Google Shares Stats About Its Spam Messages

    February 25, 2013
    Chris Crum

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.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.