Google: Phone Number Spam Is Keyword Stuffing & Against Guidelines

Apr 20, 2012 • 8:23 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Phone SpamHead of Google's web spam team, Matt Cutts, went on record on those sites that rank well for all those random phone numbers. You know, the ones that simply list thousands of phone numbers on a single page? He said it is spam, keyword stuffing and is against Google's guidelines.

Matt Cutts said:

I wanted to clarify a quick point: when people search for a phone number and land on a page like the one below, it's not really useful and a bad user experience. Also, we do consider it to be keyword stuffing to put so many phone numbers on a page.

There are a few websites that provide value-add for some phone numbers, e.g. sites that let people discuss a specific phone number that keeps calling them over and over. But if a site stuffs a large number of numbers on its pages without substantial value-add, that can violate our guidelines, not to mention annoy users.

Of course, it is hard to argue with that. I personally hate sites that show up in Google's search results with this information. But it is happening right this second.

Here is a picture of one of many examples:

Google Phone Spam

Is this a new penalty? Will Google be going after sites like this now? Matt makes it sound like it is nothing new. He wrote later on:

These pages have always been considered violations of our guidelines as keyword stuffing--I just wanted to be especially clear so that we could point to explicit guidance we'd given.

But they run rampant in Google's search results - so maybe something is going to happen soon with it?

Forum discussion at Google+.

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04/21/2012 07:52 am

Why is it that every time Google's algorithm can't deal with a problem, it's called spam and there's talk of penalty? As if it's something totally outside Google's powers. It's always those evil and all-powerful spammers rampaging through defenseless little Google's playground; even though all of it comes up on THEIR site courtesy of THEIR algorithm. Wouldn't it be the job of a PROPER algorithm to simply weed out such ridiculously obvious examples of no-value pages, without any fuss, so that users don't bump into them at all? While the definition of spam for a site owner is the proverbial "site positioned above mine", for Google it seems to be "crap that our users hate but our algorithm fails to keep out of the top ten making us sooo angry". Their standard reaction to any of their own failures is to reflexively deflect responsibility. This company is actually less grown-up than a child who was born the same time it was founded.

Gregory Smith

04/23/2012 01:23 pm

Hi, When are you going to update letting everyone know that Google is not updating per "over optimization" ? Stop spreading those terrible rumors, the SEO COMMUNITY ALREADY HAS A BAD ENOUGH REPUTATION.


07/11/2012 04:23 pm

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