Spam

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In the last couple of months Open Site Explorer released a new Spam Score Metric as a way to evaluate your backlink profile and measure penalization risk for unnatural backlinks.

The original purpose of the tool is to check spammy backlinks to your website, evaluate potential links, conduct link cleanup and help with disavowing files in Google Webmaster Tools.

However we think you should also look at the Open Site Explorer Spam Score metrics to review your own website for spam factors that you may or may not realize are even affecting your website.

How does your website compare to what Moz, Open Site Explorer and Google would consider a “spam” site?

Spam FactorRatio*Reason
No Contact Info11.8Quality websites and real businesses have prominent contact information such as email, social profiles, and addresses.
Small proportion of branded links8.5The natural way for websites to link to you are through branded anchor text, not keyword rich anchor text.
Domain name with numerals7.5Spam websites often include multiple numbers because the domain names are automatically generated.
Large site with few links5.7Large quality websites will naturally attract a large number of links to it.
Low number of pages5.5Quality sites tend to have more pages than just one or two.
Low number of internal links4.9Quality websites will link heavily to other related pages on the site through navigation or content links, unlike spammy websites that are more likely to link to external websites.
Domain name length4.9Spammy websites often have very long domain names to accommodate keyword stuffing or differentiate from other related, equally spammy domains.
Ratio of Followed to Nofollowed domains4.6Quality sites will have a good balance of both Follow and Nofollow links, not just Follow links.
Thin Content3.9Quality websites will have balanced ratio of page specific content to navigational content.
Anchor text heavy page3.9Quality websites tend to have more content and less outgoing links and anchor text.
External links in navigation2.8Quality websites tend to have a navigation, sidebar and footer with links to pages on the site, unlike spammy sites that have external spam links on website’s navigation.
Low site link diversity2.6Quality sites will have a wide diversity of links from a number of different domains.
Large number of external links2.6Quality websites often have fewer links going out to other websites, unlike spammy websites that link heavily to other sites.
Top Level Domain associated with spam domains2.4Quality websites are not associated with spammy domains.
Site mark-up is abnormally small1.3Quality websites will invest in both content and rich markup like HTML, JavaScript, etc, to improve user experience.

* Example: 5.7 means websites with this are 5.7x more likely to be spam than a site without it.

What’s your spam website tolerance?

The makers of the tool have actually calculated the probability of spam based on the number of flags your site might trigger:

  • 0-4 factors: less than 7.5% chance of spam
  • 5 – 7 factors: 11.4 – 30.6% chance of spam
  • 8 – 10 factors: 56.8 – 77.3% chance of spam
  • 11 – 13 factors: 87.3 – 98% chance of spam
  • 14+ factors: 100% chance of spam

How to tell if a website is spam? If your website has more than 8 factors there is a good chance that Google could be viewing your website as spam. Fewer factors could still be hurting your website’s quality and trust score, and as a result, your rankings.

Don’t Get Labeled as a Spammy Website!

If you have read through the above list of factors and think you could potentially be considered a spammy website give us a call at 1-888-262-6887. We offer full SEO Website Audits that include a thorough analysis of your website and recommendations on how to improve your website so that Google moves from ranking it as a spam site to a quality website.

It has been just over one month since CASL, the new Canada anti-spam law, regulating email and other commercial electronic marketing came into effect. These CASL regulations are having a huge impact on businesses around the world.

According to Canadian government’s official Fight Spam website,

“If you use electronic channels to promote or market your organization, products or services, Canada’s new anti-spam law may affect you.”

The new spam laws in Canada requires that for all Canadian email addresses in your marketing database after July 1, 2014 you are required to have documented proof of consent, whether it be implied or express. Canada is getting tough on spam and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made it clear that it is the advertiser’s duty to understand and comply with the law.

In the early days of Canada’s new anti-spam law everyone seemed shocked and scared of the stiff penalties for non-compliance. The Globe and Mail reports:

The penalties for each violation can be up to $1-million for an individual and up to $10-million for companies. The law will be enforced by three government agencies: the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the office of the privacy commissioner, and the Competition Bureau. As of July 1, 2017, there will also be a private right of action, which means people can start taking legal action against anyone not following the rules. The big concern for businesses is the threat of class-action lawsuits.

This is not just a law directed at instant messaging or emails – if you use email, SMS, Social Media, and Instant Messaging or operate an e-commerce site, you need to understand the law too. In order to help you better understand CASL and what you need to do to be compliant we have compiled a number of reputable and resources.

1. CASL Explained

By CRTC – The CRTC staff provide a detailed overview of the law and its ramifications in this informative YouTube video.

2. Does CASL Apply to My Business?

By CRTC – This is an informative video that examines several business models and the effects of the new CASL law in each scenario.

3. The Big Three of CASL

By Fightspam.gc.ca – This infographic is worth printing and hanging up on your marketing department wall to help in compliance with the CASL.

4. The FAQs of CASL

By Fightspam.gc.ca – This is where you can access the most frequently asked questions about the new law and any other questions you come up with, including the difference between implied and express consent, how to prove you have consent, how to ensure full compliance and Canada anti spam law for businesses in the US (ie. how CASL applies to your business practices outside of Canada).

5. Express Consent and E-Commerce

By CRTC – One of the big changes that must be considered with your e-commerce forms is the Toggle Form.  Your customers must physically opt in for the order or subscription to be valid and a pre-checked box that put the onus on the customer to opt out is no longer valid. Inaction on the part of the customer is now considered as a lack of consent.

6. The CEM Compliance Tree

By Lawson Lundell LLP – The law firm of Lawson Lundell LLP has developed a great flow chart (go to page 6) to track what is needed to stay in compliance with the law when sending a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM). Know how to answer questions such as does CASL apply, does the message comply with content requirements, how to know if the message is exempt from requirements and if consent can be implied.

7. UBC Compliance Check List

By The University of British Columbia (UBC) – UBC has put together this convenient checklist to help you stay or get back into compliance with the law.

8. 3 Steps to CASL Compliance

By Constant Contact – A valuable checklist from one of the leading email marketing sites in North America.

9. Anti-Spam Toolkit

By McCarthy Tetrault – A 42-page document that includes information about updating messaging systems, false or misleading statement, technical compliance as well as an initial compliance questionnaire, CASL preparedness checklist and commercial electronic message decision tree.

1st on the List has provided this information and links as a courtesy and is in no way representative of the opinions stated there in. This is not intended to be a full analysis of how CASL may apply to you. If you feel your site is not meeting acceptable standards we recommend contacting legal representation.