What is Spam?

Spam is in relation to a broad range of unwanted links, pop-ups, data and emails that we face in our daily interactions on the internet. Spam can be simply unwanted, but it can also be very misleading, harmful and problematic for your site in a number of ways.

Types of spam

There are now many forms of spam and various methods to tackle them. The most common types of spam fall into three categories:

• Search spam
• Traffic spam
• Link spam

Search spam

The objective of search spam is to change the ranking of a website in search results, usually with the expectation that minimal input will yield high rewards. Usually this will be used to increase the ranking of the spam user’s own site, over competitors. One of the most common search spam tactics is known as keyword stuffing.

Keyword stuffing is an outdated form of web spam and is now largely ineffective. Because early spammers understood that Google, and other search engines, relied on numerous of mentions of a keyword to rank pages, they started using a keyword like: pet shop, all over their website.

Similarly, keyword cloaking; whereby keywords and phrases are included in a page’s code but hidden from the reader’s view, is outdated and no longer used by most marketers.

Referral Spam

Referral spam or link spam is another broad but significant area of spam. Because links to your site are a significant indication for search engines of your authority, bad links can cause major damage.

Traffic Spam

The third major form of spam you may come across is traffic spam. Traffic spam can be one of two things, not necessarily exclusive of the other.

The first is related to link spam, where you received a link from a bad site and receive traffic from that site that causes high bounces from users. This can be seen as traffic spam because it will negatively impact your site and is unwanted.

The second variety of traffic spam is not real, well not exactly. Your marketing team or SEO agency should be checking your referral traffic on a regular basis. In traffic monitoring applications, like Google Analytics, you will be able to track referral traffic and see the platforms users are visiting your site from.

Among these sites you may spot some odd links. They could be links you didn’t get yourself or show sites where your link doesn’t appear visible. Or you may not find a site at that URL at all. This traffic is problematic as it could be link spam or it could be creating traffic spam which skews your monthly data.

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