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Google Team Members Share Advice for Dealing with Hackers and Spam Podcast Episode Sheds Light on Spam Challenges

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - In The News, SEO

A discussion on spam during a recent episode of Google’s Search Off The Record podcast made two things clear: first, site owners and SEOs should be aware of hack spam, and second, they should avoid trying to fight spammy competitors with equally poor tactics.

Spam has been at the top of mind for Google’s team and SEOs alike – just two weeks, ago Google finished launching its two-part spam update, which aimed to remove spammy content from SERPs.

READ MORE: Google Confirms Second Part of Spam Update Has Arrived

Duy Nguyen, a member of Google’s Search Quality team, appeared on the podcast with Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller.

Adding onto their explanation of how Google handles spam, their conversation turned to an airing of spam-related grievances, and when asked what bothers him on the web, Nguyen spoke about spam caused by hackers.

“A lot of the ‘hack spam’ that takes place today any hacking,” Nguyen explained. “A lot of the tools and scripts that people discovered five six years ago are still being used today to exploit websites – especially older websites.”

Nguyen explained that site owners using old content management systems (CMS) are the most vulnerable. These systems, he explained, have been around long enough for hackers to figure out entirely.

Mueller suggested that site owners who don’t plan to update their content should use a static HTML site rather than a CMS like WordPress. The team also explained that keeping a website fully updated can stop hackers from successfully breaking in.

They also added that using Google Search Console can protect sites against hackers.

With Search Console, site owners “would have more data and they would realize that, ‘oh, yeah, running this very old version of CMS really hinders the site’s potential.’”

Dealing with Spammy Competitors

On the same episode, Mueller and Nguyen talked about what happens to site owners who use spam-fueled tactics to improve their rankings on SERPs. Mueller said he is often asked by site owners what to do if they obey Google’s webmaster guidelines, but find that competitors who disobey them perform better.

Answering the question, the team explained that Google avoids rewarding sites for using spammy language or tactics. However, if a spammy site performs well, there are plenty of factors aside from spam that could explain their successful performance.

Otherwise, Mueller and Nguyen recommend sending Google a spam report.

You can learn more about the Search Off The Record podcast here.

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

New Features For Google Search Console

11/18/2022

Calling all Google Search Console Users! You’re in for another treat this week, as Google has made changes to Search Console.

Lately, Google has been making lots of updates about shopping tools and ads. This time they’ve given some love to Search Console by adding shopping and merchant features!

Read More: Google Is Launching 9 New Shopping Features  

What’s New

In the Google Search Console, a brand new shopping section has been added. “Google added a shopping tab that includes a quick way to create a Merchant Center account, access to your product snippets, merchant listings and shopping tab listings performance and debugging,” reports SEO Roundtable.

Take a look at the brand new shopping tab!

For those of you eager to put the update to use, you may have to wait a little while for it to be fully up and running. According to this blog post, the shopping tab and merchant center is mapped to rollout over the next couple of weeks.

Read More: Google Just Dropped A Bunch Of New Features!

Search Console Merchants will allow account holders to make their account using a simplified sign up process, avoiding site ownership re-verification. We love a good streamlined experience. Here’s what Google had to say about the process:

“This streamlined experience will get products quickly on the Shopping tab on Google and help merchants reach people looking for product.”

If you’re not seeing the new features in Search Console just yet, remember the rollout is scheduled over a few weeks so be patient!

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Google Search Console Item Classifications Updated

06/15/2022

Google made some reporting changes within Search Console. No changes have been made to crawling, indexing or rankings!

The search engine changed how it displays errors within some of the Search Console reports. Now it only shows valid or invalid information, rather than errors, valid with warnings and valid.

Google said the URLs or items in the Search Console report will no longer be grouped in status categories such as Valid, Warning, or Error. They will now be classified into two broader statuses that will reflect if the URLS or items are valid or not.

Read More: Google Sending Warnings On Intrusive Interstitials

Invalid Vs. Valid

According to Google, invalid means there’s a critical issue in the page or items. Not invalid means that the item might still have warnings, but no critical issues. Google explained that the implications for valid and invalid states differ by report type.

Grouping the top-level item (a rich result for the rich result reports, a page or URL for the other reports) into two groups: pages or items with critical issues are labelled something like invalid; pages or items without critical issues are labelled something like valid. We think this new grouping will make it easier to see quickly which issues affect your site’s appearance on Google, in order to help you prioritize your fixes.” – Google said in the announcement.

Here’s a first look:

Photo Source: developers.google.com

 

Google also said that these changes will also be reflected in the URL inspection tool and the API. The URL inspection tool will show these changes immediately, while the API changes are yet to arrive.

In their help document, Google said that the impacted reports impacted by these changes are:

  • Core Web Vitals
  • Mobile Usability
  • AMP report
  • Rich results report
  • URL inspection tool

These changes are made to help you understand reports better and prioritize issues easier.

Read More: ‘Discovered – Not Indexed’ Status Could Last Forever
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