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NEVER file a spam report!
spam reports

 2:23 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you are a little bit like me, God forbid, and have filed a spam report then you probably did it because you saw some site on the page where your site shows up, right? Maybe the site happened to be above your site and you want to get rid of it, so you file a report to Google.
Now, there is a reason that the spam site was on the same page as yours and the reason is that they all fit the algos. Yes, algos. My guess is that Google doesn't have one algo, but lots of them and the "lots" are the "spam signatures".
I have reported spam sites several times and I have written about it that the "funny" thing is that my site almost always gets hit also when the spam is removed!
So, this is my guess to what is happening. My site, and maybe yours, are too close to the spam profile (by the way, Google creates new spam profiles all the time but we just don't see it. Sometimes they don't get it right and that's when spam show up in the SERP's, just like the chinese spam sites a week or so ago. The are gone now and so is my site! Go figure!), and is removed or get a -950 penaly or a -30 penalty. The reason your site is not removed just like the spam sites, is that you have some clout left so you just get a penalty. Someone wrote that the penalites all about content, quality of content, validity of content and that is probably true and that is why you get some clout from the main Algo.
This thread could also be named: How to get rid of a competitor!

My conclusions are: Never file a spam report it you are even close to what the spam sites have been using to get into the SERP's (title and other meta tags, content etc.) because if you are you can be pretty darn sure you will be gone too!



 7:09 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I only file spam reports when the spam site targets children with adult materials, or is in some way violating the law. The rest is up to Google.


 8:17 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I file spam reports when sites use hidden texts, spurious inbound links, etc, in order to gain high ranking. Since I don't do any of those things I don't worry about becoming collateral damage.


 8:19 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

The rest is up to Google.

I'll leave it all up to Google. I can't recall the last time I ran into something that would be worth filing a spam report.

Think about your Karma. :)

And if you are apt to file spam reports on your competition, be sure your own backyard is in order first. I've read many a tale of someone filing a spam report only to find themselves nixed from the index too. That's what I call immediate Karma.


 8:30 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have filed full-fledged spam reports but not for a long time.

These days I'll sometimes submit a quick comment via the "Help Us Improve" link at the bottom of the search results, but other than that I figure it's more productive to stay focused on improving the quality of my own sites.


 8:31 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

The only times I have filed a spam report is when it is obvious, just like last year when we had millions of spam pages all over the place, and like now when I see all these chinese spam sites wanting to install virus in your computer.
Other than that, it is up Google to find it themselves. Don't like the option to have a whole society spying on you and being asked to report something "illegal"... Reminds me of Gestapo in Germany a while back...

What I was saying though, is that if your site shows up among spam sites, you better be aware of that your site fits the "spam profile", so if Google wants to remove the spam site, then your site might very well be hit too, and that is without reporting anything.
Google are doing "spam profiling" all the time and that when we get -30 and -950 penalties. At least that is what I suspect. They look at a site that is an obvious spam site, trying to get a mathematical matrix profile, runs the profile and if they are lucky the site(s) are gone. If your site fit into the matrix, you are gone too and have to file a reinclusion request or something. Getting a site back takes time since the spam matrix profiles have to be "fixed" to get your site back......


 4:53 pm on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

I only file spam reports when it is so blatantly obvious or if it's a duplicate site or a site that has scraped our content.

This may be coincidence, but it seems every time I file a spam report our own site loses traffic.


 6:43 pm on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google want to fight spam with filters. If you report a site in the same niche G will probably strengthen the filters for those keywords and cause honest sites including yours go -950.

G has a big problem with spam sites that try to install spyware / viruses so reporting a competitor for hidden text or other minor things is a waste of everyones time. The same goes for affiliate landing pages and other affiliate stuff. Leave them alone! It's the least of G's problems right now.


 6:52 pm on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have only filed a Spam report when someone had copied our content word-for-word - complete with our graphics in order to build ad-sense pages. Google never did a thing about it. go figure.


 7:10 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I frequently submit spam reports using the nifty addon for FireFox. It only takes a moment and one can never give up hope that Google will one day do something with the reports.

I file reports for sites that irritate me with their blatant spam when doing a legitimate search. This has on occasion been within my niche, though is generally not. Mostly, the reports I send are for non-English results, which are a million miles from their English counterparts as far as quality and accuracy are concerned.


 7:12 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't generally find spam in my own niche, but I do find it while doing searches, and file accordingly.

But I wish the spam report form was a little better thought out. For example, in the so-called "chinese spam" situation, I could fill out the search term I used, and the url of the results page, but asking for the domain of the spam, when it's faked in the SERPS, redirects at least a couple of times and wants to install malware on my computer - well, that's just silly. And yet it's a required field.


 7:33 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I read somewhere what happens with spam reports and re-inclusion requests and I thought it was funny, even though it is a sad thing....

Whenever someone submit a complaint/re-inclusion request, there is a bell that rings in the break room at Google. This is just so the PhD's can get a good laugh..... "Another moron hit the submit button".....

Not sure it's true but it sure seems like it.


 7:08 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

File a spam report? Never have. Never will.

Sometimes you just need to get away from the computer and see what's going on in the rest of the world. (Get a life)


 7:29 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sometimes you just need to get away from the computer and see what's going on in the rest of the world. (Get a life)

Thanks for the advice. However, when some SERP tries to install something on my computer without my permission, and I see tens of thousands of these results in the search engine, then I'm willing to put my getting a life on hold for the five to eight minutes it takes for me to file a spam report. I'm funny that way.


 11:00 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

You have to be three steps beyond clueless to not file spam reports.


 1:18 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Dont we all want clean SERP's?
Sometimes I wonder if there is more blackhats than white hats here.

See something wrong: file a report. Maybe GG will read it (not much recently obviously). If your site gets caught then it was probably already on the edge.

Now with what Google is currently showing up on page one for many keywords...there are 1,000's of report to submit each day I guess.


 8:20 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't know. I filed a spam complaint against

googles search query...

because any query I did through that website which was supposed to be a search engine which described itself with words its services could not match and also met at least two of the criterias listed below and thus it was reasonable to make a spam report about a bad neighborhood..

- Misleading or repeated words
- Page does not match Google's description
- Deceptive redirects
- Duplicate site or pages

Of course I elaborated on the subject in the "other" box, as a final statement and a few suggestions, and since then I haven't used the search function on the website in question.

But of course, i'm not a competitor either, but I do sincerely hope it hurts my rankings for my private websites. If I can rank as the last result which google would ever show to anybody for my chosen keywords in google, i'll be a happy man. Goal accomplished.

Edit: Removed link, forgot about the link policy, sorry

[edited by: RandomDot at 8:57 pm (utc) on Sep. 20, 2007]


 6:45 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Unsurprisingly many of us use 'black hat' techniques. Some are blacker-than-black and some are only a little grubby.

That's not the issue.

The issue is the reason why we need to use such techniques. It's nothing short of an arms race. In order to compete against others who are using such techniques we frequently need to adopt or adapt the same methods.

That doesn't mean that we like to do so.

Spam reports reduce the ability of everyone to use those techniques, including the person who wrote the report. That's fine, it stings us all, but it means that more positive factors gain importance; things like Trust Rank, SERP-CTR and even old-fashioned Page Rank are able to work much better in the absense of black-hat SEO. Provided of course that we're trying to promote a site worthy of promotion, that's a good thing as it means that the dominant factors become those which spam sites find very difficult to obtain.

A perfect example of this is the Paid Links affair. I've paid for links in order to gain an advantage in the SERPs, but that advantage is only to counteract the advantage gained by others who too are buying or otherwise shadily procuring links. The more Google clamps down on paid links the more I lose the advantage I paid for; but the less I need to pay for such an advantage.

As a community I think we can be divided between those who undertake SEO to promote websites to a position which is fair and justified by the website itself, and those who undertake SEO to promote websites to a position higher than they should reasonably deserve. In the former case, it makes very good sense to issue spam reports and to help Google (and other engines) to tackle spam at every possible opportunity. In the latter case we depend upon spam techniques to achieve our results and it is likely that our self-protectionist instincts will stop us at the submit button.


 12:17 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hear hear.

I'm in the UK. The majority of my clients want to be found for 'Service + Location'. Once they're top for that they usually end up somewhere in the top 10 for 'Service'.

I always tell them that they should never expect number 1 for 'Service' unless they cover the whole of the UK.

To me black hat is trying to get found for what you don't do, or compromising people's property (websites, computers etc) to get found. Anything else goes.

Years ago I used to file spam reports if I saw competitors doing 'naughty' stuff. Now I don't bother, because most of the naughty stuff seriously compromises how a human sees your site anyway. What's the point of ranking if you bounce everyone? Not only that, sites are usually ranking in spite of naughty stuff, NOT because of it.


 2:27 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

The following are the top 7 sites in my field, ordered according to links reported by Yahoo Site Explorer. Links in round brackets, Google position in square brackets:

SITE A (4,667) [#1]

SITE B (42,718) [#2]

SITE C (589) [#3]

SITE D (155) [#4]

SITE E (1,112) [#5]

SITE F (186) [#6]

SITE G (25) [#7]

It's quite clear from the link numbers that buying huge amounts of paid links works. It has propelled the top two sites to where they are (and this is how it happened. these two sites were late entries to the market).

These two sites are also subject to by far the most complaints from customers (on independent forums) owing to poor service.

It is these 'rogue' sites, which have gained their high level of Google traffic (and inherent customer trust) through spam (paid link) techniques, that I submit spam reports about.

This ultimately helps the customer.


 9:24 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)


OK.... you've convinced me.

Where are they buying their links?


 5:09 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well I'm not convinced (unless you made a mistake in the number of links for the top site).

Site A has a 10th of the links of site B yet outranks it. Same with D and E.

So lots of links work, but less ones of a higher quality (in Google's eyes) work better.

Spam reports of this sort are in my view such a negative way to do SEO, by removing the sites above yours. If you want your site to rank higher then get the content together and get your link thinking hat on. If you believe that your brand is better than those above you then go for their spot. Build your site, build its presence and build your business. Then when you get to the top you won't be beaten by bulk link buyers.


 7:11 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Arctrust, thanks to the wonder of Yahoo Site Explorer I know exactly on which sites the links are. Where they bought them from I don't know. The link selling sites also feature in my spam reports.


get your link thinking finger on

I find that hilarious. You mean find a broker and throw piles of cash at them for thousands of crappy links hoping Google will not discount all of them. Well it's one way to go I suppose!

The problem I see with the 'buy masses of links' approach is that the buying site will be getting spam reported and will eventually (hopefully) be the victim of a -30, -950 penalty. Site B above was out of Google for 2 years between 2004 and 2006, presumably on such a penalty. They will have lost potentially £hundreds of thousands during this period. I expect both sites A and B to be similarly penalized in due course.

I do link building through legit means. The closest I've come to buying a link is offering free products to customers willing to link from their sites, which is more like conventional advertising.

I consider it wrong that throwing money at link buying should be able to distort the SERPS like it does.

This misleads customers leading them to make wrong purchasing decisions and be ultimately dissatisfied. It is by this mechanism that manipulative link buying also harms Google.


 11:33 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Actually I said get your link thinking *HAT* on, and no I didn't mean go and buy a load. You've misunderstood me.

My point is that 4,000 links can outrank 40,000 links.

The more competitive the market, the more link buying will go on. But bought links are not the only way and certainly not the BEST way to rank high.

That was my point.

I consider it wrong that throwing money at link buying should be able to distort the SERPS like it does.

Do you consider it 'wrong' to throw money at an expensive ethical SEO to optimise your site? Do you consider it 'wrong' to hire a marketing expert to help you improve your brand awareness by articles / press releases, social SEO and link-baiting?


 1:18 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

My list above goes some way to proving that buying links en mass works and distorts SERPS.

Do you consider it 'wrong' to throw money at an expensive ethical SEO to optimise your site? Do you consider it 'wrong' to hire a marketing expert to help you improve your brand awareness by articles / press releases, social SEO and link-baiting?

No. I consider it wrong to buy mass loads of links (usually anchor text targetted) on sites irrelevant to the topic from which no direct traffic can be expected. This is what site A and B above have done.


 2:20 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do link building through legit means. The closest I've come to buying a link is offering free products to customers willing to link from their sites, which is more like conventional advertising.

this is the same as paying dollars.
this is the same as exchanging links on reciprocal basis.
this is the same as exchanging links on A-B-C basis
it is called "barter"

and buying links is just advertising. only google is trying to change the meaning of some words.


 5:16 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

i love all this talk of "right" "wrong" "white hat" "black hat"

If you wanna do the "right thing" I suggest you:

- quit SEO and join a monastery

- quit SEO and find a solution for world hunger

- quit SEO and find a cure for cancer

- offer your goods/services at your costs with no mark-up

- continue your current pricing and give 90% of profits to a worthy charity
(leaving you just enough to eat, clothe, and board yourself and family with bare necessities)

- <insert noble cause here that makes the world a better place with complete self-sacrifice>

Other than that, please get off the holy bandwagon.

We get enough "I am holy and do not evil" from Goog rhetoric.

However, if you still want to be an SEO/website that makes profits, I suggest you study what works and take into account your level of risk aversion vs. ROI to the techniques that you might use to increase your rankings/exposure.

That's business.

Leave the rest to your discussions with your priest/spiritual advisor/shaman/witch doctor/wiccan leader
or whoever else you consult to sleep well at night.


 5:31 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)


I agree totally, or like the ND residents say after each prayer: "Yah' sure yah' betcha" :)

I think GOOG put too much importance on links in their algo and that is why they come up with thing we can NOT do. If we want a link from another site, just because we want traffic from that site, why would GOOG care if we traded it, asked for it or bought it? I have said for a long time now, and got beat up about it also, that it is none of GOOG's business how we get links to our sites. GOOG needs to change their friggin algo and go with us and not telling us what not to do! The rely too heavily on "link juice" and that's totally wrong, but it is too late now for them to change it since it is a major part in their own linking scheme algo..... Why don't they just start showing sites with the right content, sites that show what people searched for? Shouldn't have anything to do with if I bought a link or not. I think GOOG has become paranoid, thinking we always want to fool them. I am sure, since there is a way to trick their algo, that people do fool them, but most people don't. It's only in the mind of the Search team......


 5:37 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

You're preaching to the choir. :)

I've said numerous times that Brin and Page need to take a break from their $35 billion and create a new algo.
(lol, don't see that happening soon.)

Until then, i'll play the game.
Evaluate my tactics on a ROI vs. Risk assessment.
Not complain when I see my competitors using techniques i don't have the ba#$? to use.
And smile at those, who are too afraid to use my tactics and wonder why we're beating them in the SERPS.


 5:49 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I believe that because Google is going after any site trying to manipulate their rank by buying links that those sites with 10s and hundreds of thousands of links will someday drop in rank because they are obviously not examples of "natural linking".

Here is similar statistics for keywords in my market (3 words). I carried it a bit further by comparing PR of home page and how many pages on the site and deducted total links from their own pages to see if their own page's links were causing the rank.

Rank in Google, PR, (Links via Yahoo) /pages on site/
*links not counting their own pages*

G.rank PR Y! links Pages links-self
----- --- ------ ------ --------
Site #1 PR7 (1602) /823/ *971*
Site #2 PR7 (433,450 /105,812/ *422,677*
Site #3 PR6 (108,348) /29,607/ *81,069*
Site #4 PR5 (1019) /120/ *922*
Site #5 PR6 (278,265) /32,804/ *271,919*
Site #6 PR5 (553,806) /3591/ *543,753*
Site #7 PR6 (12,627) /3333/ *9853*
Site #8 PR5 (973) /281/ *692*
Site #9 PR5 (18,724) /64/ *18,683*
Site #10 PR6 (27,838 /3698/ *23,310*

This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37 ( [1] 2 > >
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