Archive for December, 2009

Is Google’s Real-Time Spam a Problem?

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Google recently released a new real-time element to their search engine results pages. When phrases with a decent amount of buzz are searched, Google pulls messages from real-time social sites like Twitter and puts them on the page. Almost immediately after people started realizing Google made this change, articles started being written addressing how to game the system and get links on top of popular SERPs.

Google real-time results example

Some people are saying Google created a new system of spam, but I’m not completely sure that’s the case. Some spam is coming through right now, but why would people believe it’s going to stay that way? Google has an entire team dedicated to Web spam, and they’d almost definitely be focusing on new aspects of the SERPs that introduce spam at the top of popular queries.

Any articles that come out are notifying Google of exactly how people might take advantage of the system, and that gives Google a starting point for how to combat it. Most of the articles I’ve read are written by SEOs who are unhappy with how easy the new system is to spam, so they’re purposefully letting Google know what’s going on. Since SEOs are doing some of the work for Google’s spam team, it’ll be even easier for them to fix this problem.

There’s really no excuse for this spam to be present after it’s released for a couple of weeks. A lot of the spam tactics should’ve been dealt with before Google released the real-time results, and the spam that is there now should be dealt with once Google figures out a way to determine what social accounts aren’t spam.  As long as this is done relatively quickly, there won’t be any real damage done.

If Google waits to fix this spam problem, it’s only going to get worse. Having a box of real-time spam at the top of any high-traffic SERPs wouldn’t be good for anyone, so expect a fix to this problem sooner rather than later.