In this blog post, Matt Cutts acknowledges Google has recently seen an "uptick of spam in recent months" in their search results. They have made attempts at reducing this spam and has decided to share what they recently have done and what is coming up in the near future.
(1) Redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly. The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy wordsthe sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments.
(2) Google has "radically improved our ability to detect hacked sites, which were a major source of spam in 2010."
In the near future, Google promises to take even "stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content." Does that mean targeting Demand Media, Mahalo and the kind? I am not sure, but I guess time will tell.
I know that many SEOs and webmasters are a bit nervous about this announcement. A site that aggregates quality content and mashes it up in a way that might be helpful may soon be hit by this new spam detection algorithm. Or it might not. Like I said, time will tell.
Member of WebmasterWorld, Wheel said:
The idea of Google trying to determine that through an algo, and the guaranteed huge fallout from that (on non-spammy sites) should be enough to make anyone scared.
I agree, wheel. This is a very big job to try to give an automated algo. However, the content farm challenge is immense, too - they've just got to do something. In some verticals it can take a ridiculous number of clicks to find anything worth reading at all.
I'm pretty sure there will be some false positives from this effort before they "get it right" even most of the way.
The hard thing is figuring out how Google will classify such a site. Once that is determined, which might not ever happen because Google adjusts those classifications over time, only then can you feel safe. But as any experienced SEO knows, there is no such thing as feeling safe with Google.
Are you worried? Which sites do you think will be hit by this specifically?