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Bing Sets Up URL Keyword Stuffing Spam Filtering

Keyword stuffing is one SEO habit of old that will probably land you a penalty. But you know what's worse than keyword stuffing? URL ke...

URL Keyword Stuffing is going!

Keyword stuffing is one SEO habit of old that will probably land you a penalty. But you know what's worse than keyword stuffing? URL keyword stuffing. That's right. This is a black-hat technique that's designed to manipulate search engines to give the page a higher rank than it deserves. When it comes to web spam, Bing isn't one to stand and take abuse while Google extricates itself. Bing recently revealed that it now has a spam filter in place to keep URL keyword stuffing in check. Let's take a look at what this is, and how search engines in general (and not just Bing) look at keyword stuffing

What is URL Keyword stuffing?

URL Keyword stuffing is designed to give pages a higher rank than they truly deserve. The technique relies on two assumptions about ranking algorithms.

  1. Keyword matching is used

  2. Matching against the URL is especially valuable

Although these are among hundreds, possibly thousands of other signals that are used to rank pages, they still are significant. Taking advantage of this fact, spammers firstly use keyword rich domain names. And since their goal is to maximize impressions, they tend to go after high value/ frequency/ monetizable keywords (e.g. loan, payday, free, etc.).

Spammers take a variety of approaches when implementing this concept. Here are some of the most common ones;

  • Multiple hosts, with keyword-rich hostnames e.g. http://account.free.online.savings.samedaypaydayloansusa.com

  • Host/ domain names with repeating keywords, e.g. http://loan.payday.paydayloanspaydayloansusa.com

  • URL cluster across same domain, but varied hostnames comprised of keyword permutations 

    • http://contososhoes.shoesonsale.com/

    • http://bestsrunningsneakers.shoesonsale.com/

    • http://discountrunningapparelforwomen.shoesonsale.com/

  • URL squatting: This is a little different as the spammer is playing on a human tendency to misspell keywords & in effect syphoning traffic off of existing (typically high profile/ traffic) sites. E.g. http://nytime.com (misspelling of http://nytimes.com), http://ebey.com (misspelling of http://ebay.com) etc.

How does Bing detect URL keyword stuffing?

If a search engine wants to stay in business and maintain the quality of its search results, it will never disclose how its algorithms work. This is because spammers are likely to use that knowledge to evolve their techniques and cheat the system. However, Bing did reveal a number of signals they use that could suggest possible use of URL keyword stuffing.

  • Site size

  • Number of hosts

  • Number of words in host/ domain names and path

  • Host/ domain/ path keyword co-occurrence (inc. unigrams and bigrams)

  • % of the site cluster comprised of top frequency host/ domain name keywords

  • Host/ domain names containing certain lexicons/ pattern combinations (e.g. [“year”, “event | product name”], http://www.turbotaxonline2014.com)

  • Site/page content quality & popularity signals

According to Bing, this update has effected ~3% of total queries. Around 5 Million sites comprising over 130 Million URLs have been impacted, which is a significant number. It's effect might be similar to Google's payday loan algorithm, although the approaches used the the two algorithms are different.

Are you using any of the mentioned techniques to rank up? Google might not have caught your URL Keyword stuffing, but Bing has, which means Google isn't much far behind either. Stay safe, and keep the internet healthy. Cheers :)



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Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups: Bing Sets Up URL Keyword Stuffing Spam Filtering
Bing Sets Up URL Keyword Stuffing Spam Filtering
Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups
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