Google is the search engine most of us go to when looking for information; however, not all pages are created with good intent. In 2020 the platform discovered 40 billion spammy pages every day – a 60% increase from the previous year, as covered in episode 54 of the #TWIMshow. That is why they invested in innovations to improve the user’s experience against spam pages and ensure online safety and protection.
Last month Google introduced new artificial intelligence (AI) tools to help fight against a range of spam. While they’ve always been working on reducing it, the advances in AI will provide a revolutionized approach that’s promising 99% of spam blockage. Google shares that the AI is effective at catching known, as well as new spam trends. The example they provide is that they managed to reduce sites with auto-generated and scraped content by 80%+, compared to previous years.
One of Google’s biggest challenges in 2020 was hacked spam due to a large number of vulnerable websites. Hacked spam occurs when a website has been hacked, and it redirects users to spammy pages. According to Google, preventing sites from getting hacked is easier and more efficient than recovering sites from a hack. This is why they encourage users to protect their sites and utilize all security measures available.
Spam fighting algorithms focus on important searches, so users shouldn’t worry about landing on spam, for example, when searching for a COVID testing site nearby. Without the AI technology, users looking for a nearby COVID testing site might be landing on pages with frequent, random pop-ups or redirects to spam pages.
The following diagram illustrates the process GoogleBot goes through when looking for spam.
GoogleBot, also referred to as a crawler, is software that crawls the web and finds pages within Google’s search index. It can catch spam as it encounters it so that the spam page doesn’t reach the index. While 99% of the spam gets detected and blocked, a dedicated team works on the remaining 1% and takes manual actions.
What could this mean for website owners?
The advances of AI have also contributed to understanding sites’ content, which has helped with improving the way Google ranks product reviews, informational, and shopping sites. The platform understands that researching products before making a purchase is vital for users, and they wanted to reward content with more in-depth research and valuable information. This can be advantageous for you if you aim to provide the most helpful information about your products or services. While the spam-fighting AI was introduced recently, there is not enough observation to discuss the impact on advertisers. However, some sites may receive higher rankings due to the removal of spam sites that were previously ranked high.
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