No we are not talking about some new food craze… Sally does a great job at explaining all.
Over to Sally…
Heard about Moz spam score?
Probably not, judging by the responses I got on Twitter the other week. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing – in many cases, the Moz Spam Score will never affect your blogging.
But if you make an income from your blog via sponsored posts, then the Spam Score is something you should know about. Read on…
What is it?
Spam Score is a score from 0-17 that indicates how likely your blog is to receive a webspam penalty from Google. It’s created by Moz, a group that specialises in producing metrics and data about the Internet.
A webspam penalty, briefly speaking, is where Google reduces your site’s visibility (sometimes completely) in search engine results because it thinks your site is spammy.
This can happen for lots of reasons, but the most common for bloggers is that Google identifies suspicious links on your site – links that have been paid for, but not tagged as “no-follow” (for a simple guide to follow v no-follow links, click here).
How is it calculated?
Moz Spam Score is calculated by looking at 17 ‘flags’ and seeing how many of them your site ticks. The flags include:
- A low MozRank score.
- Low link ‘diversity’, meaning lots of links pointing to very similar sites
- No social media links or contact details
- Unusual ratio of follow/no-follow links (very high or low)
- Low quality content
- Too many links pointing to other sites (this can make a site look like a link directory)
How do I find my site’s Spam Score?
You can check your site’s Spam Score at the Moz Open Site Explorer website – just plug in your URL and you’ll see it on the results page.
A high spam score – ticking a lot of the flags – means that your site shares a lot of characteristics with sites that Google has penalised in the past. Generally speaking, if your Spam Score is 0-4 the risk of penalty is very low. Five to seven means medium risk, while over eight means a site is high risk.
I have a Spam Score! Should I panic?
For starters, the ‘flags’ that make up the Spam Score are just indicators – they’re not a guarantee.
Some flags can be entirely innocent and so they are unlikely to trigger a penalty in isolation – like not having social media links on your site. Maybe you just don’t like Twitter! Or having a number in your URL – that can be very common among parent bloggers!
Think of your Spam Score as providing a statistical probability – so while 2% of other sites with a Spam Score of 2 have been penalised by Google, 30% of those with a Spam Score of 7 have been penalised. If you’ve got 14 or more, then pretty much 100% of sites with these flags have been penalised.
Does it Matter?
To some extent, your Spam Score doesn’t matter – it won’t trigger a penalty, and it’s not a guarantee you will be penalised. But… if you earn money via sponsored posts and paid links on your site, then your Spam Score could be very important indeed.
When buying links, brands and agencies are likely to avoid sites with a high Spam Score. This is for a few reasons:
- Brands don’t want to be associated with spam sites, as it makes their own sites potentially vulnerable to a knock-on penalty (especially when brands are paying for posts for SEO purposes)
- Brands don’t want to pay for content if there is a substantial risk that content might not be visible via Google in the event your site is removed from, or demoted in search results.
- Generally, brands get a boost in their own search engine results when you link to them – but sites with a higher Spam Score won’t pass along as much “link juice” as other sites.
Can I Fix a Spam Score?
Remember that a lot of the flags are perfectly normal and might not need to be fixed.
Some flags might be fixed naturally over time – it’s very normal for a new site or a very specialist site to have low link diversity, for example.
Have a look at which items on the list of flags your site ticks and consider if they need fixing. Adding a Twitter link and an email address is pretty simple, if you have them. If your site has an unusual ratio of follow/no-follow links, you might want to look at how you’re adding links to the site, and in what numbers.
But remember, these flags are only about similar sites – if your site is legit and there’s a good reason why you’re ticking those flags, then there’s almost certainly no need to worry.
For more info on how Spam Score works, check out the Moz website.