Official response from Matt Cutts on the Google Search Spam problem. The long and the short of it? There is acknowledgement that there has been a “slight uptick” in recent months but that things are much better than they were 5 years ago:
The short answer is that according to the evaluation metrics that we’ve refined over more than a decade, Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness.
Now that all sounds great, until you think about it. When I wrote about this issue recently, I stated, “If there is blame to be made, I would blame sloth more than conspiracy.” Let’s go with that and assume no conspiracy and that Google simply needs to work harder. As everyone knows, Google is an algorithms-driven company. So here is the conundrum:
If you have a lot of spam because your algorithm isn’t good enough at rejecting it, should you believe your algorithm when it says your “search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness, and comprehensiveness?”
Two other comments and then I’ll leave this topic:
First is that I appreciated the reference to Smoothspan’s recent article, “Silly rabbits: Google is for Spam not for Search“:
One misconception that we’ve seen in the last few weeks is the idea that Google doesn’t take as strong action on spammy content in our index if those sites are serving Google ads.
While I continue not to think there is a conspiracy, it is important to note that Google monetizes the spammers, drives traffic to their sites, and so benefits. All the more reason to be very squeaky clean.
And speaking of being very squeaky clean, did anyone else think it was at least vaguely humorous that Google’s Spam Czar, Messr Cutts of the “Move along, these are not the spam droids you’re looking for” memo, was spending his time breaking stories about the spaminess of his competitors when he could have been improving his own company’s record there? Did we consider that while Facebook’s #2 advertiser was a spammer, we have absolutely no way of quantifying how much revenue Google gets from spammers monetizing their spam through Google’s ads. What if there are some in Google’s top 10?
How about we all focus on dialing down our own spam, let the Internet police the competitors, and get on with some more relevant search results. Speaking of more relevant results, I love Google’s Custom Search Engines. Great way to reduce spam per this ReadWriteWeb article if you want a specialized search for a particular domain that’s narrow enough to have a manageable number of contributors.
(Cross-posted @ SmoothSpan Blog)