Webspam is a serious issue that plagues internet users around the world. Though there are a number of measures put in place to keep search results free from spam, it still happens on a regular basis. Google has been taking solid steps to minimize the effects of webspam so that search experience for users would be better and of higher quality. Google worked with webmasters around the world to ensure that people can make use of the internet without being annoyed or harmed by webspam.
What were the trends for webspam in 2016?
There were quite a few takeaways from the research conducted on Webspam in the past year. The biggest issue is security; hacking is at an all time high with 32% more websites getting hacked in 2016 compared to the year before that. So, Google did it’s best to improve and create more resources to help out webmasters deal with the aftermath of being hacked.
It was noticed that webspam was not the only issue compromising the integrity and quality of websites; a lot of sites were also affected by ad injectors, malicious unwanted software and social engineering. Google made an effort to increase cyber security for its users and protect them from deceptive download buttons by implementing stronger Safe Browsing practices.
Google search is becoming more and more mobile oriented as people have begun to use the search capabilities of smart phones at every opportunity. In keeping with this trend, there was an increase in webspam that targeted mobile users specifically. There was a big rise in spam that would redirect visitors to other websites without the webmaster ever knowing about it. This is usually done by introducing widgets to webmaster pages or through ad units.
The fight against spam
Google devised quite a few strategies to deal with webspam in 2016.
- Google search algorithms were refined and upgraded to tackle the problem of webspam. One of the major steps towards that goal was to make one of Google’s core ranking algorithm Penguin work in real-time. There were other changes made in the way Google ranks websites.
- Google manually identified spam that slipped through the search algorithms’ radar and sent out more than 9 million messages to webmasters around the globe intimating them about spam issues they were facing. Google Analytics security notifications were sent out more frequently as well.
- Google used both algorithmic and manual quality checks to root out websites with structured data markup that didn’t pass quality standards. Over 10,000 such websites were identified and actions were taken against them.
How working with webmasters helped
Google’s fight against webspam wouldn’t have been as effective as it has been without support and contribution from webmasters as well as users.
- Globally 180,000 spam reports were submitted by users in 2016 and after careful examination of the validity of those reports, 52% of the reported websites were found to be spam.
- Google conducted over 170 live events and online events around the globe to spread awareness about the growing menace of webspam and how to counter it. A total of over 150,000 webmasters, website owners and digital marketers attended those events.
- Google continued to help website owners and webmasters through its Webmaster Help Forums. Over 67,000 questions were asked in those forums and most have those had Best responses from Googlers and other contributors.
Information Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog