Have You Noticed An Increase in Low Quality Results Showing in the SERPS?

In recent months I’ve seen an increasing trend of low quality sites dominating competitive verticals. I regularly keep track of the more sordid searches out there, as it gives you a good idea of what it is that Google is still struggling to combat.

It’s no secret that over the past few years we’ve seen various attempts by Google to purge the ever-growing problem that is spam. You could say that they’ve gone on a rampage, targeting everything from blog networks, to pages with thin content, and announcing a war on anchor text abuse as well.

The issue is, as long as it’s profitable to create low quality sites with thousands of backlinks and have them rank, then users will continue to infringe upon the Google Webmaster Guidelines for the sake of profit.

Live Casino Results

By quickly analysing the results that Google UK produces for the following search “live casino” we can see that there are an abundance of brand new domains that have only recently been registered and most of them scream SPAM.

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These sites have been festering within the SERPS for approximately 2 weeks and counting now. If you look closely you can see that out of the 10 spam results that are being returned, 9 of them are seemly run by the same person hosted on the same IP range and redirecting to one of two different websites (or returning a 404).

Backlink Profile

Obviously you wouldn’t expect a quality backlink profile from sites like these. Looking at casinoonlinelivecasinouk.co.uk the top authority links according to OSE are as follows:

  • http://hayabusa.hippy.jp/kb/kb.cgi
  • http://www.joshspiegelfanclub.com/users/googles
  • http://pogon.maxpanel2.pl/forum/index.php/topic,17880.new.html
  • http://fujimotomina.55-adult.com/

Anchor Text Diversity

It doesn’t take a genius to spot an unnatural anchor text profile. We can see that the majority of the anchor texts are targeting “online casino / live casino / casino online” and close variants.



With a backlink profile that consists of blog comment spam, hacked websites, forum profiles and guestbook spam, one has to question why it hasn’t tripped one of Google’s spam filters.

Is the current 302 redirect giving the site an extended lease of life?

Thoughts from the Industry

I was fortunate to discuss the state of the current SERPS with Michael Charalambous from LiveRoulette.co.uk and he had this to say:

“There has always been some degree of spam within competitive niches, but what we’re now seeing is an increasing number of churn and burn websites that are sticking for months at a time. It’s not just in the gambling niche either. Some of the most competitive verticals, particularly in the adult or payday loan arena are being dominated by hacked sites and fly by night companies.”

How Would You Stop The Spam?

Do we need to re-instate the sandbox? Should there be a filter for an abusive amount of backlinks that are generated to fast? Or could the AuthorRank be the answer that we’ve all been looking for?

It’s difficult to target just one aspect of spam as there are multiple ways of creating thousands of low quality links in mere minutes, but if you were in-charge of the Google spam team, which strategies would you be targeting, or what filters would you recommend to sieve out the good results from the bad?

Comments: 2

  • Good post Seb. There are always low quality results which I could pick on (which I wont) but I haven’t necessarily seen an increase in low quality results recently. I have seen what appears to be more of a shift towards brand ‘favouritism’ within search over the past couple of months (since the Jan 17th flux to be precise).

    That said, I’ve seen several instances recently whereby the backlink profiles of sites ranking highly have absolutely appalling backlink profiles. I’m talking huge web rings of spam content with multiple outbound links to various industries; typical old school blackhat techniques. The sad thing is those techniques still seem to work for some people!

    Authorship is inevitably going to play a greater role in the validity of content on the web in the near future; which in turn should add a strongly signal of authority to search engines. That combined with other social signals should make for a good starting point to rid search of spam. I won’t hold my breath though…


    • I agree Chris. It’s really quite sad and unfortunate that sites like the ones above are still ranking, as well as big brands with terrible backlink profiles too. Yet decent content websites with a few links here and there have no say whatsoever because they aren’t “brands” or credible enough.

      Also, regarding what you mentioned above about there not being a noticeable rise. I’d say there is for sure, I’ve only been in the gambling sector for 3 years. However, only in the last 6 months or so have these ultra poor spam randomwebsiteblackjackcasinoscrazy.co.uk domains been popping up and dominating on a regular basis.

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