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  • Some days ago, Igor Rondel, Principal Development Manager, Bing Index Quality, published a blog post about the way Bing treats web spam. His post explains how Bing detects, processes and filters out search spam from their index.

    Web page elements that help Bing to detect spam:

    Bing tries to understand the spammer’s motivation. As most spammers want to make money, Bing analyzes the following:

    1. Quality of content

      According to Igor Rondel, spammers generate content targeted at search engines and their algorithms, whereas legitimate SEOs generate content for their customers.

      In most cases, spam pages have inadequate content with limited value to the user. “There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of signals used to make this assessment, ranging from simple things like number of words on the page to more complex concepts of content uniqueness and utility.”

    2. Presence of ads

      Presence of ads doesn’t make a page bad. Bing’s algorithms check how many ads appear on the page, the type of ads (e.g. banner, grey-overs, pop-ups), and how intrusive/disruptive they are.

    3. Positional & layout information

      Where is the main content located? Where are the ads located? Do the ads take up the prime real estate or are they neatly separated away from the main content (e.g. in the header/ footer or side pane)? Is it easy for users to mentally separate content from ads?

    Popular spam techniques that Bing does not like

    Igor Rondel listed some spam techniques that Bing does not like. For example, Bing considers the following spam:

    • stuffing page body/url/anchors with keywords
    • performing link manipulation via link farms, link networks, forum post abuse
    • including hidden content on the page not meant for human consumption.

    These are the same things that Google does not like. If you want to avoid a penalty, better avoid these methods.

    How spammers create content

    According to Bing’s Igor Rondel, there are many content generation methods that spammers use:

    • copying other’s content (either entirely or with minor tweaks)
    • using programs to automatically generate page content
    • using external APIs to populate their pages with non-unique content.

    Bing’s algorithms try detect these and similar mechanisms. To amplify this, they also develop creative clustering algorithms (using things like page layout, ads, domain names and Whois-type information) that in a way act as force-multipliers to help identify large clusters of these mass produced pages/sites.

    Do not use spam techniques if you want to get high rankings that last. Bing and Google have big anti-spam departments and your website will be penalized if you use spam techniques.

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