What is Spam Score?: Understanding its Importance in SEO

June 20, 2024

Employing search engine optimization techniques is paramount to ensuring the web’s success when creating a business website. Companies can increase visibility and ranking results, especially through the creation of backlinks.

However, these backlink strategies have not been developed similarly, and some may vary from others. Some may hurt rather than increase your visibility, which is why addressing spam score is a must.

What is Spam Score?

The metric known as spam score is a handy tool used by search engine optimization specialists. It measures the likelihood of a site being penalized by search engines like Google due to engaging with techniques that are considered spam.

While some sites may have a high spam score, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re spammy. Still, it’s a very important sign or caution that a specialist must check them and investigate how link quality and relevance are being managed.

What Types of Spam Are There?

From a website-building and marketing perspective, spam is a problematic issue that can interrupt customer relationships and hurt a site’s visibility within search engine rankings.

Google has a section of rules about what is spam score, which is called Spam Policies. This is where the guidelines are explained to avoid these issues. The most common types of spam explained there are:

Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are a known spammy method of creating pages that provide users with little to no value. Their primary purpose is to use all of the functions on a page, such as URL, title tags, heading tags, alt tags, content, and more.

Most of these links are very similar, using almost identical URLs and targeting subtle variations of the exact keywords to attract the most users possible. Internal search pages are a way to create them, leading to thousands of doorway pages.

This process is often done intentionally, although it can also be unintentional. Experts must solve this issue to prevent Google from flagging the site as spam.

Hacked Content

It refers to unauthorized and malicious content purposely placed on a website by hackers due to secure vulnerabilities. Hacked content always provides very poor search results and poses significant risks for users clicking on it.

Hackers exploit these vulnerabilities to inject hidden pieces of code and many links to get sensitive data from users, such as credit card information. As a result, unaware users may download malware to their devices, getting information stolen from them.

Even if the sites with these issues are not always intentional, Google will flag them as spammy or unusable for visitors. They’ll stay that way until publishers can show that they’ve cleaned their sites of malware.

Hidden Text and Links

The process of hiding text and links on a website involves content meant to be invisible to users while still being readable by search engines. CSS techniques can be used to hide text.

It often involves setting the font size to zero, using a color that matches the background, or placing off-screen text. HTML methods like display: none, visibility: hidden, properties, or embedding text within comment tags are also used by spammers.

Their main goal is to manipulate search engine rankings without affecting the user experience. However, engines like Google have developed strategies that adapt to such methods, effectively detecting and penalizing this practice.

Keyword Stuffing

Stuffing many keywords within a site is an extremely common practice. It involves overloading a webpage with relevant keywords or numbers to manipulate search rankings.

While it can slightly increase clicks and visibility, the text appears unnatural since the exact words or phrases are repeated excessively due to the very similar keywords used.

The use of irrelevant keywords is used to draw more traffic, but experts must avoid this technique at all costs since it has no real benefit. It only makes the content harder to read and can lead to penalties from search engines, which want to promote high-quality content.

Link Spam

It refers to the creation of links intended to manipulate search engine rankings. This can occur through comment spam in blogs or forums, as well as using link farms where groups of websites all hyperlink to each other.

Some also add them to guestbook or trackback spam, where links are added to other blogs. Link spam is often easily detectable but can result in significant penalties from search engines, including de-indexing from search engine results.

These techniques don’t provide any real value to users, and that’s why Google heavily penalizes them. Farms are solely generated to create more links to other websites. While they’re sophisticated, engines actively hunt them to stop this spammy practice.

Scraped Content

Scraped content involves the technique of copying content from other websites without adding original value.

This can include article scraping, where entire articles are copied and pasted; aggregated content that gathers material from various sources without proper attribution; or spun content, where copied content is slightly modified to appear original.

It is problematic because it devalues the efforts of original content creators and creates a poor user experience. Search engines strive to identify and penalize sites that use scraped content.

Why Is It Important to Avoid These Sites for Google?

As previously said, avoiding these techniques and spam sites is vital because Google hunts them down. Search engines prioritize delivering sites of value to users, and these sites provide none.

While a business’s site may be flagged as spam with no malicious intent, it always goes under investigation and can be hidden from results. Getting an expert familiar with spam prevention is vital to correcting this issue.

Engines like Google want website owners to create the best possible user experience for visitors. This means you’ll need a marketing and SEO agency to correctly optimize your keywords and off-page SEO to attract inbound links.

Succeeding with Google guidelines means the site will receive positive rankings, traffic, and, most importantly, conversions. Those who fail are more likely to climb down the ranking ladder or worse (getting penalized).

Tools for Checking Spam Score

Checking Spam Score can be done through different tools, the most renowned one being Link Explorer by Moz. Link Explorer represents the percentage of sites that have a similar structure to the site you are researching and have been previously penalized or flagged.

How Does the Moz Spam Metric Work?

Moz Spam Score metric is based on a machine learning model developed by the same company, which identifies 27 standard features among the millions of penalized and flagged sites on the web.

There are three types of categories. The first score ranges from 1% to 30%, considered a low spam score. The second goes from 31% to 60%, considered a Medium spam score. The last one has the highest spam score and ranges from 61% to 100%.

A high spam score doesn’t necessarily mean your site is spam. Still, it’s essential to hire an SEO agency like Kala to investigate what’s causing such issues and find a solution before it’s too late.

How Is It Calculated?

The tool’s page calculates spam scores. It breaks down the percentage of linking domains pointing to the website’s owner page, which does not fit into each spam score rating.

The site gathers every spam technique and tactic into its information process, randomly selecting many subdomains from the index by mozRank. After this, they’re crawled and thrown out to check for redirects and errors.

After this process, the tool collects the top 10 de-personalized search results using the full subdomain name as the keyword to check if they match the original keyword. If they do not, the subdomain is considered “spam”; otherwise, it’s called “ham.”

Below this breakdown, specialists are provided with a chart with every inbound link to the site sorted by spam score. Each link can be clicked for further investigation to see what’s causing the issue.

Tips to Know if a Site Is Spam Without Using Any Tool

There are also other, more manual techniques, tips, and tricks website owners and users can use to detect if a site is spamming or trying to scam them without the need for specialized tools. Acknowledging this is vital to avoid getting ranks down or data stolen.

  • Look at the address bar: make sure the site is secure. HTTPS and a lock symbol beside it mean the site is secure. Still, this doesn’t guarantee that a site isn’t a scam, but it shows that the owner is protecting itself from other hackers.
  • Check the contact page: If you’re looking for a service or business company, always check their contact site. If there are no multiple options, such as a phone number, mail, live chat, or address, you should proceed with caution.
  • Double-check the domain name: Spam and scam sites often create very similar URLs to the original ones, hoping to trick unaware users. These subtle changes often go unnoticed, so it’s extremely important to protect your information.
  • Validate the site through Google reports: Google’s tools can help you determine whether a site is legit. The Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report allows users to paste URLs into a field and gives a trustworthiness-percentage report.

All of these tips are important to remember if you want to know if a site is secure without using specialized tools.

Why Is Spam Score Important for Your SEO Efforts?

Having a relatively low spam score is very important for SEO efforts because it indicates how unwanted a site can be if it is high enough. The higher it is, the worse the site performs on visibility rankings, getting fewer clicks and users.

A higher score also means that you’re a potential target of Google, which can lead to being flagged and penalized by the search engine. This can be horrible for SEO efforts, completely ruining a marketing campaign.

Conclusion

The question of what a spam score is is often asked. Acknowledging this critical metric is essential since it helps website owners and digital marketers assess the quality and trustworthiness of their sites.

Users can get a comprehensive overview of potential risks affecting a site’s search engine rankings and overall reputation by evaluating different factors that indicate spammy behavior.

Marketing agencies like Kala can help provide a further understanding of this and tools for monitoring it to mitigate such risks, ensuring that a website remains in good standing with search engines like Google.

Even with all of these tools, common sense is also paramount. Many spammy techniques can be seen without tools if users are aware enough. Being extra careful can ensure that no data will be stolen most of the time.

FREE Checklist for LinkedIn Optimization

If you’re not too sure about how we can help you, why don’t you put our strategies to the test? Enter your details below and download our FREE Checklist for LinkedIn Optimization. You don’t want to miss this!