What is a Splog? Splogs Explained
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The word “splog” is starting to crop up a lot. What are splogs? Splog is short for “spam blog”, and is used to describe what is essentially a garbage website, put up for the sole purpose of either displaying ads such as Google’s Adsense ads, or for the purpose of creating search engine traffic and search engine ranking for another website to which the splog points.

In reality, splogs aren’t really blogs at all, nor, some would argue, are they spam, at least not in the true definition of “spam” as being unwanted email.


Still, they are a large problem, and becoming larger all the time.

There are two primary forms of splogs: those which have almost no content at all, and those which have content that looks like a keyword file threw up on the page (which is basically the case) or which have stolen content from another site.

In either case, what they don’t have is useful content. Meaning that if you find your way to a splog, that splog has just cost you whatever your time was worth to get there.

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They steal from you in other ways, as well, by artificially inflating the ranking and links to other sites, causing those other sites to appear more attractive to both search engines and end users than they really are. If you follow a highly-ranked link from a search result, only to wonder why that site was so highly ranked, odds are good that you (and the search engine) were the victims of a successful splog campaign.

A perfect example of how this works, although not necessarily the results of splogs, is the “miserable failure” phenomena.

If you enter the keywords “miserable failure” into a Google search, the very first hit – the top ranked page – is the official Whitehouse biography of George Bush. Some have slammed Google for this, suggesting that Google had a hand in this, or, even if they didn’t, that they should rectify the situation.

 

But in reality what almost certainly happened is that more than a year ago some story, somewhere, included the term “miserable failure” in connection with George Bush. As people read and linked to that story, those links included the term “miserable failure”, and search engines love it when a link is attached to keywords like that, and so the search engine pushes the page up the rank ladder. The reasoning is that if a link includes those terms, it must be really relevant to those terms. Enough people linking to that biography, and including the term “miserable failure” with or near the link, and voila! That page is now the top result for the search term “miserable failure”.

While in the above instance the results were likely unintended, it is exactly on this principle (or lack thereof) that splogs work.

The search engines are working hard to exclude splogs from their ranking algorithms. Let’s hope that they are successful.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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