Google’s Matt Cutts On “Will Search Spam Go On Forever”

Google’s head of search spam, answered some questions in the Power Searching with Google Hangout on Air #2 on October 2nd. In that video, he was asked by fellow Googler, Dan Russell a Search research scientist at Google, will search spam go on forever?

This question was asked about 36 minutes into the video, where Matt basically said he’s team has done a great job but search spam will go on forever. Here is the video and the transcript (I did my best transcribing):

Dan: There is this constant Spy vs Spy kind of thing…

Matt: Yes.

Dan: And you’re the good spies and then there the bad spies…

Matt: I hope so… Yes.

Dan: So, do you see this going on forever and ever? Or… Do you have job security?

Matt: I would love to automate myself out of a job? You know… What we try to do, is we try to come up with algorithms that will stop the problem at the root. So you don’t want to play whack a mole, you know, you don’t want to get into hand to hand combat with one spammer who can make tens of thousands of domains. You really want to try to figure out, okay… the technique he is using to rank is X, okay so how do we stop it so that X doesn’t work and that will stop that entire class…

Now, in practice, as much as you do, people are coming up with new creative attacks all the time. So we are very much in a… here is an attack today, what’s the attack going to be tomorrow?

But I think if you look at the level of spam over the years, it is relatively rare now that you do a random search and you just get off topic porn or you get something that is completely irrelevant or that leads you to a casino when you didn’t want one.

So we have made good progress, but think there is still some way to go.

Dan: So you’ve got job security, he’s got job security…

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Employees | Google: Web Search | Google: Webmaster Central | SEO: Spamming


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Alex Garrido

    lol. Pretty much eternal job security for Matt. As longest there is a way to rank in Google, there will be spammers trying to beat the system.

  • John Nagle

    It’s not impossible to stop search spam. You have to take a tough line on marginal businesses. If the business behind a commercial web site can’t be identified as a legitimate real-world business, it shouldn’t be on the first page of search results. That will crush most scraper sites, phony businesses, and other bottom feeders. That leaves only the big well-known spammers, like Demand Media and AOL. Those you blacklist explicitly.

    If Google applied this criterion to their search, 36% of their AdSense customer sites, and about 10% of Google’s revenue, would disappear. That’s why Google search will continue to have spam.

    Bing, though, has potential. They don’t have a Doubleclick/AdSense type revenue stream to protect. Bing could take a tougher line on spam than Google.

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