Like a hot dog, one does not often associate the word "pure" with "spam". In fact, one is generally best not to think of what it's made of – unless you're Google, of course.
Since 0 AG (After Google), Google has had to contend with pesky webmasters and SEO practitioners looking for ways to rank sites as highly as possible as quickly as possible, often regardless of what that actually did to the search results.
Any decade-plus veteran of SEO will remember the "Wild West" days of SEO and, if they were trying to stick to pure white hat strategies, their frustration.
For years Google told the SEO community that buying links was bad, content scraping and spinning was trouble, blatant link schemes would get you penalized, and that you should focus on good content that people will want to link to naturally.
The problem? The algorithm they had couldn't compete with what are now deemed "unethical practices". Webmasters and SEO professionals who "cheated the system" tended to do well.
Fortunately, for those who want to actually create a good user experience (including Google), they've figured a lot out over the past few years.
To illustrate the point they launched a page earlier this year on fighting spam that actually shows real-time examples of pages they're kicking from the index for being "pure spam". I've got to admit, the first time I heard about this manual Google spam action I half chuckled and thought, "Well that's a pretty bold explanation."
The question then becomes, "What does this mean?" The this end let's take a look at a few of the real-time examples of pure spam that Google was displaying (as of the writing of this article) and think about what they might have seen there that qualified it as "pure spam".
10 Examples Of 'Pure Spam'
On the page Google notes of those listed, "These pages are examples of 'pure spam.' They appear to use aggressive spam techniques such as automatically generated gibberish, cloaking and scraping content from other websites."
Remember, this is a manual action and so a human actually looked at the following pages and deemed them to fit this criteria. Here is what they're seeing:
Example 1: NorthCarolinaPhoneLookup.com
This page, with a copyright date of 2008, is a brief blurb of repetitive content at the top with a simple list of numbers below in hopes of ranking for queries for those numbers. For anyone who's ever looked up a phone number you'll know the frustration caused by such sites and why Google wants them gone.
The service isn't unique to this site and the site itself is a duplication of other sites that are likely to be hit soon. Simply substitute the words "north carolina" in the into text for any other state and run a search for it and you'll see what I mean.
Example 2: Cuzb.com
One need only read the content to understand why this page was marked as "pure spam". The site is English but the writer clearly is not. In looking for other pages from the site in the index, this penalty extended across the whole domain. Thanks, Google.
Example 3: QuickPayDay.Tripod.co.uk
I had to include this one simply because it was a bit of a head scratcher. The question isn't whether it's spam or not (one can't argue that it's thin on content) but rather how it even got to the point of a manual review. Sure it's got some spammy links but even the archives couldn't find content so one might think basic SEO factors would take care of it.
Example 4: DMMmovie.biz
To determine why this site was classified as "pure spam" simply read the following sentence with me:
"Gru is a modified man. No more a super-villain who needs to be the baddest of the bad people, he's now trained, with his three lovely children, his very funny gobbledygook discussing, Tic-Tac-looking minions, a creepy dog and an wicked researcher associate (Russell Brand) whose concentrate is now creating jellies and jellies."
Example 5: AntiquesHeaven.info
Aside from the only purpose of this site being to act as an affiliate site generating revenue by pushing people to eBay and Amazon, the content near the bottom of the page is copied word-for-word from Yahoo Answers.
Oh, and useless keyword stuffing such as:
"great north western telegraph company glass insulatororiental fish bowl tablesdresden lampsgeneral fireproofing co wood file cabinetart nouveau alabaster bustprimitive folk".
Example 6: PacificRimWatch.MetroBlog.com
I'm not sure what's in the water they drink while building sites that sell illegal copies of movies or maybe more, what the people who would purchase from this site sprinkled on their morning oatmeal but let's read the following sentence together:
"Brendon has been displaying Off-shore Rim upset love on this computing machine relating to weeks currently. It's safe to mention this individual desires it."
Clearly not human written and if auto-translated and not spun, they're using the worst translation tool on the planet.
And it doesn't help their case that the site language setting is Spanish as is most of the navigation.
Example 7: DC.CCJ.in.ua
There are two very clear reasons why this page has been deemed "pure spam" and we're going to even ignore the fact that all the images are broken:
- They've taken content directly from Facebook – and right in the first paragraph as well.
- The horrible spun content (for example: "Facebook password finder.The Stages of the of the certain stage. It is the smell rumour.").
"Pure spam"? Definitely.
Example 8: CouponCentral101.com
Ah, coupon sites. Admittedly, my first instinct as I saw this site was that the "pure spam" classification was due tot he fact that pretty much every link on the page is an external link to an ad site.
But then I realized that the copy on the page was taken directly from an Ezine article. How do we know it wasn't duplicated on Ezine after? The archives show us that on May 29, 2012 the site had different content and the article was posted on February 20, 2012.
So – thin, no value content, and even the content that is there is duplicated.
Example 9: HowWeightManagement.com
First look it seems that, while a little heavy-handed with the ads and footer links, not "pure spam". That is, until you read the content which contains such gems as:
"the benefits calorie burning is the only benefit of Pure Barre. According to Pure Barre, the technology to protect your joints, because it does not involve any rebound or jump. Each followed by stretching create long bulk, muscle exercise intensity part."
Thank you Google for removing this rubbish.
Example 10: RkwVik43.biz
The note I've had to add to the picture probably says enough. Google isn't a fan of content that's difficult to read. And if you read the text you'll see it varies from Minecraft to pay stubs to pubic hair. Not exactly tied together by relevancy.
There is a full litany of issues ranging from missing images (and by images I mean all of them), text such as:
"... Minecraft Force Op 1.5.2 which is finally released today and using that you can. O maior servidor de Minecraft online do mundo.Mais de 15 servidores download media de 4 mil jogadores ..."
Switching from English to Portuguese mid-paragraph isn't particularly helpful outside of a language site.
On top of that the site's content is extremely poor quality (even outside of the mix of language) and there is no focus. In short, the site would be a disaster for users.
So What is "Pure Spam"?
We all have our own definition of "pure spam" but what's more important is understanding what Google means by it. At this time and after reviewing literally hundreds of example of what they consider it to be, the focus of this penalty seems to rest on content.
There doesn't appear to be a crossover into links in what they define "pure spam" to be. Websites with this penalty should focus their attention on their content and user experience.
With that said, websites prone to a penalty such as this one likely have serious issues in their backlink profiles as well. I'm not suggesting that webmasters ignore reviewing their links in the event of this penalty, simply that links don't appear to be a major tying factor in the sites receiving it or even how Google themselves define the penalty. Best not to wait for an "unnatural links" warning however.
I pondered writing a section of this article on what to do if you receive this penalty. Heck, on the same page they list the sites being penalized they also list a number of spam strategies they're going after so it's pretty clear what's covered.
That said, I couldn't cover the subject better that fellow SEW writer Kristine Schachinger did in her article Pure Spam: What Are Google Penalties & What to Do to Recover. Well written and covers the recovery subject point-by-point.