At the time the community deleted a spam message by flagging we can see that these unfortunately were already indexed by Google:

This is an issue as spammers may only post here to make their spam appear in search results because of the high rank of SE.

Is there any way we can prevent search engines from indexing spam?

  • 2
    No, please don't tag questions with meta tags.
    – slhck
    May 4 '13 at 11:28
  • I should have been more precise; maybe the meaning of meta tags wasn't clear to you.
    – slhck
    May 4 '13 at 11:35
  • kk got it. Will remove this from the Q thanks.
    – Takkat
    May 4 '13 at 11:36
  • 7
    I think this is more Google's problem. In any case, what does it matter if the pages appear in search results (for quite a short while I assume)? If someone clicks on the link they get a 404 page. Benefit to spammer = zero.
    – JJJ
    May 4 '13 at 11:46
  • The links in a question even have nofollow set, so that'd thwart the SEO page-ranking boost that they're trying to accomplish, right?
    – J. Steen
    May 4 '13 at 11:49
  • @Juhana: at least part of the spam had a phone number in the first line - clearly visible from the Google cache snippets.
    – Takkat
    May 4 '13 at 11:56
  • @Juhana, but the spammer will get a better ranking for being linked, right? That's benefit, I'd say, and that might increase the spam attempts on SE, I guess.
    – Arjan
    May 4 '13 at 12:16
  • 3
    @Arjan Google links to the SE page, and any links in the question have the nofollow attribute which causes search engines to ignore them. No actual benefit to the spammer. (Another question is whether the spammer knows this.)
    – JJJ
    May 4 '13 at 12:19
  • 2
    (Ah, stupid, I forgot about the rel=nofollow, @Juhana. As an aside: search bots might not ignore such links, but indeed sane search engines claim they won't use such links for ranking. But I guess you know that.)
    – Arjan
    May 4 '13 at 14:47

The same issue is with Wikipedia:

  1. Create a new Page praising your company/website/self

  2. Get indexed within 20 seconds.

  3. Fool your frieds how famous you are

  4. Wait for wikipedia to delete in 2-3 hours

  5. Back to Stone Age

There is no way out, keep calm and let Google re-index.

  • Agreed that it is up to Google to re-index but as long as they only do this approx. 4 weeks later (see search for "site:askubuntu.com watch season online free") it is us who suffer from spammers abusing the SE network.
    – Takkat
    May 6 '13 at 7:32

Even if it is no benefit to spammers, It is beneficial to us to reduce the amount of false results that are indexed, for example a simple search like site:askubuntu.com watch game This can clutter up certain searches that users might use, and provides a second life for the even shadier spam, that with the right search appears with searching "pin" also used for Bluetooth and communication devices.

What is even worse is that some of the spam even got cached.

thoughts on possible solution: Commence discussion...

Is it possible to make a "no crawl" sandbox for suspected spam? (as nathan pointed out in comment, it probably is not possible..)

To do this it would be set up where it would look the same to the user, once meeting certain criteria or flagged as spam once - would add the right info in robots.txt to stop the index of the page, until either the normal spam flagging process takes place, or it is found not to be spam by normal process.

  • Anyone intelligent enough to search Google caches is going to a) know to ignore spam and b) understand that the spam probably doesn't exist anymore.
    – user206222
    May 4 '13 at 18:13
  • A potential problem with that is that robots.txt isn't likely indexed often enough. May 4 '13 at 18:34
  • @NathanOsman Ah so a recently created one would not work for sub pages then.... May 4 '13 at 18:44
  • @KnightswhosayNi that is also the reason for highlighting th potential missuse on the "credit" spam, I woldn't attribute that ability to a measure of intellengce, but in the verry least it is still a nusiance. May 4 '13 at 18:53
  • 1
    @mateo_salta We can't really do anything about Google's caches. They cache what they see.
    – user206222
    May 4 '13 at 18:54

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