Don’t Get Penalized: How to Check the Spam Score of a Site (And Why You Should!)

Don’t Get Penalized: How to Check the Spam Score of a Site (And Why You Should!)

Nobody likes getting spammed, yet there are more than 14.5 billion spam emails sent mailboxes every day.

That accounts for a whopping 45% of all the emails sent worldwide!

Spamming doesn’t only apply for email messages, but also for websites. For example, your spam scoring determines how well you rank in search engine result pages and whether your website is seen well by Google or not.

Certain websites are considered to be spammy based on various factors and flags.

But what exactly is spam and why should you care about it?

Let’s find out in this article.

Spam Scoring Explained

There are various ways you can rank a website.

You can use the Alexa ranking system, Google Page Rank, Moz rank, etc.

Spam is considered to be an unsolicited and irrelevant message used online. Certain backlinks can also be considered as spam if they come from websites with a bad reputation on the internet.

Spam is also used for fraudulent activities such as identity theft. It is estimated that the annual cost to productivity caused by spammers is around $20 billion.

Each website is checked for various flags or signs which indicate spam content.

For example, Moz has released a ranking system for websites which contains 17 different flags for spam.

If a website has many spam flags, its spam scoring is considered to be high and vice-versa.

This metric system helps website owners keep track of their subdomains, individual pages, and backlinks. By monitoring spam on your website, you avoid getting penalized by Google or other search engines.

Site Accessibility and Mobile Viewing

In addition to a site getting flagged for spam, it can also be triggered for bad browsing capability and user navigation outside of traditional desktop usage. With mobile usage now on the rise like never before, Google is putting huge weight into this area for sites of all types. And if you already have web hosting set up with a reliable solution like WPEngine, they can help you in making sure your site is fully responsive across all devices and platforms.

Take a quick look at some of the global mobile usage stats below.

  • 71% of users visited a retailer website or used a retailer app
  • 64% of users conducted a search on a search engine
  • 42% visited a non-retailer website or used a non-retailer app
  • 41% visited a store or other location
  • 23% looked at images or photos online

To learn more about these stats and how you can improve your mobile usage and engagement, you can refer to this mobile SEO optimization guide. This resource not only dives deeper into what you need to know about mobile usage and keeping your site up to date to avoid Google penalties and spam score, but also how to improve your on-site and off-site SEO to rank above the competition.

How Web Site Spam Scoring Works

Spam scores are easy to determine. They use the Moz Index to check for flags for each subdomain.

When flags are found, they are added to the score. The spam score is cumulative, so the higher the number of flags found, the higher the spam scoring.

  • For example, sites with 4 flags have a 7.5% spam probability.
  • Sites with 7 flags have an approximately 30% spam probability.
  • Sites with 13 or more flags have an almost 100% spam probability.

If your website triggers a few spam flags, it’s not a very big deal. You should be worried when more than 7-8 flags are detected as this can make Google label your website as spam.

It’s important to mention that spam scoring focuses on subdomains only. The root domains are not taken into account.

The spam score takes other factors into account such as external links, the location of the top-level domain, etc.

Let’s take a look at some of the flags checked by the Moz Index system.

Spam Score Flags

These flags can be divided into two categories such as link flags and on-page flags. There are other signals on top of these 17 flags that might contribute to the spam scoring of a website.

#1 – Site with multiple pages but a few links

It is not normal for a large website to have very few links pointing to it (backlinks).

This means that the site content isn’t extremely valuable and Google will eventually rank it lower in search engine result pages.

#2 – Few number of branded links

If a site has a few branded links or branded keywords in its content then it might trigger a spam flag.

Google and other search engines look for anchor text links containing branded keywords. If the total number of branded links is low, that might cause an increase in the spam score.

#3 – Low score on MozTrust and MozRank

These are independent metrics released by Moz.

If a site scores low on these two metrics, it might trigger a spam flag and have its spam scoring increased.

This usually happens for websites with poor-quality content or bad on-site SEO.

#4 – Low number of internal links

An internal link points to a page on the same website.

Internal linking is good for SEO and also helps readers find more information related to the same subject.

If a website has few internal links, this might increase the spam score.

#5 – A high number of external links

Each website must point out to other websites.

However, when Google discovers that there are simply too many external links on a website, this might result in a spam flag.

The spam signal is more evident when the ratio of external links to internal links is abnormal (too many external links compared to internal links).

#6 – Poor-quality content

Google loves websites with valuable, diversified content.

If the content of a website seems duplicated, automatically generated or looks like scraped content, this can trigger a spam flag and the site might be penalized.

#7 – Contact details are missing

All high-quality websites have their contact details prominently displayed on the front page or in a “contact” page.

This helps to build trust with the customers and make it easier to get in touch via phone or email.

Sites with no contact info displayed are considered spammy by search engines and their spam scoring will be high.

#8 – Sites with long domain names

It is not a good idea to have a website like “www.getthebestgamesonlinecheapprices.com”

This is a surefire way to have your website penalized for spam.

It’s called keyword stuffing and Google doesn’t like it anymore, so if you create a website, stick with short and sweet domain names.

#9 – Low number of pages

There must be a correlation between the age of a website and its total number of pages.

For example, a 5-year old website with just 4 pages indicates that the website hasn’t been updated in a long time.

Similarly, a very high number of pages isn’t much appreciated either, so try to be somewhere in between.

#10 – Too much anchor text

The anchor text represents the actual words which redirect you to an external link when you click on them.

It is normal for every web page to have some anchor texts. However, if the page is stuffed with links (25 or more) then this is might trigger a spam flag.

Other Signals For Spam

There are other signals used by the research team at Moz to check for spam.

These signals act as spam flags and they can increase or decrease the spam scoring. Let’s take a look at them:

#11 – A domain name with numerals

Websites such as “www.catfood123.com” are not seen well by Google. Numerals are not required in a domain name and they usually indicate a spammy website.

#12 – Not having an SSL certificate

SSL certificates are a must-have these days.

They ensure that the information entered through the site is encrypted and protected against theft.

A site with an SSL certificated begins with “https://”. A site without it begins with “http://”.

Not having an SSL certificate can be seen as a spam flag, so make sure you always have one on your website to avoid being penalized by Google.

#13 – Titles too long or too short

The title of your web page is very important.

It should convey what’s the page or blog post about and provide interesting information to entice visitors to read more.

Pages with very long titles are considered spammy. So are those with titles made from just a few words.

#14 – Not having a favicon

A favicon is also known as the browser icon of a website.

It is displayed next to the website name on each browser tab. Not having a favicon is usually seen as a spam signal. All trustworthy sites have a favicon and should your website.

#15 – Hyphens in the domain name

Websites such as “www.cheap-cat-food.com” are not seen with good eyes by Google.

Having one or more hyphens in the domain name is usually associated with spammy websites and it should be avoided at all costs.

Reasons To Check the Spam Score

Having a clean website is paramount for the success of your online business.

Checking the spam scoring regularly helps you stay on top of your spam backlinks and avoid a penalization from Google.

Here are a few reasons why you should do it:

1. Prevent bad links from dragging your website down

Each website will eventually have a few spammy backlinks pointing to it. You should run a spam check to see how much weight these bad backlinks carry and which one you should eliminate.

2. See how many spam flags are found on your website

It’s great to know if you are about to be penalized by Google or not.

By running a spam check, you can discover spam flags or signals you previously didn’t know about.

This gives you a clear picture of what to work next to improve your website.

3. Build a better relationship with your customers

Remember that everyone hates spam!

If potential clients look up your website and discover that it has a high spam scoring, they might not want to do business with you.

By keeping your spam score down and trying to optimize your website or blog, you can build a trustworthy relationship with your clients.

Conclusion

Knowing more about spam and spam scoring helps you become a better website owner. You can check your subdomains or individual pages and make tweaks to reduce your spam score.

To extend your knowledge about spam, feel free to also check out our article on eliminating spam comments on WordPress!

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