Marketers who need to make sure their brand content shows up in search results may feel like they’re fighting an uphill battle against Google and its algorithms. However, Google’s Web Spam team is not necessarily waging a war against digital publishers. They are also responsible for protecting sites from undue penalties. In the latest Google Webmaster Help Channel video, Matt Cutts gives a sneak peek into the day-to-day of the team that keeps spam out of search results.
According to Cutts, there are two departments at the helm of Google’s efforts to keep deceptive publishers from gaming the SEO system: Engineers and Manual Spam Fighters.
“Typically, It’s a mix of reactive spam fighting and proactive spam fighting. Reactive would mean we get a spam report, or somehow, we detect that someone is spamming Google … so, a certain amount of every day is making sure spammers don’t infest the search results and make the search experience horrible for everyone,” Cutts explained.
However, their work goes beyond basic precautionary steps. The best spam fighters are the ones who see the trends in how spammers optimize against Google’s rules and what loopholes they’re exploiting to identify the root problem. This is much more effective than a case-by-case approach, which Cutts likens to playing whack-a-mole with black hat SEOs.
“A certain amount of every day is making sure spammers don’t infest the search results and make the search experience horrible for everyone.” – Matt Cutts
Then there is the engineering side of things, where the Web Spam team looks at spam examples, comes up with ideas and tests code to see if they can come up with a solution.
You want something that “catches the bad guys and protects the innocent,” he added.
And the webspam team stands by the same expectations that it imposes on external webmasters: continuous revision and improvement. That is, Google won’t rest on its laurels with an outdated algorithm that’s no longer effective at detecting webspam. It’s testing its own efficacy all the time to find opportunities for improvement.