people sign up for Yahoo’s.

  67. I thought this discussion was how to eliminate spam in Google? “I’m most interested in hearing what people think Google should tackle in webspam”. It seems to have turned into a SEO bashing of Dmoz. What purpose is this bashing in this discussion – other then to prove the need for the ODP.

    I agree that Google needs to work with, say the ODP, to scan sites/listings for validity. Many searches turn up non-related sites. It seems like the googlebots are tricked by hidden text, spammy keywords, and descriptions.

  68. If Google ever needed any evidence that they should keep using DMOZ, its all provided above in the comments. As long as webmasters and SEO’s are unhappy that DMOZ is not meeting their SEO needs and can not be manipulated by SEO’s for there needs, then that is all the information Google needs to keep using it!!!

    The extent of corruption in DMOZ is a myth made up in SEO forums (the very people who are unhappy they can’t use DMOZ for their SEO puproses!!). All I see is a chorus of people repeating after each other (and saying it above) “DMOZ is corrupt” …. but none of them provide any evidence… duh?

    If Google wants less SERP’s manipulation by SEO’s, then the only way they are going to get it is throught the use of directories like DMOZ.

    DMOZ is not perfect, but it is the best there is.

  69. Definitely dump DMOZ. Stop propping it up and you’ll make everybody happy – DMOZ because there would be no reason for webmaster to keep submitting sites they apparently don’t want to know about and they could then get on with whatever theheck it is they do in peace – the rest of the world because no one would have to care about the whims of DMOZ editors influencing site ranking.

  70. I should have also added, that spam could be better defeated by giving more weight to a DMOZ listing. If, what is argued above and DMOZ is given less or no weight, then the spam will get worse!!!

    For eg, if I search for “Hotel name” “City name”, I want that hotel in that city… not a pile of SEO’d affiliate spam booking sites. – giving extra weight to DMOZ regional listings will move these sites up.

  71. Reported a good couple of sites with hidden content full of nice and juicy keywords and they were after a month removed from googles results (I was well impressed, honestly thought no-one ever done anything about the spam reports) but to my dismay they have all now re-appeared a month or two later back at their usual spot. 🙁

    Just makes me think whats the point!! why bother reporting this obvious black hat technique, heck I might as well fill our site with hidden content to aid in our search results knowing if I get found out the site will be back in the resuts in about 2 months time like the rest.

    Still impressed with the speed of the reaction to my spam report but was it worth me even bothering?

    Love the blog Matt, definate favourite of mine, so keep on with the good work!



    Forgot to mention that these sites have re-appeared in the results and still have hidden text, fair enough if they had removed the hidden text then I’d have nothing to complain about and good for them, but unfortunately the text is still there nice and hidden from the normal web user.

  73. Wayne Said,
    January 6, 2006 @ 4:55 pm

    “To point out another issues is the creation of similar sites for the same industry keywords only to manipulate the serps. More and more Realtors are creating multiple sites in order to create nothing more than backlinks. Most of these sites offer the same information …just reworded or create junk adsense sites to create relevance for linking to their primary site / sites. Why create other sites for the same Realtor? If there is new information that needs to be offered why is it not added to the already existing site.”

    Is this a rhetorical question you are asking yourself? You seem to have at least five Las Vegas sites of your own (your cell number is the contact phone number on almost all of these), and only one of these sites seems to be a specialty site covering a specific neighborhood while the rest do contain much the same information:,,, and All but one of these seems to be linked to each other on their homepages as well as to your other sites at,, and

    Wayne Said,
    January 6, 2006 @ 4:55 pm

    “Being in Real Estate, I can tell you placing those homepage links to other real estate sites have no value for the consumer, those are only meant to manipulate Google serps. I have links to other agents in other states we have done business with but they are placed on interior pages in the appropriate category. Consumers do have a need for real estate agents in other states but they have no value on your homepage. When a consumer hits your homepage they are looking for information about that subject matter in your area not that subject in another state.”

    Are you saying that the homepage links on these sites are only meant to manipulate Google serps?,,,,, and

    Wayne Said,
    January 6, 2006 @ 4:55 pm

    “Remove within Googles ranking algo the age factor of a domain.”

    Is this because most of the above sites that have not been banned are newer?

    My own feeling is that having specialty sites and neighborhood specific sites in real estate is certainly valid as they can address certain segments of the market much more thoroughly and consumers do not have to scroll through lots of extraneous information to get to what they are really looking for. High rise condos are certainly quite different than golf course homes or vacant land or regular residential real estate. It is also provable that home page links do play a valuable roll in referring clients directly to a specific agent in an area and are meant as a means of deriving income from cities not covered. I have personally closed more than 30 transactions this year just from my referring agents – to me this is a VERY valuable resource (most real estate agents do not even close 30 transactions in a whole year). And while there are many good newer sites out there, definitely a site that has been around a while has proved its value and should reap the benefit and newer sites must pay their dues. All sites were new at one point in time.

    Matt, your thoughts on all of this? Because no matter what we all think, yours is the voice that counts!

  74. Hmm, let me look back at, say, the last 100 new submissions that I looked at over at the ODP.

    About 30 were for sites that were 404/gone; the newest was only 2 months old, the oldest about 18 months. So, who the hell do you feedback here? There is no site, so there is no-one to feedback.

    Another 7 or 8 were parked domains, or hijacked content. You really want us to tell the hijacker that we noticed the hijacking? Do you think that the hijacker ISN’T aware of what he has done? As for parked domains, why waste time talking to a registrar or host, delete the listing and move on: the original content is NOT going to be restored on the site.

    About 15 submissions were made to the wrong category, and so they were forwarded to a better one. They might be rviewd by an editor there tomorrow or may sit for months or years. I have no idea who edits that category, so I am not going to send any feedback to a submiter promising anything at all.

    Only 11 or 12 submissions were listable, so they are listed. I have no idea if the owner, an employee, a friend, an SEO, a customer, or some random surfer submitted the site; and it doesn’t matter. The site is listed. No point in any feedback. All that will do is open a channel where someone wants the title or description changed. No time for that conversation, I want to look at other sites for review.

    The rest of the 100 sites were all deceptive spam, including deeplinks, mirror sites, duplicates, redirects, vanity domains, and so on. No way am I telling the spammer that I am on to his multiple domain scheme. That would be a complete waste of my time. The spammers already know that they were spamming. They can be left guessing for eternity as to what has been discovered and what has been left for later review, and the more they submit, the more evidence I collect that gets all of their submissions pushed into the bit-bucket.

    There was not one rejection where the site owner would have a legitimate reason for being told that the submission was rejected; I think that the 10 000 threads at Resource Zone (all archived for your edification) amply demonstrated that such feedback could only help spammers to spam better. It won’t happen again.

  75. I would like to see Google taking some actions agains the spammers who create 20-30 sites, selling exactly the same products, just to get more and more backlinks.

    Look at these:
    —— (there are about 35 of these) —–

    All of these sites are selling exactly the same products. They are all interlinked together and all pointing to the main site,

    All of these sites are using the same CMS with slightly different templates.

  76. Private Message and Apology to Matt – Sorry Matt, after six different people emailed and/or called me to let me know “Wayne” was sniping at me again, I got irked and submitted my previous comment in this thread without even reading your original post about just sending in constructive ideas and not mentioning specific web sites. I usually just ignore Wayne, but every once in a while he gets to me. 🙂 In this case I figured he could only look like an idiot after what he wrote and I was only hoping to shut him up for a while! LOL

  77. My suggestion for 2006 would be to take a good hard look at key information industries and start adjusting top 10 or 20 results based purely on quality. The SEO industry is becoming so grey, there are a load of really crap sites out there ranking past offical, authoritative sites.

    While in some industries this isn’t a huge deal, there are areas where random made-for-SEO sites are offering poor information to searchers (whereas authoritative sites could offer a much higher quality of information).

    I’d suggest soliciting the services of industry professionals to review the results for their own industries. For example, student loan advice shouldn’t be given by some guy churning out websites from his bedroom – it should be provided by academic, government and financial institutions, and search results should reflect that.

    Kill the ability for low quality sites to rank on high traffic terms (there are many other keyword markets that could be targeted fairly) and at least that will raise the perceived quality of the SERPs and / or encourage webmasters to put quality ahead of SEO.

  78. In the interest of being fair and giving you unbiased feedback, Matt, I have intentionally not read any other comment on here.

    So…if someone else has said these things already, forgive me (both Matt and the original poster).

    First and foremost, what I’d like to see tackled is what I call “Bicycle Wheel Link Spam”. That’s where you have one or two sites in the middle and the rest of the sites, like spokes, link to one or two of the other spokes and also to the middle sites.

    I’ve sent you a private post in this regard with a specific example (in the Text Link Followup Post, near the end) that I won’t bring up here.

    Second, sites that use the noframes tag to spam. I haven’t put a private post in, but I could. (Also, I plan on reporting it from the BigDaddy update spam report thing.)

    That’s about all I have right now.

  79. One other thing: there should be a way to report spammy sites that have a PR of some sort that we may not necessarily be able to find quickly under a search engine.

    Take these idiots for example:

    Hover over the “SEO Services” link on the left side of the page (about halfway down).

    Granted, right now it’s not too likely they’ll get found. But enough IBLs and some aggressive SEO (which they’ve clearly shown they’re not afraid to use) and guess what? You’ve got an entrenched spammer that’s screwed with your SERPs and gotten away with it.

    Nail them early and often and they’re less of a problem (if any) down the road.

  80. One example that comes to mind is web hosting — I recently tried using Google to find a new host, but most of the “reviews” and “directories” I came across were the bucolic fabrications of web hosting companies themselves, most of whom had bad spelling and at least 10 domains with the word “host” in the title. I was left with only my considerable spelling talents to separate out who was biased and who wasn’t.

    I’ll save you some time.

    If it’s IIS-based hosting you want, Sectorlink. Linux-based, HostGator. I’ve used the former for almost 4 years now, and the latter for a few months (well, my GF’s dad has). Top-notch support on both ends, and Sectorlink hasn’t gone down a second since July 2003.

    The only problem with Sectorlink is that every other employee (including the owner, I think) is named Jason. But I look at that as being better than some kid in his folks’ basement.

    Before you ask, I don’t have anything to do with them other than as a customer. I’m not even in their country. I just think these guys are the best of the best, and having been ripped off and having seen customers ripped off too many times by subpar hosts, this is my little way to fight back against it.

  81. I’d like to see some more feedback from google when reporting spam sites.

    When reporting that a site has scraped all content from your site, the response is “Yes, we can see that, but it’s not our problem”, this is hardly encouraging.

    If people can’t get a reasonable response for spam sites scraping their own content, then why should they report sites who violate the T&C in other ways?

    I appreciate that google must get a lot of email, but if you’re asking us to report spam sites, then at least indicate that it’s worth us doing so.

  82. Matt: some of the posts above are libellous and I’m surprised at your giving them houseroom. Claims that there is widespread corruption in Dmoz is all too common on SEO forum, but it is an urban myth. The idea is propagated by those who cannot get their sites listed and/or have been removed for abusive editing.

    Any time I’ve had a site submitted to DMOZ, it’s been listed, eventually. So this is not from someone who can’t get his sites listed. I’ve even had a couple listed that I never submitted.

    The problem with DMOZ is that it simply isn’t maintained properly. The search doesn’t work, the layout is difficult for the average user to navigate, regionalized content is buried so deeply that no one wants to dig down and find it, and there are dead links everywhere. Not to mention the fact that the layout hasn’t been updated since Noah climbed up on a mountaintop and started reading 10 different rules off that we’re all supposed to follow.

    Meanwhile, DMOZ editors are busy defending it with ad hoc remarks such as “DMOZ isn’t a service for webmasters” and “DMOZ doesn’t have corrupt editors” and things like that, with a level of elitism normally reserved for social gatherings where old women with big hair and bigger dresses sit beside their bald-headed pompous husbands and eat rare birds that none of us have even heard of for about $500 a plate.

    That’s the problem with DMOZ.

  83. I miss the way Google used to display the (DMOZ? Google dir version? can’t remember which it was) category under sites that were listed in the directory. It was helpful when searching for this that are/were highly spammed like hotel sites or entertainment information (info about a movie, say, or an actor), areas where low content, high crap sites tend to swamp the search results. Having the categories show up allowed people to go directly to those categories instead of having to weed through poor search results to find related sites. For much of the geographic categories and things like Arts and Health, the categories in DMOZ are usually pretty decent on any given subject.

  84. Matt,

    To say I would appreciate it if you would check this out would be a gross understatement.

    I’ve found someone who is all over Google and Blogger. With 400,000 Blogs! He claims he can create them faster than you can delete them! 5,000/day! Claims to be able to change your No Follow to Follow with no difficulty at all! Eliminates the flag on a Blogger site. Oh heck, he’s got 22 points that all explain exactly how to make Blogger about useless. Please, please check this out!


  85. For a start I would say that Google are the best at handling spam but lately things have started to fail just a little.

    I’ve noticed duplicate sites, ie: and appearing on the same page of search results. This is not something I would expect from Google and there seems no reponse from the spam reports that go in about this problem.

    As far as the ODP is concerned, don’t even think about severing ties with this unique and valuable link to credible content. What Google should do if anything is take it over and try to improve on it.

  86. Just a comment on the blogger / spam thing:

    Foremost for me is that third level domains should not in any way gain or any PR (or whatever the internal measure system is) from being part of a domain. A third level domain is, effectively, just another domain. Each blogger page should be treated as a new domain. It should be forced to fend for itself and gain it’s own relevance and score, not just getting a gift.

    As a bonus, this would eliminate much of the PR stealing spam that comes from picking up a PR4 or PR5 domain, maintaining the main page, and creating thousands of third level domains full of spam, which all seem to profit from the root domains’ ranking.

    I also think that google might want to get tougher on places like blogger… if you know that a domain is being infested with spam, why not just stop giving SERPs to those sites for a while? Blogger might work harder to clean up it’s act if the bloggers on their sites were a little more upset.


  87. I too would NOT like to see DMOZ listing parameters removed from the algo.

    Each of our DMOZ listing was earned on merit, and valued.

    Better to simply remove the DMOZ cats where corruption has been proven and not yet corrected.

    Baby and bathwater… whoops where’s Junior?

  88. Diann Said,
    January 7, 2006 @ 6:49 pm

    QUOTE:I usually just ignore Wayne, but every once in a while he gets to me. In this case I figured he could only look like an idiot after what he wrote and I was only hoping to shut him up for a while! LOL: QUOTE

    Diann or your friend Jan in Myrtle Beach, I will try to keep this on thread theme but yet answer your questions. Please allow me Matt as it will prove a point of something Google should address so please be patient.

    Please a couple of questions though, explain the criteria for becoming a member of your link farm? How did you all come to link with eachother, be careful, remember the value of old emails. How well do most of you rank in Google..all of you in top 10 for most of your primary keywords?

    Now if these homepage links have income and consumer value as you state, why keyword stuff the links? Why not use the Agents Name and City, instead of city plus real estate, or city plus homes or city plus condos but mostly city plus real estate. Such as this from your homepage and you can find links to the same people with the same or different anchor text on multiple pages of your domains at as well as the same link structure and keyword stuffing from their sites. Lets not also forget that several sites in Myrtle Beach, Sarasota, Hawaii, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, California and a few others all belong to the same agent / webmaster. So why multiple links from your Sites / Directories if they go to the same agent?

    Here is a sampling from your main domain

    Preferred Agents from around the Country!

    Myrtle Beach Real Estate
    Myrtle Beach Condos for Rent
    Myrtle Beach Preconstruction Condos
    Myrtle Beach Golf Vacations
    Myrtle Beach Golf Packages
    Myrtle Beach Condos-Houses
    Preconstruction Real Estate
    New Myrtle Beach Condos
    Preconstruction Real Estate
    Real Estate Web Design
    Myrtle Beach Hotels
    Relo Experts
    RE Guide USA
    Cobb and Fulton County Ga Real Estate
    Tucson Real Estate
    Myrtle Beach Vacation
    Miami Real Estate
    Boca Raton Real Estate
    Holden Beach Realty
    Ocean Isle NC Real Estate
    Sunset Beach NC Real Estate
    Oyster Harbour at Holden Beach
    River Bluff Estates at Holden Beach
    The Regency at Sunset Beach
    Calabash NC Real Estate
    Carolina Shores Real Estate
    Shallotte NC Real Estate
    Oak Island Realty
    Sunset Harbor Real Estate
    Oak Island NC Real Estate
    Caswell Beach Homesites
    Southport NC Real Estate
    Boiling Springs Lakes Real Estate
    Leland NC Real Estate
    St James Plantation Real Estate
    Bald Head Island Real Estate
    Brunswick County NC Real Estate

    Saskatoon Real Estate
    Orange County Real Estate
    Nantucket Real Estate
    Pensacola Real Estate
    Indianapolis Real Estate
    Maine and New Hampshire Real Estate
    Scottsdale Real Estate
    Sarasota Real Estate
    Sarasota Homes for Sale
    Sarasota-Siesta Homes and Condos
    Sarasota Florida Real Estate
    Phoenix Real Estate
    Sacramento Homes
    Oahu Hawaii Real Estate
    Maui Kauai Oahu Real Estate
    Vacation Home Mall
    Southern California Real Estate
    Orlando Real Estate
    Miami Beach Real Estate
    Calgary Canada Real Estate
    Austin Real Estate
    Pflugerville Real Estate
    San Jose Real Estate
    Nashville Real Estate
    Luxury Denver Real Estate
    Boca Raton Real Estate
    Boca Raton Homes for Sale
    Palm Beach Florida Real Estate
    Boca Raton Waterfront Real Estate
    Boca Raton Real Estate Agent
    Ocean Isle, Sunset, & Holden Beach Real Estate
    Houston Real Estate
    Utah County Real Estate
    Temecula Real Estate
    San Diego Homes
    Clearwater Florida Real Estate
    Minneapolis Real Estate
    Las Vegas Real Estate
    Canadian Real Estate
    Mortgage Rates

    Why Keyword Stuff all those links from your sites and theirs to the same agents/webmasters?

    When Google decides to give no weight to homepage links which offers nothing more than keyword stuffing, PR value, Relevancy Value and Anchor and Text Value whether yours, mine or anyone elses then search engines and consumers win because of the true relevancy factor.

    Homepage Recip linking is not a vote for a site. Recip links are on homepages because of the PR value, keyword stuffing and anchor text values are meant to manipulate search engines results. We all are guilty of acquiring recip links in order to try and boost our rankings. I too am guilty of doing this based off the advice of webmasters I have hired in the past before I lost a ton of money and decided to educate myself. This however is a flaw within the search engines as any site owner with $200 per month can acquire several hundred homepage links per month.

    A link is meant as a vote for a site according to the way I understand Googles patent. Link farms are nothing more than an attempt to manipulate rankings. Yahoo I believe has understood this and is attempting to correct this type of manipulation. Most of us know that links from a homepage offer greater PR values, keyword stuffing, text and relevancy values. All these are believe to be factors in ranking high in Google.

    Diann Said,
    January 7, 2006 @ 6:49 pm

    QUOTE:High rise condos are certainly quite different than golf course homes or vacant land or regular residential real estate. .QUOTE

    They are quite different, however it is all part of the same real estate market for the same agent. When Mortorola created their website, they didnt create a domain for every product they offered…NO, why should it be any different for real estate? Why would any real estate agent need to create several domains with the same information.

    An example: Greatlasvegashomes offers info on condos, golf homes and Henderson, so why do you need sites like and unless there is some underlying reason such as the creation of more links for your link partners / farm

    When a consumer hits a certain type of site they want all information pertaining to that type of search. Not a little bit on this site and a little bit on that site and having to click links back and forth between two, three, four or fifty different domains for the same agent with the same type info.

    This leads me to suggest that Google should place no value on links, relevancy or anyother seo benefit between domains that link to eachother from their homepage or Google should create a mapping tool that prevents the same person from creating multiple sites targeting the same information for the sole purpose of creating more backlinks.

    If Google told me to place nofollow tags or use an image banner with no keyword stuffing value, link value or relevancy value on any homepage links I would. Diann since you state links to other real estate agents in other cities have income value and are representing they are not there for any Seo benefit would you?

    QUOTE:It is also provable that home page links do play a valuable roll in referring clients directly to a specific agent in an area and are meant as a means of deriving income from cities not covered. QUOTE

    If it is for the income and valuable for the consumer why not place nofollow tags or an image banner or Maybe the Agents name and state they Practice in, instead of spiderable links that gives the homepage value for PR, Relevancy, Keyword Stuffing and Density?

    Until Google gives no weight to homepage links they will always be a means of trying to manipulate serps. I personally believe that because of the age of a site certain filters are overlooked by Google when it comes to an old site.

    As for the age of a site, older does not mean better. To many old sites as my collegue stated feel they have earn the right to sit at the top, yet most dont offer updated information other than a few sniplets here and there. I believe or hope that if Google puts in place their patent factors into the algo this will correct its self.

    The best way in my opinion Google can combat this is by giving more weight to large sites that regularly updated with more than a few minor changes per month from a blog post, footer change, Meta tag change or anything along that line and discounts the age factor of its algo.

  89. Just change the motto to “Don’t be evil” to “Google is Evil” and everything will be alright, at least your motto won’t be a lie!!!

    Any company making more than 100 million profit cannot do so without being evil, as long as the following equation is true….

    Profit = selling price – buying price.

    High profit can be achieved only by deceiving/misleading customers on the perceived value of products/services.

    Only mom&pop shops selling goods at fixed margin pass as honest business!

  90. Matt, this is a very good topic. My ideas:

    1. Regarding DMOZ: either use DMOZ, but then please use at the same level other human edited directories (even human edited link schemes), too; or give to DMOZ the same place that you give to other human edited directories and link schemes.

    There are thousands of good directories out there. DMOZ is just one of them, and in 99% – is the worst of them. The are a lot of on-topic directories, with much more accurate and good data than DMOZ. There are webmasters that are cooperating in link schemes between them like ants – not allowing “intruders”, such as p*** or crap sites to enter the scheme. Why then a link from DMOZ should be “smarter” than other?!

    2. “Cemented” pages on top positions: please save the web from those old, unchanged, even abandoned pages that are permanently staying in top positions. For MSN and recently Yahoo! is relatively easy to find in good positions new relevant websites. But not for Google! This is not good for you, in long run.

    Thank you

  91. Depend less on DMOZ because they are humans and humans are corruptible.


    Give less weight to sites that use a circle of domain names to falsely look popular.

  92. Hey Matt, Delete all the posts with “DMOZ”, and Everything Dealing with “Real Estate”, and you might find some useful suggestions.

    All of you DMOZ Flamers & Cheerleaders, BACK TO YOUR CAGES!! Back to WW’s Directory Forum!! BACK, BACK, (Snap, Crack, From the whip)

    Bike Builder

  93. Re: Real Estate agents spamming.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post . Real agents provide a service for their clients by referring them agents in other areas to help them buy and sell. This is a very common practice that beneifits the customer. Plus investors are looking in multiple areas.

    Having a link to another agent in another area on their home page or real estate directory is just another extension of agents tring to help their clients find a great agent to help them.

    Real estate agents spend millions on mailers, advertisements and mass emails to other agents tring to get referrals. It is just part of the business.

    Other agents link to me from their homepages and the ones that drive the most traffic are the banner ads. Unfortunatelty allot of site owners will only use text links as they think it looks cleaner and better describes the site for the user.

    It appears that Wayne and Diann have a personal issue going on and they should lighten up a bit! Why keep beating the same issue over and over and over!!

    If some people were a little nicer and networked with other agents. They might also have other agents wanting to refer their clients to them.

    Make it a happy day.

    Big Daddy!

  94. The problem with DMOZ is that it simply isn’t maintained properly. The search doesn’t work, the layout is difficult for the average user to navigate, regionalized content is buried so deeply that no one wants to dig down and find it, and there are dead links everywhere. Not to mention the fact that the layout hasn’t been updated since Noah climbed up on a mountaintop and started reading 10 different rules off that we’re all supposed to follow.

    (Gurgle!) Wittily put Adam. Essentially that’s why search engines were invented. Human review is time-consuming. A directory is high-maintenance. (Dmoz is better at QC than some I could name, but all directories get link rot, changed content isses, etc.) Plus a simple search box is quicker than browsing.

    But human review has its advantages too. Some people argue that we need more of it in the endless fight against spam. So it’s swings and roundabouts.

    [Sorry Bike Builder]

  95. Hi Matt,

    Google needs to make some sort of filter that can pick up the sites that are just repeating keywords over and over. Many of them are at the bottom and they use a color very close so you can barely see them. That would help eliminate some spam.

    Big Daddy!

  96. (Gurgle!) Wittily put Adam. Essentially that’s why search engines were invented. Human review is time-consuming. A directory is high-maintenance. (Dmoz is better at QC than some I could name, but all directories get link rot, changed content isses, etc.) Plus a simple search box is quicker than browsing.

    All of those things I would agree with in concept.

    The problem is that the issues that I’ve pointed out have very little to do with the “maintenance” of the directory (although I have issues with that as well). These are simple things that from a user point of view have never been addressed.

    Well…that’s not totally true. Google has managed to do a pretty good job of “skinning” the DMOZ listings and showing them as categories.

    I don’t have a problem with the idea of a human-edited directory influencing the SERPs in concept. It’s just that DMOZ isn’t a directory that satisfies said purpose anymore.

  97. Big Daddy Said,
    January 8, 2006 @ 8:54 am

    Re: Real Estate agents spamming.

    QUOTE:As I mentioned in my earlier post . Real agents provide a service for their clients by referring them agents in other areas to help them buy and sell. This is a very common practice that beneifits the customer. Plus investors are looking in multiple areas.

    Having a link to another agent in another area on their home page or real estate directory is just another extension of agents tring to help their clients find a great agent to help them. QUOTE

    I agree it can help to have links to other agents throughout the country but if a descriptive link is placed on the homepage to a section of the site that shows other agents in other States than it is IMO meant to facilitate business but homepage links as shown above do nothing but manipulate serps.

    Also as shown if you are using them for referrals what real estate agent refers business to another real estate agent in the same city with a different company or places the same agent with multiple anchor text on the homepage, hence Myrtle Beach, Sarasota, Hawaii, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida and California

    As I had said before IMHO if it is for referral / income producing why not place the agents name and company instead of keyword stuffing their homepage.

    Big Daddy Said,
    January 8, 2006 @ 8:54 am

    QUOTE:It appears that Wayne and Diann have a personal issue going on and they should lighten up a bit! Why keep beating the same issue over and over and over!!:Quote

    You are 100% right, after learning what I have over the last year I am tired of seeing people abuse the system. My apologies to Matt and the posters on this blog as I have allowed my collegue to rope me into this. In my defense I never mentioned Diann’s site by name and because of her actions I was forced to relay more information than I wanted to.

  98. Big Daddy is right – I was merely trying to make the point that EVERYTHING Wayne complains about, he does himself on all of his sites. So obviously he does not think it is wrong.

    I personally choose the sites I link to because of the value to the consumer as well as to obtain referrals.That’s just good business. Many of these are resort sites that appeal to my huge investor database, and I feel much more comfortable referring sites and agents I know rather than using Adsense or Overture feeds where I don’t know who my clients are being sent to. Some don’t even link back to me, but as long as they send me business they can stay on my home page. Unless of course Matt says otherwise! 🙂

    It would be so helpful Matt if you could comment on this! Again, a whole group of us covered with this with you at Pub Con and we all understood it the same way?

    (And just to set the record straight, Wayne actually listed my site by name in his January 2nd 10:11am post under “SEO Mistakes – not checking your site.” Until then I had ignored his previous posts entirely, even when they were obvious references to me. But I think enough has now been said on the subject.)

    Can Google tell how long someone stays on a site and relate it to the keyword search used to find the site? That would be a great way to tell who has a site that offers superior information rather than spam. (You would have to make sure you could do it by IP address otherwise competitors would repeatedly click on each other and then get right off again.) But if you could separate legitimate searches and see how long they stay on an average related to all other searches using the same exact keywords that would certainly be a way to tell what sites consumers find useful!

  99. Hi Matt,

    Let me start off by stating that “I am a Recovering Spammer”.

    I do agree with the assertion to dump DMOZ. My main reasoning comes from the fact that DMOZ results are stagnate due to the time (often years) for inclusion. Link updates are rare and “link rot” is the norm.

    No I am not a DMOZ flamer and yes I have sites included in the directory however, I am a former DMOZ editor that thinks ODP is far less relevant than it once was unfortunately.

    Real Estate Spam?
    Many of the techniques I mention in this post used to manipulate rankings are NOT unique to real estate webmasters and not all are used in an effort to intentionally spam.

    RE: Home Page Links
    I have probably been as guilty (or more so) when it comes to Home Page link abuse as anyone referenced in this thread. I have come to believe that they serve no purpose to the visitor. That is NOT to say that all real estate sites do this simply to manipulate the SERPs. Some do it simply out of ignorance and the fact that “everyone else is doing it”.

    (Let’s use some common sense here) If a visitor to a website got there by clicking on a link resulting from a search using “city +real estate” the visitor is NOT served by multiple Home page links to “a different city/state +real estate”. Surely if the visitor wanted information on that “city +real estate” he/she would have searched for it!

    Referrals are most certainly an important part of the real estate industry, but rarely occur resulting by someone clicking on “a different city +real estate” on a Home page. It is about as rare as “hen’s teeth”. If by some miracle a visitor lands on your Vermont website from a “California real estate” search and clicks on the Home Page link to your Vermont site and decides NOT to buy property in California, it is hard enough get real estate customers to remember what search engine they used let alone what home page link they clicked on. Your odds of winning the Power Ball are much better IMHO.

    A “Referral” page or section is far more practical to capture to visitor information and pass it to the agent in the other city/state. This insures that the referring agent gets a commission.

    Yahoo has implemented some type of filter/algorithm that penalizes sites with outgoing non-themed, site-wide and multiple Home page links. This was the determining factor that made me reassess my Home Page links and if they served my visitors or just a means for me to manipulate the SERPs.

    If a webmaster uses Home Page links in a misguided effort to serve his/her visitors, then just discount the links, resulting allinanchor text and pass no PR.

    RE: Multiple Real Estate Sites
    In many real estate markets Multiple Sites are needed to segregate property types/areas for websites to remain “themed”. I have a site that dropped in rankings from “city +real estate” when I added multiple condo and community pages. I can see why Google would be confused as to rather my sites theme is “city +real estate”, “city +condos” or “community +city”.

    Another example of multiple sites needed is when a Real Estate Team allows separate websites for their Agents. The individual Agents only receive revenue they generate. They are NOT salaried and need to promote their services via the Internet. Most states require all advertising of Licensed Real Estate Agents to disclose their Agency affiliation, office phone number and Brokers name. This legal requirement does create confusion with the search engines IMHO due to the fact that Agents with no “Team” affiliation seem to do better is the SERPs.

    RE: Aged Sites
    Although the “sandbox” is used to age sites before they rank, I have no real issue with Google giving weight to aged sites other than the aged sites should suffer the same penalties for spam and other transgressions as the newer sites.

    The ranking websites techniques for “city +state” are often copied mistakenly thinking that this is what Google is looking for. Most webmasters are unaware that spamming techniques are overlooked or discounted due to the age of the site. This is one of the leading contributing factors to the spread of spam IMHO (Monkey see, Monkey do). If you want a better index, hold aged sites as accountable to spamming as the newer sites.

    Before flaming me over this post, please give it some thought. All suggestions and observations I made here originate from common sense and not intended to offend or kill any “sacred cows”. I have personally experienced some set backs in rankings attempting to clean up my act as a webmaster, but as a “Recovering Spammer” I am NOW in it for the long term. We often get submersed in preconceived notions and are reluctant to consider change.

    I would love to hear your thoughts Matt.



  100. Wow, I never realized that I wasn’t the only one that thought DMOZ was garbage.

    I’ve thought for years that Google should be creating its own directory. Whenever you mention anything about Google on the DMOZ Forum they have nothing but disdain and do everything they can to distance themselves from Google saying they don’t care what Google does, that it is just another end user. It makes me laugh to see how defensive they are getting to people saying that Google should be doing something different.

    Anyway, I definitely think Google needs its own Professional directory.

    I also like what you have said about the movement of Google customer towards trying to let webmasters know when they are doing things wrong, before just banning them. That is definitely something to expand on. Although many of us have a cynical side when it comes to these things, there are so many people making sites without training that do things that break the rules and don’t know it. There is a problem when we go on the assumption that everyone is trying to play the system. Dialogue is a good thing and Google should always encourage it.

  101. Hi Matt.

    Cheers for the opportunity for feedback. In terms of web spam I think that one of the main ways would be a move away from DMOZ simply to engender to web site owners that Google is seperate, distinctive and non-reliant upon any specific parts of the web. If DMOZ is important to web users it would appear highly for search terms and would give web users a unique perspective. From what I can see DMOZ rarely appears for search terms and is of little use to web users.

    I love the work that Google has been doing in terms of duplicate and near duplicate content and duplicate web links to help minimise web spam. What would be nice is if larger penalties were applied to web documents and/or sites that are duplicates of other sites/pages or those that consistently attempt to link spam using link trianagulation or setting up link directories for the exchnages to obfuscate the link manipulation.

    Another aspect I would love to see is Google turning off the page rank bar completely. Get rid of the concept of page rank trading, buying and selling. This should help sites gain links based upon the relevancy of the content to the user rather than for pure ranking phenomenon.

    TY and keep blogging


  102. I hate to keep dragging this real estate thing on and on, because part of this is coming from an old battle that went on for months in all the other SEO Forums before the parties responsible were banned. All we need is for SEO Guy to come and join us, and it would be another repeat of that same crap.

    But, I do want to make a point. Maybe you, Mack, have never reaped the benefit of getting referrals or hits to your website from your former partners’ homepage links, but customers coming from the Vegas sites, several preconstruction condo sites that are big hitters, and ESPECIALLY a page that Jeff was nice enough to create for me in Myrtle Beach has brought me as many as 10 hits to our website PER DAY. Those referrals bring me as much traffic as do the search engines, if not more.

    Granted, my main sites are about INVESTMENT real estate, which is a whole different ballgame than someone looking for a luxury home to live in the outskirts of Las Vegas or Los Angeles. People looking to invest in resort real estate are interested in the DEAL, not so much the area.

    The fact remains that all of us are very particular about the agents we link to, and we know and like each other. We dont’ link to dishonest agents, off topic sites, penalized sites, or anything that doesn’t benefit the search customer. The ones that are complaining about homepage links are the ones that have made enemies and names for themselves to the point that nobody will link to them anymore. Sour grapes, period.

    And now it’s to the point where they are turning on those of us who have tried to be friendly to everyone and stay out of the fray. The whole thing makes me sick. Matt, can’t you just block the comments from this discussion and put a stop to the idiocy?


  103. [quote] ESPECIALLY a page that Jeff was nice enough to create for me in Myrtle Beach has brought me as many as 10 hits to our website PER DAY. Those referrals bring me as much traffic as do the search engines, if not more.[/quote]

    Jan, you are using the term “referral” differently than how the 3 apparent agents and Mack (dont know if he is an agent or not) are using the term.

    Referrals of clients from one agent to another are certainly a big part of the real estate biz. Brokers typically get 20-35% of ant resulting commission for referring a client to another agent. But these industry referrals are not the result of home page links, as there is no way for you to collect a referral fee from someone who clicks thru to your from a home page link of one of your friends here. To insinuate otherwise is disingenuous.

    While Wayne sounds more like sour grapes than really concerned with spam, he is right that you wouldn’t link from your home pages if it was not for page rank.

  104. Maroon, you are partially correct. I’m using “referral” in some cases in the same context as in getting “referral traffic”. We do it in several different ways.

    But when we all send traffic to each other, whether or not there is a referral fee involved, we are in essence referring people to each other’s area and business.

    Homepage links are no more link spam than a stupid “links page” or one of those monstrous directories that are so popular now from the SEO companies. You have to have links…it’s just a fact. But it’s alot better to me to have some excellent homepage links that are easy to manage and monitor, than to have 50 links pages that you don’t even SEE because you are paying a link broker to do it for you. That is the worst kind of link spam there is in my opinion. We are all doing many different things now to get incoming links. Those homepage links are just a small part of it.


  105. What a Maroon Said,
    January 8, 2006 @ 5:07 pm

    QUOTE:While Wayne sounds more like sour grapes than really concerned with spam, he is right that you wouldn’t link from your home pages if it was not for page rank. QUOTE

    Maroon, I can promise you this is not sour grapes, both Diann and myself do very well for our industry. I have lost over 100,000 dollars paying webmasters who advised me of doing some of these things. I to use to belong to this link farm Diann and Jan are a part of until one of my webmasters decided they were going to far with their scheme and spoke up about it. This is truly about what I believe to be spam as I have educated myself.

    As Mack stated, he is a recovering well that must make me one as well because my other sites followed the same tactics based off of me listening to past webmasters but at least I learned a lesson.

    I will repeat home page links are not for the consumer, or to create business. If they were when an agent advertises themselves they dont use in print advertising City + real estate, they put their name, company name, state they are in and phone number.

    I will admit sometimes I let my passion for this type of spam and others overwhelm me and I say things or do things that I shouldnt. We all got tired of sending in spam reports and never having any of them looked at but as Matt stated in another thread, if you come across as a disgruntled competitor no one will take your complaint serious. Maybe this is what I sound like but the truth be told I am just sick and tired of spam and the real estate industry has become as bad as the porn industry use to be.

  106. I think that computer-generated or ‘button-pusher” sites are the biggest problem that Google faces now. And no, I don’t just mean scraper sites–I’m also referring to “review” sites and the like (some from major, brand-name players) that frequently have thousands or perhaps millions of template-based pages that were generated from keywords but have no content. I see these all the time in Google’s search results when I’m looking for information on travel or computer-related products.

  107. Comparing your real estate competitors to porn spammers is as ludicrous as their justification for those links. It may be a poor way to handle reciprocal links, and it probably doesnt help as much a they think, but Matt has had 2 weeks to call them out if what they are doing was spam. By a spammer’s definition, that aint it, so go hold an open house or something.

  108. >so go hold an open house or something.
    That should have read “so you all”

  109. What a Maroon Said,
    January 8, 2006 @ 6:31 pm

    QUOTE:Comparing your real estate competitors to porn spammers is as ludicrous as their justification for those links.QUOTE

    I am not referring to just those links, I am referring to the real estate seo industry as a whole, as for my collegue I dont think anything is really wrong with her site other than homepage link spam. The blackhat tactics used by several sites in our industry has become IMHO like porn industry use to be. Cloaking, Keyword Stuffing, Hidden Text, Funky Re-directs, Link Farms, Purchased Links, Hijacking, Doorway pages, Multiple Sites and so on.

    Most real estate agents including myself have been taken advantage of by some of these so called Seo experts, we have spent thousands of dollars to hire these people only to be ripped off of our hard earn dollars because we are not educated as to what is proper and what is not, and only seeing results for a short period of time until what they have done is detected by the search engines.

    Do I believe my collegue is a spammer, NO, but I do believe she and the other members of this farm, knows that using homepage links is for nothing other than to manipulate Google / Search Engines. Most of these sites in this farm dont rank well in Yahoo or MSN, IMO this is because those engines have placed filters that discount and penalize homepage links.

    I am not crying because of her ranking, I am crying for help from Google to stop this type of spam and level the playing field. I make a very good living without the website and if I wanted to create a link farm such as this it wouldnt be hard. Purchased links are a dime a dozen. I however know that this is now against Googles policies and will not participate in these type schemes.

  110. Constructive comments:

    1. Target paid for advertising links from ‘free’ website hit counters
    2. Provide feedback to those who do submit spam reports.
    3. Amend the SEO page:

    Look at it this way:
    i. Why doesn’t Google offer “a full and unconditional money-back guarantee” when Adwords campaigns (set up by Google) don’t convert for clients? Why should Google expect independent SEO/SEM companies to?
    ii. “Ethical SEO firms report deceptive sites that violate Google’s spam guidelines.” Thats a double edged sword Matt – your blog (as an employee) has been great – but why doesn’t Google provide feedback – or better still – action the submitted spam reports? I suspect many ‘ethical’ SEOs stopped submitting reports when they saw no action was being taken (either on specific sites, or on the ‘tactic’ reported). How does not reporting the infringements to Google make the SEO less ethical?

  111. RE: Real Estate Home page links. As I mentioned before. I receive allot of traffic from agents having banner and text links to my site: Here are the stats again to prove it: – 9,611 visitors, – 3,223 visitors, – 2,150 visitors, 1,201 visitors, – 1,100 visitors, – 1,125. There are more too. Maybe those are not good numbers but I do get business from other real estate sites.

    I also get calls and emails from the same agents referring me clients from having them on their home pages. I gladly pay them their 20% – 25 % referal fee as well.

    If they just had the agents name and company they would not know what the market place was.

    This is subject is getting old. Especially since most the people commenting about do not sale many homes and really know how the business really works.

    Have a great week every one!

    Bug Daddy!

  112. TYPO Corrections: It is getting late.

    This is subject is getting old. Especially since most the people commenting about this do not sell many homes and really do not know how the real estate business really works.

    Have a great week every one!

    Big Daddy!

  113. One last thing before I go to bed. Why in the world would Google want the same search results as Yahoo & MSN. Have you every tried to find something you wanted on those sites? I have with my kids for school projects and their results SUCK!

    Much better results on Google.

    Good Night!!

    Big Daddy!

  114. Hmm, even before Google takes steps to clean up its search results, how about some steps to clean up its impact on the web?

    Priority 1: Clean up adsense (enforce TOS)

    Priority 2: Clean up (enforce TOS)



  115. Big Daddy Said,
    January 8, 2006 @ 11:00 pm

    QUOTE:If they just had the agents name and company they would not know what the market place was.QUOTE

    You will have to excuse my unfinished statement. This morning I was sick and didnt formulate my thoughts to well. Its simple, you place the Agents Name, Company and State. If home page links have such great value as it has been stated here than use them for that purpose to where normal humans can understand as an example Myrtle Beach Real Estate as a link, means it is a Myrtle Beach real estate agent and with what company.

    Just to clarify, I am not saying it is just my collegue, from the research I have done on several top ranking websites throughout the US in Google, I have found that most ranked # 1 sites are 1. Older than any other site in the top 10, 2nd. That more than 40% of those use some type of link farm / Scheme or other type of manipulation to have acquired their rankings.

    Diann Said,
    January 8, 2006 @ 12:21 pm

    QUOTE:Can Google tell how long someone stays on a site and relate it to the keyword search used to find the site? That would be a great way to tell who has a site that offers superior information rather than spam. (You would have to make sure you could do it by IP address otherwise competitors would repeatedly click on each other and then get right off again.) But if you could separate legitimate searches and see how long they stay on an average related to all other searches using the same exact keywords that would certainly be a way to tell what sites consumers find useful! QUOTE

    This is a good idea but it presents a few problems. Most real estate agents if you ask them to check their logs, the page that is visited most is their home search page, unless they dont have a good one. Another issue would be companies that you can pay to send traffic to your site. I am sure a script could be wrote that would visit the page from different IPs and be program to spend X amount of time on the site.

    I personally wish this was a factor, our new site has an average of 14 mins per visitor with over 12% of that traffic viewing the site 1 hour or longer, which for a new site only one month old is not bad.

  116. Hi Matt,

    I agree with Jan about link pages.

    Unfortunately any link schematic within an algorithm is subject to manipulation.

    It would be great if back links played no or at least a reduced role in the ranking algorithm.

    A cottage industry has sprung up creating back links solely for the purpose of search engine manipulation.

    Webmasters (and REALTORS®) could spend more time writing original content and make their sites better for their visitors if they did not have to chase after links.

    Efforts to combat spam by the other SEs should applauded, not ridiculed. Spam is a growing problem for us all and any effort to rid ourselves of it should be discussed and analyzed without prejudice or personal attacks (even the “Sacred Cows”).

    Back links are no longer a “vote” for a site, but just a measure of who is better at manipulating the system.

    Thanks for hearing us,


  117. Hi Matt,

    Google should do much more about content duplication. A lot of spammers create the same website under different URL’s. / / etc.

    Once one domain is banned they get back on track with the other domain.

    Also I reported one website and was pleasantly surprised to see it removed and even more surpised to see it back a few weeks later with no changes to it at all. All SPAM is still there!

    All the clever, top university high-flyers execs in Google should dedicate more time and money to search quality, Google’s flagship service. Please don’t wait until another search engine comes along and provides better results to do something about the spammers out there!

    Thanks for listening!

  118. Jeff Schroeffel

    Three things…

    1) Lose the DMOZ descriptions. These are not being updated regularly and the website owner that has a bad DMOZ description has no control over what their listing looks like.

    2) Find a better way to get rid of empty directories. In real estate, mortgages, and many other industries the SERPs are full of blank directories with nothing but Ad Sense and good URLs and Title Tags.

    3) Be more active with SPAM reports. When a site is an offender, get them out for good. The spammers are the same companies over and over again.

  119. Eliminating spam: I agree that popularity of a site be great for some sites mine not all.

    For Example my site for December:

    Total Hits 4,780,127
    Average Hits per Day 154,197
    Average Hits per Visitor 32.26
    Cached Requests 2,113,592
    Failed Requests 3,919
    Page Views
    Total Page Views 735,190
    Average Page Views per Day 23,715
    Average Page Views per Visitor 4.96
    Total Visitors 148,188
    Average Visitors per Day 4,780
    Total Unique IPs 69,636

    This would be great becauset Unique IP’s to Total Visitor ratio is good. People keep coming back and view allot of pages.

    Let’s say a site has great content for researchers but all the information was only on the home page. The user would not click other pages and would not come back once they get what they need.

    That would not be fair for those sites.

    It would be great if they came up with a blend. I would be more than happy to put Google Analytics on my site to help them for the real estate industry information gathering.

    Google’s system seems to be working better than Yahoo & MSN for search results. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be spanking Yahoo & MSN in market share.

  120. Matt,
    Thanks for asking the community about this.
    I’m not suggesting anything specific, just offering an example of successful blog spam for your review. (Well, I guess “blogspamming” is still on my wishlist.)

    A comment page in a respectable newspaper’s hurriance blog is currently #9 for “alabama mortage rates.” A comment page in a hurricane blog. How can your algo not recognize this page as pure blogs***?

    Here’s the page:

    Thanks again, Matt.

  121. In searching a snippet from the page I found a rather sloppy ‘made for adsense site’ has a page on this exact key phrase but instead of linking to the matching page on my site it has linked to another page from the same directory.

    Somehow as a result the other page is listed in Google instead. The only time the key phrase for the missing page is on the other page is in the navigation. Could this have caused some sort of hijack that made the original page go missing?

    It’s a shame because the missing page refers to some research that is not found anywhere else on the Internet.

  122. Matt

    Idea: Remove ‘list of links’ pages from the results.

    I know many would hate this idea (including most of the webmasters that comment here – and may cost some folks their living if you removed these from Google results)… but I hate results that send me to results. In other words, list of possible links that I may find interesting… I don’t want to see that as a user – I just came from one of those lists (i.e. – search results) I don’t want to see another one.

    Now I know some of these are useful (list of outbound links). And I have to admit I have followed a few. But, all in all, my searching would be better for it, if these lists did not show-up in the results since they usually are so spammy. Certainly never place them at the top – no matter how appealing they look to the algorithm. Maybe if my search is coming up dry, I wouldn’t mind looking at someone else’s hand compiled list. So maybe put these ‘link list sites’ at the bottom of the results.

    But I wouldn’t mind if Google dropped them all together.

  123. If you are using DMOZ to bump up ‘points’ dump them. I was an editor there, the amount of sites being left in unreviewed because the moderators cannot decide where to place them is unreal. There are 100,000’s great sites out there that have been sitting in the dmoz data base (without inclusion) far too long. Nearly every category quotes ‘No Editor’ yet apply and they turn you down.

    Too many silly rules at DMOZ and not enough editors


  124. Keep DMOZ, since their sites are reviewed by humans. It doesn’t matter if they take a long time – whats in there is usually a quality piece of information.

    Forget about SEO – this is the wrong way to go for the web. Newspapers, TV-Shows etc. are not optimized: It is all about content, not about h1, h2, keyword-density …


  125. I’d like to see some “rate this result” on the (obviosuly) results page. Maybe only at random in order to make it hard for spammers to rate their own sites. Or at least some “mark this result as spam”.

    Google’s users will always be faster in recognizing spam that Google’s programmers. And the spammers will always be faster than everyone else (that’s why they still exist, after all).
    Not to speak of those who simply produce pages of really bad content.

  126. I think Google needs to look more into domainsquatting, especially domains that had good content, but suddenly became doorway pages. It is pretty obvious to human surfers that a website suddenly has bogus content and/or is totally irrelevant for the search, but Google keeps these sites listed because of the amount of links to those sites, links that were once relevant, but not any more. It might be an idea to temporary remove links that have a sudden change of content.
    You might accidentally hit legitimate sites as well, but those are (I think) mostly sites that are under constructiion. And sites that are ‘under construction’ don’t need to be listed anyway, because they don’t show any information.

    I know there are ways to unlist a link. One can ask Google to remove a particular link for a particular result. But then it would still show up on other searches. Google needs to remove links that have random content that is irrelevant to the search, and remove links that have exactly the same content as hundreds of other sites.

    Furthermore, one can ask Google to remove indivdual pages of a particular site from their results, but sometimes Google says it can’t remove those pages, even though those pages really do not exist anymore. This is also something Google needs to address.

    And maybe it’s an idea to use DMOZ only for non-profit and governmental websites? But there’s definately some ‘cleaning’ to do at DMOZ.

  127. Our site has ranked well in Google since the start. We’ve never used any kind of trick or tactic, but always trusted that your algos will develop over time to recognize good content – and that’s what we provide.

    However, we are always #2 to another site. They use the NOFRAMES tag to provide Google with a substitute homepage consisting of a keyword-linked list of every single page on their site, instead of the home page that everyone else sees with a browser

    My only wish would be that you would put a stop to this practice, which is no more or less than cloaking by the back door.

    Thanks for a great blog.

  128. I’m sick to death of clicking on a link only to find that the domain has been purchased by some sleazeball company who has replaced the site with a ton of paid links. They’ve gotten sneaky over the past year by actually trying to make the site content/links more like the original content but these types of sites are useless.

    By the way, I’ve never seen one of these sites run Google Adsense, it’s always some other company.

    While I’m sure there are algorithmic ways of handling this, I’d like to suggest a feedback system by webmasters. I’ll discuss this more under the quality heading but responses from a group of developers would clean up your listings faster than your indexing probably could. More on this under the quality category.


  129. Matt,

    I think Google should penalize or ban sites that have Hidden Text with Keyword Stuffing. I see this happening all the time with many keywords.

  130. I was wondering why a group of sites by a certain webmaster in our industry were doing so well in Google recently. Then I looked at the source code of dozens of their sites and they’ve hidden tons of keywords in their pages using a css style (in stylesheet) of h2 display:none.

    One home page had 2,000 hidden words. I’ve reported a few of the individual sites and the person responsible. However, how long will it take to correct this blight on your index and will your team find the sites on their own by checking everything he hosts or do I have to report every site?

    Improving the response time on spam penalty would increase my use of it as a webmaster as I’d like to see all unethical webmasters booted!


  131. Hi Matt,
    I think google should not index auctions websites (ie ebay). This is very poor usability of this kind of search results. The example of when this happens is in Poland, where internet auctions are in the top of results.

    Thanks for listening !!! 🙂

  132. Fight scrapers, copycats and similar content thieves. Don’t support them with Adsense. Kick them out.

  133. One type of spam is not entirely intentional and it happens when high pagerank sites carry a comment or contain a keyword phrase that a searcher is using. The Google algorithm is too dependent on Pagerank and can’t filter out big sites that just happen to have a comment on that keyword topic. It’s very unlikely people are interested in some big sites comment on a topic.

    Many high Pagerank site owners know they can include these keyword phrases and draw a lot of traffic from them. One popular biz journal and other big business magazine are creating marketing pages that capitalize on this weakness. Unfortunately it works. If you do a backlink check, there might be one link that leads to that page.

    One way to filter out high PR spam is to separate searches based on the amount of content that site has on that keyword topic, or compare with the site’s main keyword theme. When I’m searching for a real solution to a technical SEO problem, I don’t want to see entries from webmasterworld or seonews or some other high pagerank site happens to be part of an organized link network. I want to hone in on the solution I’m looking for and not be inundated by big money sites.

    If the average valuable content site had more exposure in search results there would be less spam attempts by their site owners.

    I think organized link networks involving financially-backed web sites need to be toned down in the results. This is where the most harmful spam for the averager searcher is coming from nowadays.

  134. Do you know how difficult it is to get a link from a high profile, relevant web site? Because if you do, you would vastly reduce the wieght that you give to links from unrelated sites.

    In just about every industry their are sites than you can use as regulators. Sites like the American institute of architects and the Royal Institute or British Architects. Lets see a spammer get a link from them. One link from one of these sites should be worth a thousand links from directories and web logs. (present company accepted)

    The worst thing about working in this industry is that a marketing agency employing graphic design teams, pr consultants, copywriters, and qualified web technicians can be beaten to the top spot on google by a guy working out of his bedroom with a basic html editor and a very black hat.

    Thanks for the oportunity to vent. Promise not to rant too much in future.

  135. 1. When a site of thousands of pages give link to another site with same keyword, same text (site wide link) it should b considered as single link only.

    2. Internal link building with same link structure should be ignored. Lets say, i put mysql menu on my site with header and footer controls, i will have same menu structure on all pages. It should be ignored by SE.

    3. There should b little high value to on page optimization. Because not all companies are going to do search engine optimization and link submitssion.

    4. Not to consider links which have same color as text (hidden links). I think this should already b there.

    5. Not to consider links when page has structure of links and some text, links and some text, links and some text. (link building pages)

    6. Ignore pages which have same links on multiple sites. Many link building sites provide facility to web masters where they select categories and submit their site. So all sites in selected category display webmaster’s link and webmaster’s site display links of all sites in selected category.

    7. There should be some standards. Like mysql menu belongs to and api belongs to microsoft only. If any site has put that, those pages of that site should not be considered.

    8. Random compare of cached screen with actual page using OCR technology. However, this may not give always desired result. In my site only cache dont show H2 properly while actual site is showing.

  136. I believe that Google must find ways to eliminate websites practising cloaking methods and java script redirects. Even after the jagger update i have come across some sites ranking high following such spam techniques!

  137. Definitely deal with your problem ‘at home’ first. Clean up blogger. Some people (reading SEOBlackhat a few months ago) have apparently got the entire blogger signup process automated.

    How hard is it really to detect someone registering, … up to in a short period of time? 🙂

    Perhaps you ought to look at and see how many of the splogs are from blogspot. The name is even taken from blogspot, as a statement about how much blog spam is from there.

  138. Well, I’ve certainly seen the lame DMOZ descriptions show up in Google SERPs and they really should be ditched. For example, do a search for “eyeglasses” and take a look at the top 3. Currently, the first position is held by, whose meta description is currently showing in the SERPs. The site (today) in the #3 position is, with the DMOZ description. Why the difference? Why should one site have their own, up to date description show up and another get stuck with an out of date DMOZ description that is several years old and in many cases no longer accurate?

    Definitely ditch DMOZ.

  139. How can i reach google webspam team ?

    there are tons of sites out there – i know of – manipulating search engines results; can i report such illegal acts to some site ? would be very interesting, what the targeted companies would do…

    thanks in advance…

  140. I think part of the problem is the web spam that is generated by DMOZ and it’s importance as Google directory. While DMOZ itself was a good idea in the beginning, it has been derailed by editors that care nothing but to use it as their money making machine.
    It has also many moral and legal problems such as advocating pedophilia, bestiality and many other illegal subject. There is a thread in digital point forum about how pedophiles use DMOZ as source for their networking.

    They also admit to corruption in adult area while calling it “accepted practices” and “norm”.

    An important step in improving Google search results will be removal of those DMOZ sections that are infected by corruption and illegal activity.

  141. one word – mirrors

    the filter does not seem to be working and no one at Google seems to be doing anything about it. I know of one site with 4 mirrors and half the time several of them show up on the sirst page of the SERPS at the same time. it’s been going on for many months and doesn’t look like they’ll be penalised which means every else who doesn’t spam is in effect …penalised.

  142. Talking about web spam…

    Matt, if your team wants to have fun with the Redscowl Bluesingsky results, they’d better get to it soon. Only four or five days left….

  143. I don’t think anyone at Google, meaning a human, actually penalizes sites which clearly violate their webmaster guidelines. If so, I’d like to know. After over a year of submitting half a dozen or so Spam Reports, I have found that the spamming domains are still there. No amount of adjusting algorithms by some engineer can remove sites which persistently fool Google.

    My spam reports regard mirror sites with the same domain name, but only the ending change. In other words, dot com, dot, dot, dot net. The same sites are listed. Checking Google’s cache of any of the sites I’ve reported show only a term, click here to view the site, and no other information. Google needs to index only sites which have content not some click here to view the site gimmick.

    I’m beginning to think that Google isn’t the best search engine afterall, and by striving to list everything, they still allow spamming domains of mirror sites. In the instances I reported, the “society” was actually legally dissolved in 2003 and yet reports to Google of that fact hasn’t changed anything.

    Worst of all, the dot com domain now is ranked #2, and in Google China and Google Norway search results, for instance, the results show the dot com domain/site twice. Isn’t that spam also. It would be better to remove the offending sites altogether. There is no reason why Google should persist in listing, and rewarding, spam domains.

  144. Well, although this would take some cooperation, what about getting together with Yahoo and MSN, and sharing a list of banned sites? I’m not saying automatically ban just because someone else does, but it could be used as an indicator. This would reduce duplication of effort, and allow easier finding of sites that were banned due to a spam report. Flagged sites could then be given a higher priority to check them, either manually or with a more intensive algorithm that is too heavy to run on all sites.

  145. 8PM EST today! {tick-tock} I thought I should warn people. Sorry for the double post BTW.

    And oh yeah, I would really like to have all “My web diary”-type blogs banned to an unspidered alternate Internet universe. When I’m searching for something (important) I’m really not interested in some Joe Schmoe’s comment on my search object. No: I want genuine info, like price comparisons, technical specs, unbiased reports etc….

    If I want to read somebody’s personal rantings, I’ll type in his/her blog address or hit the bookmark instead. Sheesh.

    (Ouch, does this make me a web0.8 person?)

  146. I think google should penalise or ban sites with hidden text (keywords) and links at the bottom of the page. I see this done on plenty of web pages with many pagebreaks or tags and then keywords at the bottom, hidden from normal users monitor size.

  147. If you took a closer look to websites with keyword density of 15%+ you would wipe out 99% of the spam out there .
    And I have a lame question ? How can a webpage rank for a keyword it does not contain (thanks to links) ??? That simply kills my last trace of logic .
    I , for one , don’t think you will ever be able to handle spam as you would be killing your own AdSense profits . This is the sad truth .

    PS: Yes , I’m an ocasional spammer !

  148. One link system that has me concerned is the links coming out of Wikipedia.Org, the outgoing links have grown 10 fold over the past few months. I was reading a Wiki decision about nofollow and rel nofollow the comments made by some of the members were very shocking, “We should boost the reputation of good sites we link to.” and (one comment about spammer’s not being very smart, was unbelivable) I looked in our corner of the web and plain as day 3 notorious spammers, Wow, now they have links from a PR9 I don’t think these people understand spam. Google Yahoo and MSN please remove the values associated with their links or teach them about spam.

  149. I hate this CRAP:

    And it’s all because of Google Ad Sense. I think it’s great to monetize the Internet, but you need to find a way to get this JUNK out of your index because it is destroying your credibiliy. No joke. No exageration.

  150. Relegate the status of subdirectories, to make them equal to subdomains in terms of how the links are valued. It’s too easy to make lots of subdirectories and interlink them to fake link popularity.

    Better detection of randomly generated text like this:

    Learn all about $variable. Search our site for the best info about $variable, and the best $variable links.

    You need to be able to take the highest-density keywords, assign them as a variable, and then put the pages through the dupe filter once more. You should do this automatically for every site over 1000 pages. I think that would go some way towards weeding out auto-generated spam.

  151. Hi Matt,

    I’m stunned to see that tons of seo spam reports remain with no result! The sites are yet indexed and gain good SERP’s DUE TO SPAM. An example is, which practice one of the most basic form of SPAM: text displayed with background color. For exapmle, go to (just one of the site pages) and press CTRL+A. You will see the following text (repeated) written with HUGE characters: “dacia vanzari auto autoturisme piese auto auto second hand alarme auto piata auto auto masini second hand vanzare masini masini motociclete harti”.

    It would be nice that Google intentions to clean it’s index from these kind of crap sites to be sustained by actions. So please remove this site which does not honour the .ro tld!


  152. Hi Matt, thanks for posting this… As a few others mentioned above I am a bit sick of seeing subdomain spam. I hate doing a web search and see the same site with 30 different sub domains pop up for the same result with duplicate content. Annoys the heck out of me. Is there any plans on reducing sub domain spam??? Thanks in advance!