As we’ve become increasingly aware of the daily spam trying to infiltrate our lives, we’ve put in place barriers like pop-up blockers and spam filters to help protect us against unintentional click-throughs or even malicious attacks. But while the dreaded spam emails of the past may seem like a relic of a different period in our lives, there are currently other methods of trying to cultivate your click, specifically in Google’s search engine results pages (SERP).
Types of Spam That Appear in Google
Spam comes in all shapes and sizes when it comes to SERP. From incorrect local listings to spammy content using tricks to gain better rankings, these are all issues that search engine optimizers must be aware of. We’ve previously written about how Google is continuously updating their spam algorithms to help fight spam. Here are the most common types of spam that we’ve seen in search engine results pages.
- How to Report a Spam Website to Google
- How to Report a Google Business Profile
- How to Report Link Schemes
- How to Report a Malicious Website or Software to Google
- How to Report a Phishing Website to Google
Spammy content uses techniques to circumvent Google’s quality standards to get better placement in search results. Some of these spammy techniques are listed below:
- Hidden text or links can be placed in content to obscure it from users and manipulate search engine rankings.
- Cloaking URLs occurs when websites present different content to users than they do to search engine crawlers.
- Sneaky redirects are when users get redirected to a different page while search engine crawlers do not.
- Doorway pages are pages or sites that are created to rank for specific search queries, leading to multiple similar pages in results.
How to Report a Spam Website to Google
To report websites that are abusing spammy content to Google, use their Spam Reporting Form.
Local Listings Spam through Google Business Profile
Businesses that may want to get ahead through questionable means often can use spammy methods on their Google Business Profile to gain an edge against their competition. For example, changing an address so your business is shown in a more populated area would be a violation of guidelines and would be considered spammy. Another example would be stuffing the title of your business to include keywords that would allow your business to rank better. In a recent poll, BrightLocal reported that the most common types of spam SEOs have seen include:
- Fake reviews
- Keyword stuffing in the business name
- Multiple listings for the same business
- Fake business
- Ineligible listings
How to Report a Google Business Profile
To report Google Business Profiles with misleading information or fraudulent activity, you can submit a complaint using the Google Business Redressal Complaint Form.
Paid Links Spam
Internal and external linking is an integral part of any good SEO strategy. Getting authoritative, category-related websites to link to your quality content can be an indicator to Google that your content should rank higher in results. The algorithm Google uses to measure this linking is called PageRank. However, some participate in link schemes – such as the buying and selling of links from websites that pass PageRank – which as a result diminishes the quality of search results. This action is a violation in the eyes of Google and can greatly impact a website’s rankings.
How to Report Link Schemes
To report websites that are participating in link schemes, use the Google Paid Link Report Form.
Malware or Phishing Spam
Websites that are ranking well in Google search engine results pages may be infected with malware or distributing malicious unwanted executables. Google performs routine checks on websites to see if they are hosting malware that can negatively impact user experience.
How to Report a Malicious Website or Software to Google
You can report malware or any malicious or unwanted software to the Google Badware Report Form.
Websites with malicious intent can sometimes make their way into ranking on Google and use phishing methods to deceive and negatively impact susceptible users. Phishing often occurs when a page is designed to resemble the look of another real page in an attempt to steal personal information, such as Social Security Numbers, credit card information or account login information. You see this a lot in the eCommerce sector with apparel, as phishing websites are created to match your favorite brand website or use it to collect information on visitors.
How to Report a Phishing Website to Google
To report phishing websites, you can use the Google Report Phishing Form.
As you can see, there are many types of spam to be aware of when it comes to Google’s search engine results pages. Knowing how to fight spam can be a great offensive strategy to help your website rank better and help clean up the results at the same time.