A recent post by Rand Fishkin highlights common features of spam sites. It’s an interesting post and I agree with a lot of it, but I just want to highlight a few Search Engine Optimization items on his list:
- .info, .cc, .us and other cheap, easy to grab TLDs – TLDs don’t matter. Spam sites use all the TLDs. .biz is probably the most prevalent for spam sites, but a significant number also use .info and .com.
- Short registration period (1 year, maybe 2) – This applies to most websites online. Most new webmasters register for 1 or 2 years until they decide they’re sticking with it long term.
- Few links to high quality, trusted sites – This also describes legitimate webmasters just getting started on their linkbuilding campaigns. We all start off with reciprocal links.
- High keyword frequencies and keyword densities – Yes, for some reason, spammer like to increase the number of keywords they use. I don’t know why.
- Registered to people/entities not associated with trusted sites – Google denies it, but I’ve often thought that whois information was tied to a website’s trust factor. Evidently, Rand Fishkin thinks so too.
- Unlikely to be bookmarked in services like My Yahoo!, Del.icio.us, Faves.com, etc. – Actually, I’d say spam sites are more likely to be bookmared.
- Often contain a large number of snippets of “duplicate” content found elsewhere on the web - This one contradicts the one below.
- Rarely have small snippets of text quoted on other websites and pages – This one contradicts the last point. Which one is it?
- Less likely to have .com or .org extensions – Actually, a lot of spam sites use the TLDs. Especially blog spam sites and you’ll see a lot of those on Blogspot.com.
- Likely to have links to a significant portion of the sites and pages that link to them – Just about every webmaster in the world does this. Most of us start our link building by asking for reciprocal links, although it can not be good for Search Engine Optimization.
- Likely to be registered by parties who own a very large number of domains – If a site is registered to a person who owns a couple of hundred domain names then they are likely a spammer.
I picked these points because they all could apply just as well to legitimate webmasters. That’s not to say that spammers don’t fit into these categories as well, but it is something to think about as you develop your business online and think about your Search Engine Optimization.