Search is a powerful tool. It helps people to find, share, and access an amazing wealth of content regardless of how they connect or where they are located. As part of Google’s search quality team, we work hard to ensure that searchers see high quality search results—and not webspam. We fight spam through a combination of algorithms and manual reviews to ensure that sites don’t rise in search results through deceptive or manipulative behavior, especially because those sites could harm or mislead users.
Below are some of the webspam insights we gathered in 2015, including trends we’ve seen, what we’re doing to fight spam and protect against those trends, and how we’re working with you to make the web better.
2015 webspam trends
- We saw a huge number of websites being hacked – a 180% increase compared to the previous year. Stay safe on the web and take preventative measures to protect your content on the web.
- We saw an increase in the number of sites with thin, low quality content. Such content contains little or no added value and is often scraped from other sites.
2015 spam-fighting efforts
- As always, our algorithms addressed the vast majority of webspam and search quality improvement for users. One of our algorithmic updates helped to remove the amount of hacked spam in search results.
- The rest of spam was tackled manually. We sent more than 4.3 million messages to webmasters to notify them of manual actions we took on their site and to help them identify the issues.
- We saw a 33% increase in the number of sites that went through spam clean-up efforts towards a successful reconsideration process.
Working with users and webmasters for a better web
- More than 400,000 spam reports were submitted by users around the world. After prioritizing the reports, we acted on 65% of them, and considered 80% of those acted upon to be spam. Thanks to all who submitted reports and contributed towards a cleaner web ecosystem!
- We conducted more than 200 online office hours and live events around the world in 17 languages. These are great opportunities for us to help webmasters with their sites and for them to share helpful feedback with us as well.
- The webmaster help forum continued to be an excellent source of webmaster support. Webmasters had tens of thousands of questions answered, including over 35,000 by users designated as Webmaster Top Contributors. Also, 56 Webmaster Top Contributors joined us at our Top Contributor Summit to discuss how to provide users and webmasters with better support and tools. We’re grateful for our awesome Top Contributors and their tremendous contributions!
We’re continuously improving our spam-fighting technology and working closely with webmasters and users to foster and support a high-quality web ecosystem. (In fact, fighting webspam is one of the many ways we maintain search quality at Google.) Thanks for helping to keep spammers away so users can continue accessing great content in Google Search.
Posted by Kiyotaka Tanaka and Mary Chen, User Education and Search Outreach
Read more here:: How we fought webspam in 2015