• daveintheuk

    It isn’t just the spammers’ spirits Google are crushing, but those of a lot of independent publishers and small businesses.

    Not so much because of the spam team, but with products like “Knowledge” Graph and their piss-poor local search results which intercept the easy questions with their lazy content (where is the added value, Google – it is just UGC or bought in data?).

    The thing is, most publishers also have content for these queries, usually a lot more detailed and put together by an expert rather than just grabbed from some free/cheap source of data… these were the bread-and-butter queries for a lot of publishers; not just in that they provided some revenue but in terms of allowing users to discover their sites (and perhaps learn something more too).

    The argument that people will still click through to other results isn’t valid either; Google knows how to control user behavior – and knows that most people will accept the first “answer” they’ve been given.

    Too many small publishers are being driven out of business by this behaviour from Google… they can compete with other websites on a level playing field – but not against Google’s own content with its favourable positioning.

    When we wake up to see the number of organic SERPs visible above the fold has shrunk AGAIN (or indeed just shrunk to 7 – WHY?); when the font size of Google’s content increases AGAIN; when organic gets bumped down AGAIN etc etc…. it breaks our spirit when we know there is NOTHING we can do about this.

  • Piotr Budakiewicz

    interesting story. Good example – Polish SERP’s. Clear spam website
    with content translated from English by machine with no sense at all is number one in organic
    results on “short term loan” phrase. And guess what, same spamy
    website is second and third. Well done Google, amazing job!

  • Mark

    Google already broke the spirits of innocent small businesses with Panda, might as well go after real spammers for once.

  • hGn

    The collateral victims of the Matt Cutts experiments are TOO MUCH MORE than the spammers that these algorithms are really stopping or frustrating.

    The sickly obsession and personal desire for revenge that Matt Cutts has against spammers, has ruined the lives of many innocent people.

    I wonder, when this guy is going to be aware of that? the good thing is that KARMA exists.

  • Cookiemonster

    Big shock! Scroogling all over the place. To Google, anyone not paying for traffic is a spammer!

  • steffen

    this also explains some strange volatile google adsense ctr changes. so when some stupid google algorithms think you are a spammer you can be sure that your adsense income performs with penalties under fair market prices

  • nooyawka212

    Matt Cutts is a 19th century moralizer in charge of a 21st century toy. He seems to think that the “bad guys” will give up the fight with the “good guys” because the “good guys” will send them to the corner to wash out their mouths. How quaint.

    What he misses is that he is in a struggle for money. As long as the “bad guys” think they have a way of getting money they will keep coming back. And they will keep coming back to defeat the self-appointed “good guys” who both they and a big part of the world do not thinks is so good after all.

    I have no idea if Matt Cutts has children and has experience disciplining children. If he had children and he tried this form of discipline on them he would have learned that kids will find a way to frustrate him. When you discipline children and tell them you are the good guy and they are the bad guy, all they learn his how to hide from you better the next time they try to evade you.

    And they will try harder to hide from you and evade you the higher and mightier they think you are. There is nothing as satisfying to naughty children as defeating the tin-pot authority which wants to punish them.

  • Arun

    The most powerful spammer is “Google”.

  • http://www.barryadams.co.uk/ Barry Adams

    Yeah because a multi-billion dollar mega corporation wanting to ‘break the spirits’ of a few self-employed search engine fanatics is not despicable and morally bankrupt AT ALL.

  • BlackRock Advertising

    Thanks Barry Schwartz
    Great Post. This is really informative.

  • Teresa Rothaar

    That’s just creepy.

  • rocketraja

    So he says … deny people money who is spamming google and they too have algorithm in place….. why the heck should we bothered about who is spamming google ? Every business/individual has a motive that is “profit” which is end goal at end of day.. you google are running a non-profit entity ? once again you say indirectly your algorithm is impotent.

  • http://www.irishwonder.com IrishWonder

    So petty of them… Wish they put all that effort into making a better algorithm instead.

  • http://www.irishwonder.com IrishWonder

    But luckily they come from a position of complete lack of understanding of the blackhat economics… Blackhats do not bother disavowing their links or creating quality content Google could scrape and use or doing any other such stupid shit, or even watching these endless self-congratulatory PR videos they put out – blackhats are busy rolling out 100 new sites in place of every 10 Google drops. Google is chasing their own tail for many many years – close one hole, ten others open. Blackhats will persist for as long as there is money in online traffic. They have actually been pushing the search engines to evolve – if not for their inquisitive minds, we would have probably still been living with Altavista. The day Google is no longer spammed will mean the end of Google as it would only happen when there is no traffic to be had from it any more.

  • http://www.irishwonder.com IrishWonder

    Creepy as it comes… a video of over an hour in length??? Brainwashing in action. And the real reason is merely this: http://searchengineland.com/retailers-spending-record-levels-on-paid-search-in-2013-holiday-season-180033 – make everyone pay.

  • Pat Grady

    Eventually, you’ve got to publicly name and shame the large companies who are involved with nasty partners – the bad guys themselves don’t care about their reputation, or someone trying to break their spirits – they already know they’re involved in a perpetual game of cat and mouse, they don’t mind being chased. But they partner with good guys all of the time, it is those good guys who will react to pressure applied.

    Example in today’s news: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jabezlebret/2013/12/19/affiliate-theft-could-be-costing-you-millions/
    Bad guys are ripping off Best Buy… they do it through large well-known networks, and nobody pressures those networks at all.

    Matt, you can’t break their spirits, they have none. We will judge you by your effectiveness – so don’t hunt endless numbers of scoundrels, aim at the partners, pipes and tools they all use.

    Similarly, realize that Search Spam isn’t an island, it’s one of many techniques bad actors use – unite with other disciplines to cross police our ecosystem, because it’s more effective.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Such a great point, Pat. The successful dirt bags become real companies and somehow size creates the illusion of legitimacy.

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    I agree Pixelrage. And then to follow up with such pomposity as “break the spirits of spammers in order to encourage them to change their course of action” is just gut-wrenching. Google wants our money and they want us to spend it in Adwords so the best way of doing that is …… f*** up the ranking system. I do not have a problem with commercial entities driving their business forward, but to hide it behind this bullshit is just nauseating.

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    I do like succinctness !!

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    Every time I see this guy ‘pronounce’ from his pulpit, I feel like puking

  • Teresa Rothaar

    Exactly. So long as you buy AdWords, you can have as much garbage content as you want on your site, and with as many incoming links as you like, regardless of the source. This isn’t about UX; it’s about Google making money from paid ads.

  • asdas

    I guess the end justifies the means ?

  • iAmAttila

    Google doesn’t want to break the spirit of spammers, google wants mom and pop shops that relied on getting a little bit of local SEO by paying a wiz kid $50 bucks a month to start using adwords.

    They want to kill SEO so people flock to adwords. After all, google is a corporation. Corporation is all about quarterly positive profit reports. If the profits don’t rise, share holders get angry and we don’t dare want that!

    So, how do you increase profits? You do plenty of evil – objective: increase profits every 3 months! How? Doesn’t matter!

  • mellymouse

    So you want to break our spirits. Then well done.

    You certainly broke mine and my family business. Just because our website sells our products, does not have a huge scope for creating “great content” based on what we sell, and had participated in link exchanges with related sites (as most webmasters did) back circa 2002 – 2004.. You decide we are not worthy of a place on the top pages anymore.

    Yet, we had a great (growing) customer base, repeat customers, new happy customers. Now the top pages are full of Amazon results and similar.

    So, we “try” creating more “compelling” pages. We create social channels (even though they are useless for what we do), we tidy up our site, fix any errors, we modernize it, we use better “unique” images, we make sure we are not “over optimized”, we contact old related sites to “remove” links, we disavow, we create a blog, we look at others on the top pages and try to be slightly more like them.

    Nothing. After 2 years of trying.

    Yay, Google really supports small business.

  • http://www.tylerherrick.com Tyler Herrick

    What a ridiculous statement. I couldn’t disagree more.

    The guy is the head of the Webspam team, why do you assume its a obsessive personal desire? So you’re saying that if Google can’t get it 100% correct the first time, that they shouldn’t try? Where’s your data on how many legitimate people have been ruined vs. the number of spammers thwarted? It’s all heresy and fear mongering without any data to back it up; and one of the few companies that can actually provide that data is saying that it’s worth it. You think you know better than them? You think their intent is to purposely ruin the legitimate businesses that help ‘support’ Google?

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    It saddens me greatly Mellymouse, that I have to agree with you. And then to read such regurgitated tripe from Matt Cutts is depressing.
    We all know the quality of SERPS has declined and is now dominated by pages from major corporations/retailers.

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    “You think their intent is to purposely ruin the legitimate businesses that help ‘support’ Google?”
    Either they have monumentally cocked up the system (look at Google+ Places/Local for goodness sake), or
    They do not care about the damage they are doing to small businesses because profits are still climbing.