Google Talks About Its Spam Problem: "Search Quality is Better Than it Has Ever Been" - But We Can Do Better

For a while now, one of the most persistent memes in the tech world is that Google is suffering from a major spam problem and that the quality of its search results have suffered greatly from this. Google today took its critics head-on in a post on its official blog. According to Google’s Matt Cutts – the face of the company’s anti-spam policies – “Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness.”

Cutts also notes that Google is anything but passive about spam and is more than aware of the fact that others are trying to game its index. According to Cutts, the search team has also recently launched a “redesigned document-level classifier” that is better at detecting spam on individual pages. The company is also currently in the process of evaluating other changes to its index that will mainly affect sites that just copy others’ content.

Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts. Image via Wikipedia

Most interestingly, Google is looking at giving its users more ways to “give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites.” Cutts didn’t go into any details as to what this could look like, but it’s easy to imagine an explicit “report this link as spam” link on Google’s search results pages. If you install this Chrome plugin, you can already report spammy links to Google today.

Specifically, Cutts also addresses the question whether Google keeps spammy sites in its index because they serve Google ads. His response: [list]

  • Google absolutely takes action on sites that violate our quality guidelines regardless of whether they have ads powered by Google;
  • Displaying Google ads does not help a site’s rankings in Google; and
  • Buying Google ads does not increase a site’s rankings in Google’s search results.