Effects of Google's Spam Score
Published: March 03, 2019
A small business website once published is released to the world, faced with massive competition from other websites and now faces even more scrutiny from major search engines such as Google and Bing.
So, what is the Google Spam Score?
The Google Spam Score is actually not a real score! It’s an evaluation of a websites structure and technical performance against other websites.
So, why do we call it the Google Spam Score?
We call it the Google Spam Score because Google does check and penalize website they believe are “spammy”, however they don’t release the criteria or the results of these scores to the public to block potential SEO hackers.
As a way to measure this metric, the wizards at Moz developed their own algorithm and work tirelessly to make it as similar to Google’s algorithm as possible. After scanning the world websites, they tracked what websites were being penalized by Google, worked up some statistics and built a calculator to help webmasters track common penalties.
In the words of Moz “Spam Score represents the percentage of sites with similar features we've found to be penalized or banned by Google.”
You can use the Moz Spam Score Checker to determine if any parts of your website are getting penalized now or are likely to get penalized in the future by Google. You can check your spam score [here].
As of March 2019, the Moz Spam Score Checker is based on 27 common penalties that Google has been penalizing websites for.
Low Number of Pages Crawled - Not having a huge website does not mean that your website is inherently “spammy”, however according to the Moz crawlbots, many spam websites contain a low number of pages within them. This can be fixed by building and maintaining a blog on your website.
.tld Domain Extension - Once again, just because your website has a .tld domain extension (www.example.tld) does not mean that it’s a spam website. However, because Google is penalizing websites with .tld extensions you can avoid being inadvertently penalized by choosing a .com .org or .net extension.
Domain Name Length - Believe it or not, spam websites typically use a certain number of characters in their domain length. I recommend not worrying about this one too much, just make sure your domain name is relevant to your business.
Domain Name Contains Numerals - Many spam domains contain multiple numerals in them, I recommend not using numbers in your domain name unless it’s absolutely necessary to your business.
Lacking Google Font API - Many spam websites aren’t interested in design or user experience, so normally they will use basic out-of-the-box fonts. If your website is made with out-of-the-box fonts, then you may want to consider using a free Google font on your website. If you had your website developed through us, we have taken care of this for you.
Google Tag Manager Missing - Most spam websites don’t care about tracking analytics, so they don’t add the Google Tag Manager code to the website. You can correct this by simply adding Google Analytics to your website.
Double Click Tag Missing - Most spam sites also don’t advertise on Google platforms; however most small business websites don’t use Double Click either. This is not a factor I would recommend investing in correcting as it carries low value.
Phone Number Missing - Spam websites don’t typically want people calling them because, well their spam. However, most small and large business do include a phone number where they can be reached. If your website does not contain a phone number, I would recommend adding one, even if its in the footer.
LinkedIn Links - Having social media is good for something other than just sharing posts, social media is also a great way for Google to validate whether your website is genuine. Spam websites normally don’t have LinkedIn social media accounts because they have no need for them. If you are someone who is hiding under the anti-social-media rock, it may be time for you to at least have a LinkedIn profile.
Email Address Missing - Spam websites rarely have an email address available on their website, because they simply don’t want to be contacted. If your website lacks your email address, adding it could provide validity to your business.
No HTTPS - Spam website rarely invest in SSL Certificates designed to encrypt user’s data. Adding an SSL Certificate not only tells Google you’re not spam, but also increases the trust between you and your website audience.
Use of Meta Keywords - Websites that use the Meta Keywords tag in their code are more likely to be spam than those who don’t. This is because Google no longer supports this tag, thus using it would be unusual for any business who has had a website developed professionally in the last 12 months.
Jumpshot Visits Rank - Websites with very few visits in Jumpshot's clickstream panel were more often spam than those with high numbers of visits.
Non-Local Rel Canonical - Websites using non-local rel=canonical tags are more likely be the spam, than those who do not use them.
Irregular Title Tags - There is a reason we suggest websites have title tags between 50 to 60 characters long. Websites often associated with spam have unusually long or unusually short title tags.
Irregular Meta Descriptions - Like Title Tags, spam websites normally have unusually long or unusually short meta descriptions on each page of their website. I recommend using between 120 and 158 characters in your meta descriptions.
Missing Browser Icons - Spam websites rarely have an icon in the left-hand-side of the browser tab being used to view the website. On the other hand, non-spam websites almost always do – these are called favicons.
Missing Facebook Pixel - Spam website rarely advertise on social media and specifically Facebook. On the other hand, legitimate websites normally do have a Facebook presence. The Facebook Pixel is used to track traffic entering your website from Facebook and should be on your website if you do any kind of Facebook advertising.
High External Outlinks - Outlinks are links on website that go out to other websites. Spam websites typically have a large number of links leaving the website, rather staying in the website through internal links.
High Domain Outlinks - Like the External Outlinks above, spam websites typically have a large number of Outlinks going to unique domains rather than staying in the website through internal links.
High Ratio of External Links to Content - Spam websites typically have a high ratio of links leaving the website to the content that is on the website. This is mostly because those links are purchased by other websites for SEO reasons. If you have purchased links from other websites to yours, you could be in danger of be penalized by association.
Vowels/Consonants in Domain Name - Often times, spam sites often have many sequential vowels or consonants in their domain name.
Hyphens in Domain Name - Spam websites normally use multiple hyphens in their domain name. I recommend not using hyphens in your domain name unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Long URL Length - Spam websites typically have unusually long URL paths such as www.example.com/58885038%754$$$34234. If your websites URL’s like this one, then I recommend giving each page in your website a unique readable name that correlates with your website.
Presence of Poison Words - Spam website generally use keywords related to webspam such as pharmaceuticals and adult content.
High CPC Anchor Text - Spam sites often employ specific words in the anchor text of outlinks that are associated with webspam topics like pharmaceuticals and adult content.
The Moz Spam Score Checker generally uses a percentage between 0 and 100, however other tools may give scores between 0 and 10 (100 and 10 indicating high spam problems). Generally, spam scores below 40% or 4 have a limited chance of being penalized by Google. However, if your Spam Score is above 40% or 4, it may be time to have your website analyzed and fixed to avoid dropping in Google’s rankings.