Yesterday Matt Cutts announced that Google would be cracking down on link spammers and called for people to name and shame the culprits. How will this change the way people obtain links? What will stop competitors from spamming with links to your site and reporting you to Google? Also will this affect the blogging community?
Google has said for years that they are working on new algorithms to identify link spammers and paid links but to date many companies still benefit from paid links where other ethical companies have to work hard using ethical linking techniques to get similar results. This has been a bone of contentions in the SEO world as black hat SEO’s notch up quick results and Google doesn’t always penalise them.
Matt Cutts explained in his blog yesterday that Google are taking this seriously and along with trying to change the algorithms and tools to idnetify linkspam they are calling for webmasters and the world wide wen to report link spammers. If you’ve noticed websites that appear to be paying for spammy links or spamming blog comments and forums with links to pass on Page Rank and strength then you can report this to Google.
You can do this by going to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport here you can inform Google of your concerns that a website seems to be employing link spam. Make sure you add the word “linkspam” (all one word, all lower-case) in the textarea (the last field in the form).
You can also use the shortcut
This will pre-populate the text area field to say “linkspam” in it.
To use these forms and report link spam you ust have a valid Google account and use this to sign in, Google are moving away from using the anonymous spam report form.
Proving link spam can be very difficult as there is nothing to stop a competitor from spamming a site with your website address to try and get you penalised. Although this is a rare occurance this needs to be considered by Google as they are also making this easier now a competitor can report you as well.
In the past Google has stripped the site with the links on from their PageRank, this means no strength is passed on to the other site. This is a good solution for paid links that have hundreds of links with spammy anchor texts but for innocent bloggers that don’t realise they have been spammed it is a harsh penalty.
Another thing to take into consideration is the blogosphere, many link spammers will post spammy comments in blogs, some people check these and many plug ins like Akismet will catch these, but some bloggers don’t realise this is spam and send them live or do not moderate their blogs. These are the kind of spamlinks Google should also be cracking down on.
One of the good things about a blog is it generates discussion, many bloggers encourage participation on their blogs by follwing links back after someone has commented a few times. If Google starts to penalise these links it may inhibit the discussions and community that goes on in the blogosphere.
I have mixed opinions about this as on the one side I would love for link spammers to be penalised but I am concerned about the abuse a reporting system like this could generate. I am sure Google has it covered and at the end of the day the less spam there is will make the internet a much nicer place!