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Spam Google

Google announces fivefold increase in spam detection

Spam Google

Google announces fivefold increase in spam detection

Thanks to its spam detection tool SpamBrain, Google claims it was able to catch five times more spam in 2022 than it did in 2021, and believes that almost all visits from its results now avoid spam sites.

According to the Google Webspam Report 2022 released yesterday, 99% of visits from Google Search are now spam-free, and with 2021 itself seeing six times more spam detected than 2020, it seems Google is catching spam at an exponential rate.

What is SpamBrain?

SpamBrain was released by Google five years ago but, perhaps prompted by the rise of content generated by artificial intelligence (AI), the search engine giant has started to make more noises about its dedicated spam detection solution in recent months.

SpamBrain itself is AI-powered, and for the first time, it was used on links as part of Google’s December 2022 link spam update.

But is AI content spam?

Not necessarily. It depends on the way it’s used.

Google – in particular Search Advocate John Mueller – hinted numerous times during 2022 that using AI-written content was a violation of its guidelines. As ChatGPT began to make an impact later in the year, however, Google appeared to revise its stance a little. In a February 2023 blog, Google outlined its intention to reward “high-quality content” however it is produced.

The latest guidance goes on to say that AI has long been used to generate helpful content, but the examples given in the blog are the likes of transcripts, sport scores and weather reports, where quality of writing is not of major importance and repetition is expected. It also stresses that AI-generated content created purely to manipulate search rankings is considered spam.

Reading between the lines, it could be inferred that using AI to write blogs and articles remains frowned upon, or that Google is hedging its bets as it’s not sure it can adequately tell human-written from machine-generated content at this stage.

Realistically, this is something Google will need to become confident in its ability to do, and one can’t help but feel that once it can, it might well come down hard on sites that make heavy use of AI-generated content – especially with this increased focus and effectiveness in picking up spam sites.

That’s why in the interests of readership and rankings, we recommend AI use is limited to idea generation, and that content is written by people. To learn about our content and search engine optimisation (SEO) and how they can bring more business through your website, why not speak to Engage Web today?

John Murray

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