A few things I suggest (many of these you probably have already implemented in some way) Note: As I type this, I realize the more I type about ways to prevent webspam on searches, the better understanding I have for good content. Weird.
1. Put more weight on retweeted links on Twitter. You are more than likely doing this already in some way, but just to throw my .2 cents most people will not retweet something they personally don’t approve of. Of course there will be spam accounts and retweet wheels, but you can easily discredit that by the number of followers/history of profile they have and strength of them (current Twitter PR on each profile).
Another thing with Twitter is, maybe even note in the retweets that aren’t necessarily links. Maybe if you see something being mentioned a lot (not an active link, just text), you can search thru their previous or future tweets for a link to what they are talking about. There are a lot of good stuff people refer each other to on twitter from retweets that don’t have a link, but it should in some way send credit to that site?
2. Associate, record, and apply a brand or company name to a set of keywords. I don’t know if you guys do this or not, but many times when folks find something good; they will try to search for it by the genre or niche it was in (general broad keyword terms). Often times, the rankings are cluttered with junk that wasn’t what they were looking for. After they see the results aren’t what they are looking for, so they re-enter a broad keyword term with an attempted spelling of the name or brand of the website they can best remember. Even then it doesn’t pop up; if there was a way to associate some brand and names to certain keywords and google could figure it out, that would save out the junk and rank those pages that people truly find better up towards the front of Serps. Maybe even Google be able to credit brand/company name mentions on sites (even though they aren’t links, just the word) and it acts like a link, not as much, but gives some credit back to the site where it came from.
3. Less weight on useless mini-sites that are one pagers with barely any info. Unless it’s a really good site or the best out of a niche where there’s hardly any info; I’ve seen numerous exact keyword one page blogs that outrank a ton of really good, content filled sites.
4. People are still trying to create link wheels using social bookmark sites, some are even succeeding with useless articles that help no one.
5. Add weight to sticky threads on trust worthy forums. These things have a ton of good helpful info. And highly moderated, but I sometimes see those useless 1 page blogs come up before these.
6. Less weight on exact keyword domains. Yeah, even though I slick have one myself, these things are just eating up good space where better sites can show for searchers. Don’t get me wrong, some (like me) have great content and a great site built on it, so please don’t discredit that, but a lot of these sites are just junk. One or two pages with keyword density out of kazoo and a $5 non-helpful article they bought from someone in India that only describes what the definition of that keyword is and nothing more to benefit the reader. If people want summarizes/definition, wikipedia is alot better for this.
But these mostly one pagers are mini sites and just another doorway page. And now with domains going for $1 sales, super easy to set up hundreds of pages. They just flood up the top search space with spam. Not nearly what the Google users truly want.
7. Paid links. You guys are definitely working hard on this, but there are some that are blatant obvious are paid for links. Those claiming to be text link brokers, etc. are all paid links in my honest opinion. These links are weighing a lot and enough to manipulate these spam sites to the top. These spam sites then make revenue and able to pay for more links. So the rich get richer, and poor get poorer in rankings, and there are lots of sites out there that will help searchers a lot better. I am even at odds with Yahoo directory links; it’s a paid link. People understand they will get no traffic and only buy it purely for the SEO factor.
Right now, the thing I have been approached with a lot is emails from companies to host an “ad link” on their site. And when you ask they can they be ‘no follow’, of course they say their policy is no. And they pick the page with high PR. They stay low key with their operations though, so you have to find the sites that are all connected.
8. Kind of a personal rant here, but less weight on older sites in the “software” niche. Almost everything is going towards web based (as it should) and these older, crappier software sites still dominate search results. It doesn’t give us a chance to be able to give to the world a looott better software to the world. I bet millions of searches are done to find software, and people give up because they can’t find something ‘good enough’ that works great within our times of today (people expect great web apps now a days). But these good, newer, better sites just sit back behind the old, stagnant sites. For example, my site and web app employee-scheduling.com is leap years better than what comes up when you search for employee scheduling software but old, stagnant, download software sites show up. My site is all white hat (seomoz advice dear to heart, using exact keyword domain only because it’s so easy to remember for business managers), great content blog here, and site written for users, but having trouble climbing up. Granted, it’s still early and hopefully things will change as I go public launch (in private beta) and get more people talking. But I spent 8 full months making this good for the ‘end user’ and so hopefully that pays off in the end and Google will eventually follow?
Sorry for talking your ear off Matt, but I hope this helps at least some. You and your team probably are highly aware of these already, but maybe I (spent an hour writing this!) sent some helpful perspective and insight.
Sincerely,# ^ Nas Raja in Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/google-image-labeler-game/#comment-87075 Nas Raja in Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ WATCH out guys …. sometimes the image are offensive, I was playing with my wife and I see this cartoon where the gal is sitting down n guy is standing obviously they r nude so i had to guess … and my partner said “sex” eventhough i was more precise :) …. Google how can we avoid showing such images or filter ..?? Maybe thats why u guys came up with this game … lol Myles September 17, 2006 at 9:45 am top ranking of the day… 12 in 90s Jagadish September 26, 2006 at 3:31 pm I scored 12 today too ..ha ha ha :) I discovered there is this labelling thing today and needless to say I am addicted. I agree with what Bradley had written that people tend to over-generalize objects, events and things. Tagging images with labels like man and woman easily matches my partners and I dislike doing that even though I like to score more…Thanks but no thanks to Google.. Nas Raja September 28, 2006 at 1:46 pm Matt, You guys probably already know this: There are ALREADY attempts to spam the image labeler. I was just now getting strange labels from players such as “carcinoma, accretion, bequeathing” etc. – for images that had absolutely nothing to do with these relatively rare usage words. emma October 5, 2006 at 1:19 pm i heard jo whiley of bbc radio 1 talking about this and thought i would have a look, i wish i hadnt, i was nearly late picking my kids up from school as im addicted. ezcept for coming across the spam numerous times today, what is the point loving it Tobora Bender October 26, 2006 at 5:24 am To Nas Raja: Nas – it’s funny to see how so double-standard and hypocritical your opinion is… On one hand, if Google decides to exploit millions of people by using a tool that automates the costly annotation data collection process without paying a dime – it is fine and dandy… However, if someone else starts using a tool that automates the one used by Google – it is immediately called spam and abuse by Mr/Mrs Nas Raja! Do you really think the the spammers would want to use just a simple set of easily filterable keywords?… Congratulations, Nas – you are a golden standard of fair, unbiased and objective judgement towards Google and everybody else! Tobora Nas Raja October 31, 2006 at 5:55 pm