what it is, how it is measured and how to use it in your SEO strategy – WAU

Spam Score is a metric created by Moz whose main functionality is the identification of spam sites. By analyzing millions of sites banned or penalized by Google, its tool assesses 27 items that could seriously compromise your SEO results. Know more!

When we talk about spam, the first thing that comes to mind is unauthorized emails that are usually sent to a large number of contacts.

In this article, however, the focus of the subject is the spam sites, a problem as serious and irritating as the unwanted messages that severely damage your Content Marketing strategy.

These problematic domains are very common on sites that insist on trying to trick Google to gain undue advantages, but they can also arise from poorly executed link building work.

In this scenario, Spam Score is a solution for measure the presence of these unwanted addresses and point out the need to provide repairs to your SEO strategy.

The most serious thing, however, is that Google penalizes sites that use dishonest practices to achieve good results in the search ranking.

Therefore, even if your project on the web is within the rules, low quality links can lead to an incorrect interpretation of the search engine, reducing the performance of your pages in searches and, consequently, traffic.

Check out the topics we will discuss in this content below:

Continue with us to understand everything about Spam Score and how to use it to improve your search results. Good reading!

What is Spam Score?

Spam Score is a metric created by the North American company Moz, and used in its SEO tool, p Link Explorer.

Its definitions were obtained using the Machine Learning model, by which millions of addresses banned or penalized by Google were analyzed to identify patterns that could also be compromising other sites.

For security reasons, the great search leader has always been very restricted in making available the parameters used in his search ranking.

For this reason, companies like Moz develop solutions to try to understand the search engine a little better and to guide developers and Digital Marketing professionals.

It is important to note that the Spam Score is not officially recognized by Google, but its principles are based on empirical data. Besides that, the quality of a website’s links is a proven ranking factor. For this reason, Moz’s tool is very relevant in the evaluation, monitoring and optimization of SEO strategies.

What is a spam site and how does it influence the Spam Score?

Google’s goal has always been one: to deliver the most relevant content to its users.

To this end, the technology giant has invested in a series of rules and resources to improve the indexing and ranking of sites on its search engine.

Best practices for obtaining a prominent position in search results are popularly called White Hat and are provided for in the best SEO strategies, search engine optimization.

Meantime, many sites try to circumvent the rules to get up the ranking faster.

In the past, pages with hidden links, link “farms” – a network of irrelevant sites used only to strengthen the relevance of a page or domain – and the indiscriminate use of keywords were very common. However, the current Google algorithm is able to easily identify these practices.

These “dishonest shortcuts” are known as Black Hat and, once detected, generate serious penalties for the sites involved, which can even be banned definitively from searches.

In the Spam Score language, these irrelevant addresses, whose purpose is nothing more than promoting third-party pages, are considered spam, as well as sites created solely to obtain clicks or disseminate inappropriate content.

The point is that a website classified as spam is not always an illegal project. Domains with unusual names, low quality content and, mainly, poorly executed link building strategies can also affect the reputation of the pages.

This means that, even if your site is entirely in accordance with the rules and quality required by Google, links pointed to your URLs or inserted in your content may be affecting your search performance.

This is exactly where Spam Score comes in as a practical solution in detecting these problematic addresses.

How is Spam Score measured?

The Spam Score gathers data from millions of websites evaluated by Moz, and, based on a careful analysis of these addresses, 27 risk signs are detected.

The presence of some of these signs is not necessarily a problem, not least because many of them are directly related to small domain failures and on-page SEO.

The signs are as follows:

1. low number of pages found: of course, recent websites and blogs will have fewer pages, so we shouldn’t take this indicator as a standard. However, several spam sites have few pages, so this signal is relevant;

2. suspicious domain extensions: spam website domains usually have unusual extensions like “.info”, “.cc”, “.pl”, among others;

3. large domains and subdomains: addresses with very long names also deserve attention;

4. numbers in the domain: Spam sites often feature domains with many numeric characters;

5. absence of special sources: Spam sites generally don’t use special fonts like the Google Font API;

6. absence of Google tag manager: feature rarely present on spam sites;

7. absence of the Doubleclick tag: this ad tag is also missing from most problematic sites;

8. fictitious phone numbers: Spam sites almost never have real contact details;

9. absence of links to LinkedIn: virtually no spam sites have linked pages to LinkedIn;

10. absence of email address: updated email addresses are not available;

11. absence of HTTPS standard: very few spam sites invest in SSL certificates;

12. use of meta keywords: pages that use meta keywords (tags in the HTML header for keywords) are also typical on spam pages;

13. few visits to the Jumpshot panel: sites with very few visits to the Jumpshot clickstream panel were often spam;

14. Canonical report: the use of the non-local “rel = canonical” tag is generally associated with spam;

15. very long or very short titles: pages with very long headlines, as well as those with very short headlines are also common on spam sites;

16. meta description too long or too short: the same goes for meta descriptions;

17. Long meta tags: pages that use very long meta tags are also considered suspicious;

18. no browser icon: spam sites rarely use favicons;

19. absence of Facebook pixel: the feature is rarely present on spam sites;

20. abnormal number of external links: too few or too many external links;

21. abnormal number of linked domains: spam sites are more likely to have excessively low or high numbers of linked domains;

22. abnormal proportion of external links: often have an exaggerated proportion of external links in their content;

23. many vowels or consonants in sequence in the domain: spam website domains often have irregular words;

24. hyphens in the domain: many malicious websites use multiple hyphens in their addresses;

25. Very long or short URLs: spam site pages commonly have abnormal URL sizes;

26. presence of controversial words: spam content is often linked to controversial or inappropriate topics such as illegal products, adult material or fraud;

27. anchor text with high CPC (cost per click) words: Spam sites often use words associated with spam links in the anchor text.

How do I check my site’s Spam Score?

To have access to your website’s Spam Score, just access the Link Explorer tool, insert your website’s URL in the indicated field and click on “Get free link data”.

On your first login you will need to create an account on the Moz platform and confirm your access by email. But don’t worry, this service, in particular, is completely free.

link explorer, by moz

At the end of the analysis, a panel will be presented with all the data generated. Access the item Link Research in the side menu and then click Spam Score. Your result will be visible in the last item on the right. Look at that.

link explorer, by moz

On the left side you will also see a breakdown of the percentage of domains that are pointed to your website, linked to the proportion of detected indicators among the 27 analyzable ones.

The more “signs” found in the links, the greater the chances of it being spam. The classification is as follows:

  • green (contains up to 30% of analyzable items): links are considered reliable;
  • orange (contains between 31% and 60% of the signs listed): it does not mean that they are spam, but they deserve attention;
  • red (contains between 61% and 100% of verifiable items): links that are highly likely to be spam.

In our example, 91.3% of the links are considered reliable, 6.5% are neutral and only 2.2% have a high chance of being classified as spam by Google.

How do I use Spam Score in my SEO strategy?

The Spam Score provides us with some insights to guide the creation of links on a website. Analyzing the most frequent problems within this theme, we can list some factors that, once detected, deserve to be corrected or improved immediately.

Few quality links pointing to the site in relation to the total number of links

This is the most evident problem seen in the results of the Spam Score.

If your site has few “green” domains in the evaluation, you need to improve your link management.

Too few or too many links in relation to the size of the site

Too many pages and too few links is as suspicious as few pages with multiple links.

Few nofollow links

The nofollow attribute indicates to search engines that a specific link should not be considered as a ranking factor for the site. Your presence indicates that there is a link management job being performed.

Few anchor texts mentioning the website’s brand

It is recommended that external links obtained from a keyword mention the brand in anchor texts, as this increases the credibility of the site.

Excessive number of external links

This may suggest that the purpose of your website is only to promote other domains.

Too many or too few internal links in relation to the size of the site

Few internal links indicate disregard for site navigation, while the excess may suggest a malicious action or an impaired user experience.

Hidden links on pages (listed in source code only)

This is a very famous Black Hat technique that substantially increases the chances of a site being punished by Google.

Keep in mind, however, that a high Spam Score does not necessarily mean that your website or the domains pointing to it are spam.

As we discussed, these signals can be identified when there are problems in the production of content, use of indicators of low authority or poor management of the links of the pages, as well as several other SEO problems.

Another important point is that the Spam Score only indicates the possibility of Google’s penalty, but it does not mean that this, in fact, will affect the position of a website in SERP. Thus, the purpose of this metric is just to provide a guide to assist your investigations.

In general, what we should do is avoid creating low quality links and develop an efficient link building strategy to ensure that your website’s references are always well interpreted by search engines.

Spam Score, however, is just one of the tools that you must use to have good results with Digital Marketing.

Just like your website’s addresses and pages, your email marketing strategy also needs to be carefully planned and constantly monitored so that your open and conversion rates are not hurt.

Did you like the article? So keep learning with us! Check out our email marketing calendar template right now and start managing your shots with excellence!