For me, the epitome of link spam is spun or generated content.
There are entire websites out there that are nearly 100% nonsense, and falls into Google’s ‘Automatically Generated Content’ category of the quality guidelines.
It’s programmatically generated rubbish that serves no other purpose than to cram keywords into a certain format. You’ll probably never encounter genuine generated content out in the wild, Google is quick to de-index these sites. Some examples from Google are:
- Text translated by an automated tool without human review or curation before publishing
- Text generated through automated processes, such as Markov chains
- Text generated using automated synonymizing or obfuscation techniques
- Text generated from scraping Atom/RSS feeds or search results
- Stitching or combining content from different web pages without adding sufficient value
At some point in the past this practice might have worked, I can see the logic in creating a technically unique piece of keyword-rich content, in theory it could help the page rank for certain phrases, and give the sites they link to some degree of authority on the keyword topics used.
Now, however, Google is quick to penalise and remove these sites from their index, and in my experience it’s rare that generated content would still be live by the time I got round to reviewing specific links.
One currently live example is http://quickestinsurancequote.co.uk/ – a tricky site to view without being shoved through an affiliate re-direct to GoCompare.com. It’s also de-indexed in Google, Yahoo and Bing.
If you do manage to get through to this page though, you can see straight away that this page is not fit for human consumption:
There’s a distinct lack of pictures, formatting or anything that a normal webmaster would do to make a basic site look more appealing. What’s more, we can see that this site is little more than a blogroll, with all the latest articles starting with “Car Insurance…” – no prizes for guessing what this site is optimised for.
What’s worse, if you take a look at the title tag, we can see that the title of the page actually has ‘rubbish’ at the end. Nothing about this spam is subtle:
It’s unlikely that this domain will stay live for much longer, so here’s a screenshot of the kind of content that’s currently on the front page:
If, like me, you like to poke around in the source code you’d be sadly disappointed. It’s 12 lines long, and looks like this:
<form method='GET' id='form1' action='http://tracking.humbled.com/tracking202/redirect/dl.php' style='display:none;'>
<input type=hidden name='t202id' value='2586'><input type=hidden name='t202kw' value=''> <input type='submit'>
So it would seem from the source code that the only function of this site is to get readers re-directed to GoCompare (or whichever affiliate it points to at the time).
In any case, should you find yourself in front of something that clearly doesn’t read well, or looks like it’s been spat out by a thematic program, disavow the domain.