Matt Cutts is addressing the ever-present topic of spam again, only this time it’s on the Official Google Blog. Cutts wrote about coming across spam links in the search results. He says this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to, thanks to Google’s anti-spam metrics.
One of those metrics is data from search logs. Many have worried what Google does with the data collects, and Cutts assures that data such as IP and cookie information is used to help improve the search results.
“The IP and cookie information is important for helping us apply this method only to searches that are from legitimate users as opposed to those that were generated by bots and other false searches. For example, if a bot sends the same queries to Google over and over again, those queries should really be discarded before we measure how much spam our users see. All of this–log data, IP addresses, and cookie information–makes your search results cleaner and more relevant.”
But Cutts is also aware that the war against spam continues on:
“If you think webspam is a solved problem, think again. Last year Google faced a rash of webspam on Chinese domains in our index. Some spammers were purchasing large amounts of cheap .cn domains and stuffing them with misspellings and porn phrases. Savvy users may remember reading a few blogs about it, but most regular users never even noticed. The reason that a typical searcher didn’t notice the odd results is that Google identified the .cn spam and responded with a fast-tracked engineering project to counteract that type of spam attack. Without our logs data to help identify the speed and scope of the problem, many more Google users might have been affected by this attack.”
Another unsolved webspam problem – that was not addressed by Cutts – is letting humans in on the reporting of spam. Over at Blogspot, supporters of Presidential candidate Barack Obama have reportedly been flagging anti-obama blogs as “spam.” As a result, several of the blogs, including ones created by Hilary Clinton supporters, have been frozen.
Of course, this problem is experienced in the ‘paid links debate’ as well. Google accepts anonymous reports about paid links, which is an easy way for competitors to attempt to flag each other out of the results.
What do you think of Cutts comments? Do they reduce your fears about Google’s data collection? Should Google let third parties flag sites? Let us know in the comments.