A recent post on the official Google blog has a lot of webmasters and SEOs in a state of panic and on the edge of their seats awaiting the next big algorithm updates.
Matt Cutts made it clear that Google is making big developments towards fighting problematic spam like content farms and hacked websites. It’s been a tough uphill battle for Google keeping the search quality up with the amount of spam being pushed out every day. These new changes have brought upon some speculation from a specific question Matt answered about reporting spam.
Here are the question and answer that was posted on Hacker News:
Can you speak about the possibility for personal domain blacklists for Google accounts? I know giving users the option to remove sites from their own search results is talked about a lot in these HN threads. Is there any talk internally about implementing something like this?
[Matt's reply] We’ve definitely discussed this. Our policy in search quality is not to pre-announce things before they launch. If we offer an experiment along those lines, I’ll be among the first to show up here and let people know about it.
This caught my attention more than the hacked sites and content farm problems. I can see Google attempting to implement something along these lines to let users help fight spam and clean up the SERPs. There’s only one major problem with this approach, it has huge potential for manipulation. If Google gives users that much control over the SERPs, SEOs are going to have a field day black listing every website that ranks in front of them.
Of course Google would make this process seamless and simple otherwise people wouldn’t bother. The second something like this is implemented I can see 100 services popping up in some variation of: “blacklist your competitors on 1,000 different IPs and 10 different countries for $10.” It would be pretty simple to setup a service like this for an extremely low cost. Pay people to click the button or submit the form that throws up the spam flag on your competitors websites over and over again until they’re gone.
It honestly scares me that it might come down to something like this and I hope Google realizes how flawed of an idea giving users that much control is. If they think the spam is bad now, every legitimate and white hat SEO will be out of business before you can say black hat.