Google clarifies that spam reports represent only a small portion of manual actions
Do spam reports lead to manual actions by Google? Nobody knew about it precisely, but many SEO professionals believed that the two are correlated.
However, Google’s Gary Illyes recently clarified that spam reports only represent a small portion of manual actions. Instead, these reports are generally used to improve Google’s spam detection capabilities and search results.
“Thanks to our users, we receive hundreds of spam reports every day. While many of the spam reports lead to manual actions, they represent a small fraction of the manual actions we issue. Most of the manual actions come from the work our internal teams regularly do to detect spam and improve search results.”
Google’s spam detection capabilities are very effective. On average, It filters out 25 billion spam pages every day. Google search results are 99% spam-free, but there is “always room for improvement.”
“The reality is that while our spam detection systems work well, there’s always room for improvement, and spam reporting is a crucial resource to help us with that. Spam reports in aggregate form help us analyse trends and patterns in spammy content to improve our algorithms,” said Gary Illyes.
Content quality and spam detection
Google’s immense focus on high-quality content has been pivotal in improving its spam-detection capabilities in the SERPs.
According to Gary Illyes:
“Overall, one of the best approaches to keeping spam out of Search is to rely on high quality content created by the web community and our ability to surface it through ranking.”
A clear distinction
Google has also made a clear distinction between manual actions against websites and spam reports in Google Webmasters Guidelines.
A new paragraph in the Webmaster Guidelines explicitly states:
“If you believe that another site is abusing Google’s quality guidelines, please let us know by filing a spam report. Google prefers developing scalable and automated solutions to problems, and will use the report for further improving our spam detection systems.”
In summary, a spam report against a website will not necessarily lead to a manual action.
You can find more information about this in Google’s blog post.