Quick Indications of Low Quality Search Spam

As more and more of the web becomes spam (as a total % of the web) engines are going to get more selective about what they let in their indexes and people are going to be more selective about what they are willing to link at.

What are a few quick at-a-glance spameroooo indicators?

  • URL name - does it have 12 dashes in it? Is it a subdomain off something totally unrelated? SPAM!

  • folder names - are the exceedingly long and/or redundant? SPAM!
  • file names - are they redundant with the file paths and long? SPAM!
  • page titles, headers and content - are they so keyword rich that it is illegible? SPAM!
  • design - does it look like a 4 year old put it together? does the design not match the site? are the colors just ugly? SPAM!
  • graphics - do you use the a similar graphic to what most spammers in your industry use? SPAM!
  • ad placement - is the ad block floated left inline with the content area? SPAM!
  • outbound links - does it only link to crap off topic sites that link back? Is there a huge irrelevant link exchange area? SPAM!

I just wanted to feel like Doug for a day. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Why is it important to consider the above spammy signals? Search is self reinforcing. If just a few people who would have linked at your site do not because one of the above spam signals then you may never rise to the top to reap the fruits of a self reinforcing top ranked position.

Saturday I de-uglified a friends website by toning down its colors. That raised the ad CTR from 24% to 32% while making the site friendlier on the eyes and more linkable. There are many ways to increase earnings potential without making a site look much spammier. You have to consider linkworthiness as an opportunity cost in your site architecture and site monetization methods, especially if you are trying to maximize your revenues. The proper income maximization techniques vary greatly depending on your market, site quality and timeline.

Published: May 29, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


June 8, 2006 - 2:06pm

That's funny ;)
So you say if some site has ugly colors or 4 y.o. design then it's a spam?
I guess you're wrong "a little".

May 29, 2006 - 9:25am

Interesting Aaron, though I'm not sure I'd consider the design done by the 4 year old or the use of the common industry graphic spam. Just very poor decisions by the site owner.

In the end you're right that those sites will get less links and whether it's called spam or not it's not a good idea.

As for the de-uglification. If I was getting 24% CTR I would be thinking that all was perfect in the world and wouldn't think to change anything. Helps to disprove the theory that in order to profit from contextual advertising you need an ugly site. I've never believed that, but good to see a little proof.

May 29, 2006 - 2:50pm

Hi Aaron

This morning I am going through all of my links to review and remove spamy sites. Ones that I may have missed over the last few years, have turned spamy or now I consider spamy since I have more knowledge and higher standards.

Funny that I came across your link and read your post which is very relevant. Yes, Aaron your site passed my test :-)..

Your book plus your posts over the last few weeks and Matt's post on devaluating links prompted me to make this review.

May 29, 2006 - 5:06pm

Very Good, Aaron, actually, the thing you are doing right here creating real content linked back to you on an ever-increasing autority site related to your industry is the most effective SEO methodology in use these days.

[promo removed]

May 31, 2006 - 2:22am

I must have read that wrong, because it looks like you wrote that you have a 32% ad click through rate on a "linkable" site.

Can you please clarify?

or if that is what you really meant, could you show us?

May 31, 2006 - 6:43am

Yes the site is fairly linkable, IMHO.

Keep in mind much of its traffic is hyper-targeted, so that aids the CTR.

As far as showing the URL, it is probably not in my best interest to do so.

The whois is not under my name, the AdSense code is not mine, and it is not hosted on the same IP as my other sites. It is a site roaming wild on the www.

July 27, 2006 - 12:05am

Very Good, Aaron. But not actually, now a lot of blackSEO spamers don't use indications you wrote.

July 27, 2006 - 4:19am

>So you say if some site has ugly colors or 4 y.o. design then it's a spam?

Some may consider it as spam, and thus not link at it. A few high quality links is a big cost.

>Very Good, Aaron. But not actually

Very smart comment. But not actually.

Most automated and to scale site have obvious footprints or things about them which make them less linkable. That was the point of the post.

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