Bing Filtering URL Keyword Stuffing Spam Techniques

Rhett Pardon

SEATTLE — Bing has rolled out a new filtering mechanism that targets a common spam technique known as URL keyword stuffing.

The goal of URL keyword stuffing is to manipulate search engines to give the page a higher rank than it truly deserves.In the past few months it has employed the filter, Bing said that it filtered out an average of approximately one in 10 URLs per impacted query, or about 3 percent of Bing queries overall.

About 5 million sites with 130 million URLs have been impacted with the new policy, resulting in a reduction of more than 75 percent of traffic to those sites from the search engine, Bing said in a blog post last week.

Bing's Igor Rondel, who leads the search giant's "Index Quality" division, wrote that because URL keyword stuffing "includes maximizing impressions, [site operators] tend to go after high value, frequency and monetizable keywords."

"[S]pammers employ a variety of approaches to implement this technique, resulting in a number of distinct flavors," Rondel wrote.

Rondel noted that his division's staff puts focus on a number of signals that suggest possible use of URL keyword stuffing, including the site size and popularity signals, whether the site has multiple hosts with keyword-rich hostnames, whether the domain name has repeating keywords, and whether the domain has clustered keyword permutations across the same domain. It also puts a focus on cybersquatting websites that sipon traffic off of an existing website, as well.

Rondel wrote that it’s important to note that not all URLs containing multiple keywords are URL keyword stuffing spams.

"[W]e will not be giving out specific details on detection algorithms because spammers are likely to use that knowledge to evolve their techniques," he wrote.