Google’s annual Webspam Report is here to highlight progress in keeping “spam and malicious content away from Search” over the course of 2021.

Most of it is a recap about various changes, but new stats today include how Google’s SpamBrain “identified nearly six times more spam sites than in 2020.” This AI-based spam-prevention system was introduced in 2018 and is being continually improved to combat more types of abuse.

This resulted in a major reduction in hacked spam (70%), which was a spam type commonly observed in 2020, and gibberish spam on hosting platforms (75%).

Hacked spam involves sites being compromised and infected to install harmful recording software, while the “gibberish hack automatically creates many pages with non-sensical sentences filled with keywords on your site.”

Google says that an “increasing volume of sophisticated spam [is] being produced every day,” but that more than 99% of searches remain spam-free. 

Other efforts last year resulted in a 40% reduction in scam results following several algorithm updates:

The improvement in coverage allowed us to protect people against many more scam types beyond the customer support queries that we’ve been fighting for the past few years.

Measures were also taken by Google to have SpamBrain combat link spam and online harassment in 2021, as well as ranking manipulations. Steps to reduce low quality content, especially for product reviews, continue. 

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com