Google released its annual search spam report revealing that SpamBrain, a machine learning-based spam identification system, took action on six times as many spammy sites in 2021 than in 2020.
By identifying these sites, Google claims a 70% reduction in hacked spam and a 75% reduction in gibberish spam on hosted platforms.
By recognizing sites with disruptive or malicious behavior, Google was able to keep 99% of searches spam-free.
SpamBrain demonstrates continuous improvement of Google AI
Although Google unveiled its spam detection system in 2018, this report marks the first external reference to it as “SpamBrain”.
Using machine learning, this AI platform has become more effective at detecting and canceling spam, while evolving to handle new types of spam and prevent abuse.
This includes the ability to identify sites that have been hacked or otherwise compromised to install harmful recording software on users’ machines.
Another area of improvement was identifying spam sites containing gibberish consisting of meaningless text filled with keywords.
Black Hat SEO professionals use them in an attempt to boost page rankings, sometimes even spending money on spammy links to trick search engines into increasing PageRank quality scores.
Google is committed to search quality and user safety
In an effort to improve search quality and protect user safety, Google claims significant progress in combating link spam, scams and online harassment.
A mid-year link spam update improved the search engine’s link rating, improving its ability to detect unnatural links in multiple languages and exclude them from search results.
Last year, consumers lost over $5.8 billion to fraud, a 70% increase from 2020. To combat this, Google has expanded its user safety program.
Building on the previous year’s work, it was able to provide a 40% reduction in fraudulent search results.
As part of its commitment to user safety, it has also changed its approach to online harassment and how results are handled for queries that may be malicious. This includes sites that use “pay to remove” content.
Fighting Ranking Manipulation
Recognizing the unethical practices that some sites use to circumvent its quality guidelines, Google has also taken steps to reduce ranking manipulation. This includes changing the way product reviews are handled and the ability for users to report manipulative practices.
In 2021, Google rolled out two major updates to how it rates product reviews:
Google says these updates succeeded in reducing low-quality reviews while promoting those with better content and author expertise.
Source: Google Search Center
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