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Inbound Marketing Blog

    A Day in the Life of a Google Webspam Fighter

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Matt Cutts Shares How Google Spamfighters Make Searches Better

    Because Google has an obvious and well-known hate for spam, spammers, and anything else of a spammy nature, the search algorithms are constantly updated to outsmart those who insist on cheating the system. We’re all aware of how shady content “marketers” and “guest bloggers” tore down the whole keyword and link building algorithms upon which inbound marketing was built. This, of course, is why we can’t have nice things. Because someone out there is always looking for the next way to cheat, Google has spamfighters at the ready at all times.

    So, what do these webspam fighters do? Matt Cutts gave us an in-depth look in this following video.


    Beyond the Algorithms

    What happens when someone does manage to beat the system and get around the search algorithm? Engineers work hard to put those rules in place, but an intrepid spammer will always find a crack in the wall. For that reason, Google has manual spamfighters to catch those who managed to slip through the cracks. Those spamfighters have to be ready with preventative measures and also to react when spam happens.

    First comes the reactive fighting, where those who manage to break the system are discovered either by report or through Google’s algorithms. Through the daily defensive battles, spamfighters begin to detect patterns—the reasons spammers are able to get around the filters. When that happens, Google can go on the offense and make changes that close those gaps. Getting to the root of the problem requires working with the engineers who created the algorithm in the first place, which means the whole team comes together to work through the puzzle from the ground up.

    Engineering the Algorithms

    As you might expect, creating the algorithms isn’t an overnight process. The engineers responsible for coming up with the code have to take several different approaches and test hundreds of different solutions before one is perfected. Creation takes so long because there are so many different types of spam to consider, and no one algorithm can take care of it all. On top of that, the code written also has to protect those sites that are innocent and spam-free, even if some of the components of the site might meet the criteria for spam.

    Keeping Things Fresh

    Because spam keeps changing, so must the traps to catch it. That doesn’t mean the spamfighters have to start from scratch every time something new manages to get past the gates. While they do try to break down the algorithm to the very basic parts, they still use the viable pieces and add to that code. Engineers can then introduce a new algorithm that encompasses all the parts instead of tacking on new traps over and over.

    Reversing the Process

    Believe it or not, Google sometimes takes the time to find out why innocent sites are being blocked. If spamfighters hear that someone simply can’t be found on Google, they will investigate the problem until they determine what keeps that site hidden. They’ll then reverse the process so the innocent site doesn’t have to fight the spam blockers anymore.

    The Future

    Essentially, there will always be someone spamming the web, so spamfighting will be around forever. To be sure you’re always within the quality guidelines, you should check them out on a regular basis. You never know when a change might be made to your site that could inadvertently trip the spam filters. However, if you do happen to ping Google’s spam radar, you can be sure they’ll do what they can to get you back into the search results where you belong.

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    Topics: SEO