Google Shares Stats About Its Spam Messages

    February 25, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has released a new Webmaster Help video. This time, Matt Cutts shares some statistics about the messages it sends webmasters. The video is a response to this user-submitted question:

You’ve been sending us various kinds of messages via WMT to improve transparency. It’s a good move. How many types of messages do you send now? And how do you decide what message you send?

“At this point we do send hundreds of thousands of messages each month,” says Cutts. “That might sound like a lot, but for example, one search engine named blekko estimated that a million spam pages are created every hour. The web is very large, so we shouldn’t be surprised that some percentage of it is spam, and as a result, we do spend a lot of time finding that spam, and since we automatically send messages and notifications when we find it, there are a lot – hundreds of thousands of notifications we send out each month.”

Cutts notes that there’s a lot of different categories of spam covered in Google’s webmaster guidelines, but that they all lead to about ten different kinds of messages that Google sends. Hidden text, keyword stuffing, etc. would all go into one kind of message.

He then goes on to share some stats from “earlier this year,” as he says, indicating that they’re from January and February. It’s not entirely clear when this video was made. Since it’s still early in February, we’re not sure if the video was recorded before the New Year or not. Cutts does tend to film a bunch of these videos at a time. Either way, it probably makes little difference if they’re putting the video out now.

“Out of the hundreds of thousands of messages that we sent over that time period, roughly 90% of those were for what we call ‘black hat’,” says Cutts. “That’s pure egregious spam (clear cut), so anybody sufficiently tech savvy would probably be able to recognize that it’s spam. It’s the stuff that you think of as traditional junk that you just don’t want to show up in your results because it is very clearly spam.”

“About four percent of the messages were because the content had little or no added value, and so it’s not ranking as highly in our search results,” he continues. “About three percent of the messages that we sent were related to hacking, so hacking is a big attack as far as black hats, and even though it’s illegal, there’s a lot of people that do that, trying to promote their pharmacy pills or whatever…that sort of thing. Something like two percent of the messages that we sent out were related to link buying, and about one percent were related to link selling. So overall, between two and three precent related to links and link spam overall – about buying and selling links.”

He leaves it at that.

Earlier this week, Google put out a video of Cutts explaining how to figure out which links to remove if you got an unnatural link warning.

  • http://www.rankwatch.com Rank Watch

    Google’s initiative to keep the web clean and degrade the spam should always be appreciated. Some sites might be unknowingly be a victim of a spam but Google lets the webmasters know with a Link warning and gives them a chance to correct it. Google has always been very transparent in giving these kind of stats to the webmasters.

    • http://teleteskariotakis.gr antonis


    • Bobbb

      google never was transparent. we listen lot of lie and half of true .

  • http://www.onlinegoogle.info Qasim

    Its informative for the web masters in a one way or the other that they not only avoid to spam but also discourage others not do spamming on their websites in the form of comments, posts in forums etc.

  • Robert

    please tell us dear matt cutts: when google will start ban sites for use of ‘hello’, ‘welcome’ and ‘and’ words?
    Is such situation will happen in future, how you will explain it to webmasters? (what you think in 2013?)
    What the future of adsense for small business?

  • http://www.neverpaintagain.co.uk/ the paint estimator

    paid links rears its head again! Still no definitive answer from google. If someone pays an seo comapny to create social bookmarks, or maybe write an original article and post it somewhere credible like ezinearticles, is THAT still a paid link and again googles TOS? Many owners of large websites will delegate tasks (outsource) as no one can do it all, so is THAT paid links too???(not referring to spam which is….er….. spam), i mean paying someone to post something as you have outsourced it.

  • http://omnimedicalmarketing.com/ Omni Medical Marketing

    It’s easy to indict Google on a lack of transparency, but let’s be honest. Anyone who has done SEO for any period of time knows what unnatural links are. No point in waiting for the hammer to drop. Google has put out enough information to know what they’re penalizing for. Might as well get a jump on it and get it fixed now.

  • http://www.day1charitydonation.com Harry Fassett

    Most telling comment by Chris is just simply,”About four percent of the messages were because the content had little or no added value, and so it’s not ranking as highly in our search results”. Right, just crappy poorly written content, and that’s a huge red flag it’s spam. Not rocket science here.

  • http://www.webipromo.com Internet Marketing

    That is a lot of spam pages being created on the internet. I am glad Google is trying to solve this problem to eliminate most of the virtual pollution.

  • Patricia

    The problem is collateral damages, small businesses are destroyed everyday because google crushes them like bugs.

    for example macgamesandmore.com got totally anihilated. and it provided with real game reviews and unique content.

    they just want people to buy non profitable adwords, and if you look carefuly at adwords, every month you see new businesses , they try for a month and stop when they realise it doesn’t work, but there seems to be an endless supply of new businesses trying to make a living out of adwords for now, until the word spreads out that adwords is not a viable media for small businesses.