Google Spam Algorithm For Spammy Queries: Pay Day Loans+

Jun 12, 2013 • 8:51 am | comments (32) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

pay day loansAs expected, Google's Matt Cutts announced last night before his chat at SMX Advanced on Twitter that they have begun rolling out a new algorithm to target spam in more spammy industries in Google.

Matt Cutts wrote:

We just started a new ranking update today for some spammy queries.

It is not fully rolled out yet, Matt added:

It's a multifaceted rollout that will be happening over the next 1-2 months.

This specifically aims to target more spammy like industries where the link building and spam tactics are more extreme. Matt added more details while at SMX, which I covered at Search Engine Land.

Matt said that this impacts about 0.3% of U.S. queries but up to 4% or so of Turkish queries where spam is a larger part of the index there. Matt also added that the techniques targeted here are often "illegal" tactics that he won't discuss.

Matt discussed this in his video from a few weeks ago 2 minutes in 30 seconds in. Here is the transcript, followed by the video:

It’s kind of interesting. We get a lot of great feedback from outside of Google. For example, there were people complaining about searches like “payday loans” on So we have two different changes that try to tackle those kinds of queries in a couple different ways. We can’t get into too much detail about exactly how they work, but I’m kind of excited that we’re going from having just general queries be a little more cleaned to going to some of these areas that have traditionally been a little more spammy including, for example, some more pornographic queries. And some of these changes might have a little bit more of an impact in those kinds of areas that are a little more contested by various spammers and that sort of thing.

Some folks have already started complaining about their rankings in the forums at Google Webmaster Help, WebmasterWorld and Black HatForums.

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Matthew Barby

06/12/2013 01:00 pm

Great news for the UK SERPs in particular. Also, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't happy to see a lot of those payday loan companies suffer - some pretty questionable ethics surrounding a that industry...

Bradley Lewis

06/12/2013 01:36 pm

Not really the brands in the industry being targeted, it's more the affiliate marketers that will use spam and black hat tactics to rank for a highly profitable word like that. All around a shady industry.


06/12/2013 01:47 pm

Personally I think payday loans should be banned from the SERPs completely. They're a huge scam from the beginning and often get people in a lot of trouble financially, even if they are one of the few legit sites out there. It's either ban them all, or Google should put some research in themselves and dig out the real company names and domains, and blacklist the rest. They put too much faith in algorithms and it's failing badly.

Matthew Barby

06/12/2013 01:54 pm

I think that would be a tough call for Google to make because 'technically' they are running legal entities and aren't doing anything wrong in the eyes of the law - so Google would be discriminating based on their personal prejudice towards them. Having said all of that, I think it will be a matter of time before these companies will be dealt with. They aren't helping anyone with what they do (in general) and I'm pretty sure that they won't be missed!

Matthew Barby

06/12/2013 01:56 pm

Fair point - this is what we see the SERPs flooded with in many other niches as well. There are a HUGE number of affiliate sites that don't really bear much relevance to the term being searched for, yet often appear within the first page. I'd be surprised if this algorithm update manages to get rid of a lot of that though.


06/12/2013 01:57 pm

Very true. Put on top of that the laws perhaps being different on a per country basis and then you've got a lot of work to do for a small outcome. Even so, it's clear that relying on algorithms alone isn't enough, and that more manual human actions are needed. It wouldn't be hard for just one person to sit there monitoring the SERP's and flagging/cleaning out the obvious spam... would it?

Scam Cutts

06/12/2013 03:14 pm

If you think that only Pay Day Loan sites will suffer, I feel bad for you. Like Panda that was supposed to target eHow, and other sites.... Each quarter Google has to come up with new ways of making sites advertise and to make users click more on ads. Wall Street needs to be happy


06/12/2013 03:34 pm

Also there are a few legit, decent ones that aren't actually a rip off. Rare I know but they don't deserve to be penalised just because of cowboys.

Matthew Barby

06/12/2013 04:01 pm

Fair point.


06/12/2013 04:13 pm

Coming soon, a "Compare Pay Day Loans on Google" box at the top of the SERPs ;-)


06/12/2013 05:41 pm

Oh dear. Here we go again. Be prepared for any commercial based website to be targeted as spam unless it belongs to google of course. Google really do need to die before they turn the whole internet to complete crap.


06/12/2013 06:51 pm

All commercial keyword will be targeted. No traffic unless you pay the greedy Google. Little by little Google will move in all keywords, making even more segments pay to play. Do not trust that paid liar, Matt Cutts. His job, is to lie to you about Google search and about Google spying for NSA. Google, the greedy and lying spy, needs to die. Don't expect any tough questions from that POS, Danny Sullivan, he just wants to sell tickets to his stupid conferences and drive traffic to his site. He's a whore, in other words and ban all critics from posting on his site.


06/12/2013 08:09 pm

"Matt also added that the techniques targeted here are often "illegal" tactics that he won't discuss." - Really? You'll get arrested if you use these tactics you are referring to?


06/13/2013 12:30 am

destroying of google serp comes to next level. Lying to webmasters become normal practice at G.

Andri Yarusman

06/13/2013 07:06 am

I believe we need to be calm when respond to what ever matt cuts said ... Google just remove low quality loan sites with low quality backlinks from its serp and not all sites there

Jose Capelo

06/13/2013 07:43 am

I would take this information with a pinch of salt!


06/13/2013 08:54 am

If that fraud Matt Cutts is "really excited about the changes," watch your wallets. Every update increases Google's ad clicks and earnings by 25%-30%. That's what determines the algorithm, ad clicks and revenue these days.


06/13/2013 11:27 am

it removes all sites (good and bad like usual), and it not only loan/blackhat sites - this update affect LOTs of niches.


06/13/2013 11:54 am

Every algo update increases Google's ad clicks by 25%-30%? Smells like conjecture and 'making-stuff-up' (sorry to use such technical jargon); there are more updates than there are days in the year so Google should control the entirety of the worlds wealth any day now...


06/13/2013 11:55 am

There is a pretty good possibility that, yes, you can get arrested or charged for some of the aggressive black-hat techniques out there. Why does this seem unbelievable?


06/13/2013 01:30 pm

Snowden? I hope no-one was watching.


06/13/2013 02:21 pm

Listen you stupid a-ethalon-hole /scroogler, I post facts: "Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 20% over the first quarter of 2012 and increased approximately 3% over the fourth quarter of 2012." "Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 33% over the third quarter of 2011 and increased approximately 6% over the second quarter of 2012." " Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 39% over the first quarter of 2011 and increased approximately 7% over the fourth quarter of 2011." "Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 42% over the second quarter of 2011 and increased approximately 1% over the first quarter of 2012."


06/14/2013 12:32 pm

"increased approximately 20% over the first quarter of 2012" followed by "increased approximately 1% over the first quarter of 2012" Where's this info from?

Aaron Charlie

06/14/2013 12:38 pm

That's numbers of paid clicks, not revenue. And that would be about in line with the increase of searches performed year on year ( So searches increased by 20-30% year and so do the number of clicks on paid results - which makes sense. What you've missed from the figures you've quoted is that Cost-per-click is actually down 4%


06/14/2013 06:48 pm

Yea, but you said "Every update increases Google's ad clicks and earnings by 25%-30%" and that is a lie. Yearly increase in ad clicks does not equal every algo update increasing their earning by 25%-30% (there are hundreds of updates every year; Google could not possibly be increasing the revenue that much with each and every one. What is sad is that there are at least two other people who seem to think you are onto something significant. Hint: you aren't.

Steven K

06/15/2013 06:21 am

Here's hoping that Google does this for more than just Payday Loans and investigate other industries properly. And the notion that's the affiliates that are to blame for the spam is laughable. The Brands have encroached into the affiliate SEO space in a MASSIVE way this year and in many industries. And this attitude of "oh well it's "payday loans / pills / gambling porn" so who cares is frankly naive. As already noted, Google can't start making moral judgement calls like that.If they start, where do they end? Remove major retailers who have been known to use child labour, financial services companies who are tied to the subprime crisis or insurance, travel sites that have been linked to operator rorts in the past? How about we ban all insurance companies who have been outed for collusion? There are of course extreme cases where google needs to police but playing the good moral cop cannot happen. To top it all off Google is make to look rather silly for the pure fact that you can take a pick of a major money word in insurance, gambling, car rental, payday loans, travel etc and find the first ten results to be a nice blend of expired domains with massive amounts of hacked blog bacllinks, xrumered subdomains and authority host domains, hacked authority sites being blasted with spammy links and achieving a temporary keyword theme shift, etc etc etc the list goes on. The good comparitors, forums, user driven content sites, great blogs with really useful opinion? Gone, gone and gone. It flies in the face of all that Google has preached from the rooftops so why the hell should anyone interpret their motives as being noble? I want to believe google but the evidence is a mess.


07/03/2013 12:49 am

You are a jerk, Snowden. Matt Cutts gives, and gives, and gives to the SEO Community and you should be thanking him, and SEOMOZ, for their tireless efforts to explain, at all skill levels, the real facts about Search. Stop "waiting to speak," and LISTEN.


07/04/2013 01:06 pm

I have been testing the results of query with how to install dynamic pricing plugin. to my surprise the results are all about dynamic pricing. Sad took me time to get the right website. Poor result

John Miller

07/05/2013 09:22 am

Google knows there is no such competitor who can beat them.......thats why Google is doing all this.


07/05/2013 10:51 am

Exactly. Or, as it is known in most circles "Google is abusing the dominant market position". Good job they spend all that money bribing... oh sorry, I mean lobbying politicians isn't it.


07/15/2013 03:40 pm

I have a site that has dropped hugely in terms of impressions and traffic on the 9th July 2013, we havent done any link building for ages and recovered when we disavowed all our links. We have spent a lot of time on our content over the past 6 months, however i have noticed quite a few inbound links from external spammy forums linking to user profiles on our forum. Is it worth submitting a reconsideration request to point this out to Google. I'm currently deleting all the profiles but this update may be spammy comment / forum posting related. Just to clarify, they are not posting on the forum, just signing up and trying to add links using bbcode into a user profile (which has been disabled anyway!) I'm guessing these are just automated spam bots and don't realise that what they are doing is not going to work! Appreciate anyones help on this one.


02/03/2014 09:57 pm

Google is not reading in between the lines with this particular algo... If you look at today's 6th ranked site for "Payday Loans", yeah sure you'll see this payday loan site with some legitimate .GOV links in their profile. But if you read further in that article with the links, you'll find out that company was getting sued for making their consumers pay more interest than they were actually required. Why would this company EVER deserve to rank top 10? Smarten up Google.

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