At the WMW conference this evening, Google held a Meet the Google Engineers roundtable cocktail party. More
about the event itself in a later post, but I wanted to let everyone know what a Google engineer said about one of
the aspects of the Google algorithm.
The question asked of the Google engineer was in regards to whether or not Google penalizes or filters a site that
has a sudden influx of new pages. This was the explanation given (paraphrased)...
Google does not specifically filter for any one particular thing like that. Instead the algorithm looks at other
similar situations and determines if the action is good or bad. For example, if a 2-page site suddenly adds 10,000
pages, there may in fact be a legitimate reason for it to do so. But the algorithm will first make the assumption
that the action is "suspicious" and will then look at a large sample of other 2-page sites that have
suddenly added 10,000 pages. If the majority of those sites were considered spammy, then your site will get lumped
into the same spammy category. Of course, if the majority of those sites were deemed to be legitimate, then your
site would likewise be deemed legitimate. Basically, he admitted that there may in fact be absolutely nothing wrong
with your site, but it may be filtered or penalized if it fits the profile of other sites that have been marked as
He suggests that if your site falls into such a category (of being legit, but being lumped into a spammy
classification), then you should let Google know about it. He implied that the matter would be looked into, and
that the algorithm may be adjusted to be able to handle situations like yours in the future, but that nothing may be
done to directly impact your particular site (other than adjusting the algorithm in general).
Now, I have to assume that when he talked about looking at a large group of sites that have gone from 2 pages to
10,000 pages, he wasn't being literal. Presumably, sites included in that group had a few pages (not specifically
2) and added a lot of pages (not specifically 10,000). I assume that is obvious to everyone, but I just wanted to
make sure that I mentioned it.
Of course, we do not have access to the massive amount of data that Google does. Therefore, we cannot determine if
our actions (such as adding a large number of pages at one time) is going to fit into the profile of spammy sites or
the profile of legitimate sites. So if it were me, I would assume that any action that has the potential to be
considered a "spammy action" should be avoided. This would include things like suddenly gaining a large
number of backlinks.
We, as SEOs, have often said (in the recent past) that adding a lot of pages or a lot of backlinks at one time might
cause a filter or penalty. Finally, there is solid evidence that this is true. So be careful out there. If you
need to add a lot of pages to a site, try to do it over a period of time. Who knows...even that may end up lumping
your site with other spammy sites, but I assume it will be much less of a red flag than adding them all at one time.