Google's war against scraper sites continues

Scraper sites hope to exploit the popularity of the original content makers to steer search engine traffic to their sites.

Google appears to be getting ready to launch another offensive against website scrapers.

Scraper sites are usually operated by spammers. They copy almost all the content of the scraper site from other websites. By doing so, they hope to exploit the popularity of the material from original content makers to steer search engine traffic to their sites to make money through advertising.

"Scrapers getting you down? Tell us about blog scrapers you see... We need datapoints for testing," Google's web spam leader Matt Cutts said in a recent tweet.

Cutts' war cry illustrates Google feels more effort is needed to combat scrapers.

Along with his tweet, Cutts included a link to a form that allows web surfers to report scraper pages to Google. Some of that information may be used to test and improve Google's algorithm, the company said.

The form asks for the text of the search query that produced the scraping problem -- such as a scraper site outranking an original content site -- as well as the URL for the original content site and scraper site. There's also a form field for top-of-head comments.

Some scrapers are so successful in what they do that their sites achieve higher search engine rankings than the sites of the content makers from whom they pinch their material. Google attempted to correct that situation in January, when it changed its top-secret search algorithm aimed, among other things, to address the scraping problem.

Scraping, along with search results poisoning, have long been a problem with search engine results, although Google has steadfastly defended the quality of its results, saying the results are better than they have ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness.

Earlier this year, Google announced changes, including filter changes, in its algorithm. The filter changes, referred to as "Panda," didn't quell the problem. Quite the contrary, it may have made it worse. "We've experienced a significant drop in our traffic (almost 35%) as a result of this change (with an equivalent drop in revenue)," wrote one webmaster after the change took effect. "We believe that our only crime is that we host user-generated content."

Google took another crack at the scraping problem in June, when it rolled out version 2.2 of the Panda filters. Reviews of that move appear to be mixed.

With this latest effort by Google to garner information on scraping sites, maybe the next version of Panda will finally put the issue to bed.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags searchspamantispamGooglesecuritybest of the webspam blockersinternetsearch engines

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?