How Bing’s Spam Filter Will Affect Search Results

Sep 18, 2014

Bing recently released a new spam filter aimed at keyword stuffing that has impacted an estimated 3 percent of Bing search queries. According to Igor Rondel, the principal development manager of Bing Index Quality, the new filter will target webmasters who engage in URL or domain keyword stuffing in an attempt to unnaturally influence the Bing search results.

Specifically, Bing’s new spam filter will focus on URLs that feature

    new bing spam filter
  • Multiple hosts that contain keyword-rich hostnames.
  • Repetitive keywords in host or domain names.
  • A URL cluster across the same domain, but with varied hostnames that contain various keyword permutations.
  • URL squatting. This technique involves the attempt to divert traffic from legitimate high-traffic websites by misspelling the domain name.

How the New Bing Spam Filter Works
Bing is reluctant to divulge specific details of how the new spam filter will detect search spam, but has acknowledged that some of the signals that will be scrutinized include the size of the site and the number of hosts, the number of words in the host/domain path, and the percentage of the site cluster that contains top frequency host/domain name keywords.

An estimated 5 million websites have been affected by the new spam filter, resulting in a loss of more than 75 percent of traffic from Bing searches to these sites. Some 3 percent of all Bing search queries have reportedly been impacted.

What Exactly is Web Spam?
Bing considers any webpage to be spam if black hat SEP techniques have been used to game it’s search ranking algorithm for the purposes of unfairly increasing ranking in the Bing search engine. That being said, Bing recognizes that even what it considers to be spammy pages may contain valuable user content.

Bing’s fight against spammy results stems from its commitment to providing high-quality search results for its users; many spam results have been found to be of low quality that are occupying search engine real estate that could have featured higher quality content from more authoritative and relevant websites.

Fighting Spam by Understanding the Spammer’s Motivation
According to Bing, an understanding of the spammer’s motivation is the key to winning the battle against spam. Not surprisingly, the number one motivator is financial gain. The most common method used by spammers to monetize their web properties is through advertising. The more ads displayed, the greater the potential for making money.

In many cases, monetary goals manifest themselves throughout the website itself, and Bing’s spam filter algorithm was designed to read these clues by examining key website elements.

Specifically, Bing evaluates the quality of website content. Since the spammer’s primary goal is to attract traffic to ads and affiliate offers, the content is usually created to attract search engines rather than provide useful and relevant content geared to a search query. Among other factors, Bing looks at word count as well as content uniqueness.

While not every webpage that contains ads is necessarily spammy, Bing’s algorithm also looks for important signals such as the number of ads per page, their degree of intrusiveness, and their prominence on the page relative to the content.