On the Google Search Central website, the company reported that something called “SpamBrain”, an AI-based spam prevention system that it’s been developing since 2018 has helped it identify and reduce hacked spam by 70% and gibberish spam on hosting platforms by 75% this year over 2020.
To clarify, “hacked spam” consists of compromised websites that have been infected and have potentially had harmful recording software installed on them so that when you visit them your privacy and data are targets. “Gibberish spam” is where a bad actor intentionally automates the creation of many webpages with text and characters (which never really make sense) on them for the sake of flooding Google Search using keywords.
Links still help us discover and rank results in meaningful ways, and we made a lot of progress in 2021 to protect this core signal. We launched a link spam update to broadly identify unnatural links and prevent them from affecting search quality.
Google Search Central
You may be wondering why you ought to care if you’re not visiting these websites, and well, if you use Google Search, then these are the results that come up when you type in a search query! If malicious hackers or spam bots are creating this much noise on a search engine, then many people are likely clicking on links that rank high (these sites try to manipulate Google’s search algorithm) and being affected by spam or simply wasting their time when they could be getting answers they need.
As scams like this are a big threat to your safety online, Google launched several algorithm updates this past year that resulted in a 40% reduction to “scammy results”. Additionally, SpamBrain was extended to address online harassment and to reduce the surfacing of sites that have exploitative removal practices.
Besides spam, we also work hard to reduce low quality content and ranking manipulations by fighting behaviors that attempt to narrowly avoid violating our quality guidelines, but are still manipulative in nature and degrade the user experience.
Google Search Central
Every time the algorithm is updated, it causes major ripples around the world for business owners and the like, but I do feel that these sorts of updates are necessary as more important than anything is protecting users from being taken advantage of! Let me know in the comments if you knew “SpamBrain” existed. I didn’t before today, and was personally excited to read about it. It’s also got a pretty cool name, wouldn’t you agree?