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World War Z and Spammy Websites

Over the weekend I finally got to see the awesomeness that is World War Z.

Short blurb on the movie: loved it, love Max Brooks and while the movie goes against a lot of things I believe about zombies, it was an amazing entry into the genre.

Sitting in the movie theater as the credits begin to some music apparently put together by Matthew Bellamy of Muse, I wondered if there were any scenes after the credits were over. Rather than waiting until the end when my bladder was sure to explode, I decided to search it.

Let’s see if you can find the problem I’m having with these search results.

search engine results spam- spam websites- World War Z

Notice that there really is only one site dominating this entire search page? Me too, and to make it even better, none of these results provide me with the information I’m looking for. A  friend who was with me said, “Google searches are crap,” much to my dismay considering all the information that we know about Google searches within the SEO world.

I, along with my bladder, was really upset about this, and wanted to find a way to make it right so that poor souls stuck in the theater wondering about the end of the credits would have an answer without being bombarded by spam. (There weren’t any ending scenes after the credits, by the way!)

My Quest To Report Spam

So when is it ok to display multiple results from the same website? Matt Cutts simply says that it happens when Google thinks it’s useful and it doesn’t hurt diversity too much. Now I’m definitely all for that, and if it were great content on each of those pages I honestly wouldn’t care too much, but there is not content related to what my search was for.

How could all of this awful content be taking up all 10 spots on the first page? Easy answer? Spam. But what makes me so uncomfortable and violated (seriously, I feel icky) about this spam that I found over the weekend is that the most recent Google Penguin 2.0 updates are supposed to be taking care of these domain clusters, and isn’t this questionable content not supposed to be found on page 1 anyway?

I get that after the cluster on the first page, the domain shouldn’t be found on subsequent pages, but take a look at page 2.

spam, page 2 of google search engine results, world war z

Another little cluster. But hey, what a second, BAM! Good results with actually relevant content and it takes me less than 10 seconds to find what I’m looking for on each of these websites. Very frustrating that they are ranked 14, 15, 16.

So now I weigh my options about what I can do about this particular website. Google says, “Some webmasters attempt to improve their page’s ranking by creating pages with many words but little or no authentic content. For example, content may be stolen from other sites (“scraped”), or consist of autogenerated nonsense. Duplicate content can also show up as affiliate programs with little or no original content. Typically, affiliate websites feature product descriptions that appear on sites across that affiliate network. Some affiliate programs distribute content to several hundred affiliates. Because a search result could return many of these sites, all with the same content, they create a frustrating user experience.” Anyone online has permission to report any website not following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines using these methods:

Now the best part about all of this is which will I use? Easy, use all the methods!

penguin spam report submission

Is all of this a little overboard for a cute little movie query? I say no, because in this industry when you’re trying to make every search a clean one for users, everything you can do is relevant. But yes I do understand that I was a little upset about this particular query. What can I say? I take my movies seriously– just ask anyone here at the office.

Here’s my discussion on the Webmaster Forums if you’d like to comment, or feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

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