Mozilla was manually penalized by Google this week for having tons of user generated spam on its website. User-generated spam usually appears on websites that have forums, guestbook pages etc. But in this case, it turned out it was not entirely Mozilla’s fault. Prior to a few days ago, searching for “site:mozilla.org cheap payday seo” would have yielding pages of spammy forum posts.
After receiving a notification from Google stating that it has applied manual spam action against them, Chris More, Mozilla’s Web Production Manager, immediately started repairing the problem. It turned out to be difficult as he could not find the reason for which Mozilla was being penalized. He stated that he could not find nor detect any spam content on www.mozilla.org. Since Google was not willing to be more precise regarding the spam, Mozilla could not remove the spam in question.
Google has often discussed the idea of being more transparent when handling spam actions, but that has not happened yet. Such idea was quickly turned down since Google does not want to give spammers pointers where they did wrong. This creates a very big problem for domains since they get penalized for something they did not know existed in the first place.
Manual penalties, unlike algorithmic penalties, are easier to handle. You detect the spam on the website, delete it, and send a reconsideration request to Google about your actions. But the problem with undetectable user-generated spam is that people usually do not know what to fix and what to send a reconsideration request for. Here’s the catch! By sending a reconsideration request, a website can ask Google to point out the user-generated spam. This procedure might take a couple of weeks, but it will rectify all the problems that have occurred on the way.
So to all webmasters, carefully monitoring your websites and police your user generated content. That seems to be the best defense against all the spammers out there.