Inside Google: a former Google web-spam team member tells all
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Andre Weyher of GoogleInsider scoop on Google is always welcome. Be sure to read what this former Google web-spam member has to say about how Google Detects Spam, Commercial Keyword Use, Link Building Tactics, and our favorite topic; On Page Optimization.

In an interview, former Google web-spam member Andre Weyher gave more information about the way Google detects web spam. The most important facts and statements can be found in this article.

1. How does Google detect web spam?

  • Google uses on-page signals such as keyword stuffing or hidden content. They also judge the quality of the web page content. Any type of scraped, synonymized or poorly written text is seen as a spam signal.
  • In addition to the on-page signals, Google uses the backlink profile of a web page to detect spam. Google analyzes many different backlink elements: how many links are there in total? What is the quality of the pages they come in from? Do the pages look “real” or are they just there to host the links? What anchors texts are used? The commercial vs. non commercial ratio of the anchor texts.

2. What are commercial keywords and how do they influence your backlink profile?

  • A commercial keyword is a keyword with a high search volume or a keyword that has a high financial value, for example “cheap flights” or “car insurance”.
  • If 90% of the anchor texts in a backlink profile are commercial keywords, it is likely that the backlinks are spammy, especially if there are thousands of these links.
  • Andre says that a natural backlink profile usually has non-commercial keywords in the anchor texts (long tail keywords, the URL of the website, etc.)

3. On-page optimization is a key element of any SEO strategy

  • Andre Weyher is very clear that on-page optimization is very important:
  • “On-page tactics are often overlooked, while in reality they should be a key element in your SEO strategy. […]
  • Be very thorough about your basic elements like titles, descriptions and H1/H2 headers. People are so focused on putting the most expensive fuel in their car (link building) that they totally forget about the basics like putting wheels on it (on page elements).

4. Which link building techniques work with Google?

  • Automated link building puts your website at risk. Successful link building is very similar to relationship management:
  • “If your website is about cheese production, reach out to people in the milk industry, like I mentioned before, relevance is the new PageRank.”
  • Andre also says that you shouldn’t dismiss directories completely. Good quality, moderated directories, or niche directories are still worth looking in to. The quality of the pages that link to your site is also important. Three links from authentic pages will do much more than 1000 links from spam blogs. Quality is more important than quantity.

If you are a regular reader of our Tuesday SEO Posts, the above won’t come as a surprise to you. Andre Weyher confirms the tactics and methods that we’ve been recommending for years.

HOWEVER, now that Andre has opened his big mouth publically we’re pretty sure Google will will do some updating to discount his blabbing about the inside workings of the Google Algorithm. Grrrrrrr…

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