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SEOmoz Takes On Webspam With Ambitious Project, Talks Penguin Update

Rand Fishkin: Penguin execution "less high quality" than previous Google updates

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SEOmoz Takes On Webspam With Ambitious Project, Talks Penguin Update
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SEOmoz is working on a new spam research project aimed at classifying, identifying and removing (or at least limiting) the link juice that spam pages and sites can pass – a pretty ambitious goal, to say the least. Can SEOmoz do this better than Google itself?

CEO Rand Fishkin announced the project on Google+ Monday evening, acknowledging that his company is “certainly not going to be as good at it or as scaled as Google,” but that it’s making for interesting research.

Fishkin tells WebProNews that Google’s Penguin update was not the motivator behind the project, though he did have this to say about the update:

“In terms of Penguin – it’s done a nice job of waking up a lot of folks who never thought Google would take this type of aggressive, anti-manipulative action, but I think the execution’s actually somewhat less high quality than what Google usually rolls out (lots of search results that look very strange or clearly got worse, and plenty of sites that probably shouldn’t have been hit).”

You can read more about Penguin via our various articles on the topic here.

“We’ve been wanting to work on this for a long time, but our data scientist was previously tied up on other items (and we’ve just hired a research assistant for the project),” Fishkin tells us. “The original catalyst was the vast quantity of emails and questions we get about whether a page/site is ‘safe’ to acquire links from, or whether certain offers (you know the kind – ‘$100 for 50 permanent text links guaranteed to boost your Google rankings!’) were worthwhile.”

“Tragically, there’s a lot of money flowing from people who can barely afford it, but don’t know better to spammers who know that what they’re building could hurt their customers, and Google refuses to take action to show which spam they know about,” he continues. “Our eventual goal is to build a metric marketers and site owners can use to get a rough sense of a site’s potential spamminess in comparison to others.”

“A score (or scores) of some kind would (eventually, assuming the project goes well) be included in Mozscape/OSE showing the spamminess of inlinks/outlinks,” he explained in the Google+ announcement.

According to Fishkin, the SEOmoz algorithms will be conservative and focus on the most obvious and manipulative forms of spam. “For example, we’d probably catch a lot of very obvious/bad link farms, but not necessarily many private blog networks or paid links from reputable sites,” he said in response to a comment on his Google+ post.

Also in the comments, Fishkin indicated that data would be presented in a ‘matches patterns of sites we’ve seen Google penalize/ban” kind of way than a “‘you are definitely webspam’ type of thing.”

The data scientist Fishkin spoke of will present the findings at the company’s Mozcon event in July. Fishin expects an actual product launch late this year or early next year.

Earlier this month, the company announced that it has raised $18 million in VC funding.

SEOmoz Takes On Webspam With Ambitious Project, Talks Penguin Update


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  • http://seo-mentoring.ca Reg-NBS-SEO

    EGAD!
    and Google refuses to take action to show which spam they know about,”

    It is not that hard to figure out.
    Google does not want to follow links to pages that have no bearing on the linking page. If a link is not relative, then it stands to reason that the link is just marketing, and Google does not want to do that for free.

    If you look at the sites that got hit, they are all redundant information, or if original, subject to a high domain/link ratio and/or high incidence of non-relevant links, as would be found in a linking program choosing high PR or dofollow sites.

    I do not think it is as much the kind of sites or the anchor text that is the trigger.
    I think it is the link placing patterns.

    Strictly organic linking has it’s own pattern.
    So do linking plans to influence Google’s rankings.

    There are no objectives in regards to site type in real organic linking. Follow/nofollow, specific anchor text/no anchor text, root/deep linking, all are not under the control of the site owner/marketer but are placed by the organic linkers.

    3 years ago Google gave up on RageRank.
    It had developed it’s text recognition algos to the point where it did not need it.
    However, the SEO industry, as a whole, did not see it despite warnings from a search engineer that PR was reduced in stature.

    Nor did they take heed when PR was removed from their webmaster tools.

    A further missive saying that PR was not an “actionable metric” got a little attention but SEO’s continued to proclaim their link building prowess.

    In their “Anatomy of a Search Engine” Sergey and Larry stated that indexing by using links was a difficult process.
    They told us In our current crawl of 24 million pages, we had over 259 million anchors which we indexed., and this was before the link building craze.
    No wonder they spend more than the GNP of a small country to run their servers.

    whether a page/site is ‘safe’ to acquire links from,
    (If it is relevant.) or whether certain offers (you know the kind – ‘$100 for 50 permanent text links guaranteed to boost your Google rankings!’) were worthwhile.” (This is the kind of garbage that stoked Google’s ire.)

    For example, we’d probably catch a lot of very obvious/bad link farms, but not necessarily many private blog networks or paid links from reputable sites,”

    I do not think Google is looking at sites to discover link spam.
    I suspect they are looking at relevance.

    In the Mayday update Google made a major change to the PageRank calculation formula with the addition of relevance.
    I would say that the latest updates are the recalculation of the site’s linking profile using the new PR factors.

    best,
    Reg

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