AI-based spam prevention system launched in 2018

Meet SpamBrain. That is the name of Google’s AI-based spam prevention system that the search company launched in 2018, yes over a few years ago.

SpamBrain is credited by Google for catching about six times more spam sites in 2021 than it did in 2020, reducing hacked spam by 70% and reducing gibberish spam on hosted platforms by 75%.

SpamBrain. It is the first we are hearing the name SpamBrain. Google referenced it in the 2018 Google spam report, specifically the spam trends section where Google talks about its “machine learning systems” to improve search spam detection.

Google confirmed that this is the first time they are talking about this name, SpamBrain, publicly. “Since we first started using it, we’ve been updating SpamBrain constantly, and it’s grown much more effective at detecting and nullifying both existing and new spam types,” Google told us.

Google also said that SpamBrain “was built to be a robust and evolving platform to address all types of abuse.”

Spam improvements. Google said that in 2021 it made additional strides in detecting and thwarting search spam attempts. These highlights include:

  • ~6 times higher identification of spam sites
  • 70% reduction in hacked spam sites
  • 75% reduction in gibberish spam on hosted platforms
  • 99% “spam free” searches

More on spam. Google talked a bit about its spam-fighting efforts, saying that links are still important for ranking and that its link spam algorithm in 2021 helped “broadly identify unnatural links and prevent them from affecting search quality.” Google also released a two-part spam update, part one and part two in June 2021 and then a November 2021 spam update.

Why we care. You can check out the previous Google web spam reports from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 if you want to follow the progress.

Google will continue to fight spam in order to try to keep its search results useful and of higher quality. While some sites may still get away with some spam tactics, Google is constantly launching new methods to detect and block those sites from ranking highly in Google search.

Long-term success in Google search should be about creating a spam-free site that ranks through the test of time. Build quality and build something you are proud of. Hopefully, your site will rank through all future spam and quality updates.


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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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