Is Google getting spammier?

Aug 5, 2022 by
Is Google getting spammier?

You’d like to think that, as a platform grows and evolves, it learns from its mistakes and things get better. But that’s not always the case. For many users, while Google has reportedly taken great steps to cut down on spam, things are only getting spammier.

The latest Google spam update finished rolling out in November last year, with the company also releasing three previous updates earlier in 2021. The search engine giant stated, at the time, that now more than 99% of searches should be completely spam-free, with 25 billion spam pages blocked every single day.

But still, spam results and spam emails persist for millions of us and for many, the problem is only getting worse. So, is Google getting spammier or are the spammers just getting smarter?

What is spam?

As defined by the Google guidelines, spam is any content that has malicious intent behind it. This could be anything from directing you to a site that steals your information to forwarding you to a site providing potentially illegal services.

The problem is that, while spam was once easy to spot, some hackers have ways of hacking into websites and sending spam on their behalf. This doesn’t just damage the consumer but also the site itself, as Google might drop its ranking as a result of the spammy behaviour.

Smart spam

As most systems have become more secure against software exploits and vulnerabilities, spammers have refined their spamming techniques by essentially disguising their spam as legitimate content.  Spammers are increasingly relying on fast-churning spam campaigns that often last less than a few days before they move on to another idea.

In an effort to counteract this smarter spam, many have accused Gmail (Google’s email client) of actually going too far. Indeed, after Google tightened its spam rules earlier this year and didn’t allow the public access to the spam handling parameters, many complained of hundreds of legitimate emails being marked as spam.

On its dedicated support page, Google explained: “If spammers send forged messages using your organisation’s name or domain, people who receive those messages may report it as spam. This means that legitimate emails from your organisation can also be marked as spam. Over time, your organisation’s internet reputation can be negatively affected.”

To minimise this problem, Gmail advises users to configure three things: the SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

What does it all mean?

SPF, DKIM and DMARC are the three primary security protocols, each of which is uniquely difficult to configure. SPF (sender policy framework) works by strengthening your DNS servers, DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) verifies the legitimacy of content and then DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) ties the two protocols together.

This is not child’s play and while some email clients do their very best, if you want to really understand how to steer yourself clear of spam, you’re going to want to work with a specialist to configure your system.

Is it getting spammier?

So, is Google getting spammier? No. But the spammers are getting smarter so it’s imperative that you do everything you can to keep them at bay.