How to Report Spam to the Major Search Engines

Eliminating search engine spam makes the world of search engine optimization a fairer place, and searchers around the world get better results. Fighting spam is a top priority for the search engines, and you should report it when you see it. All the major search engines — Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Live Search, and Ask.com — enable you to submit spam reports.

Reporting spam to Google

Google has two ways to submit a spam report:

  • Registered Webmaster Tools users can submit an authenticated spam report. Google promises to investigate every spam report submitted by a registered Webmaster Tools user.

  • Anyone can fill out an unauthenticated spam report at the same site. Google says they assess every unauthenticated report in terms of its potential impact, and investigate “a large fraction” of these reports, as well.

    Google’s authenticated spam report form
    Google’s authenticated spam report form

The above figure shows the easy-to-complete spam report form that’s available to Webmaster Tools users.

Reporting spam to Yahoo!

If you detect search engine spam in Yahoo! search results, there’s a form you can use to report it to them, as shown below.

Yahoo!’s spam report form
Yahoo!’s spam report form

Reporting spam to Microsoft Live Search

Microsoft Live Search doesn’t have a spam report form at a specific URL, but there is a way to report spam nonetheless. The below figure shows the form you use.

You can report spam using the Feedback form in Live Search.
You can report spam using the Feedback form in Live Search.

Here’s the drill for reporting spam to Live Search:

  1. On the MSN home page, run a search that brings back the offending Web page in the results set.

  2. Scroll down to the lower-right corner of the page and click Feedback.

    You can see the form in the above figure.

  3. Choose Found Spam from the Type of Feedback drop-down list box.

  4. Type in any details you feel are needed in the Please Type Your Feedback Here text box.

  5. Specify the spammy Web page by entering its URL in the If You Found Spam or Expected a Specific Website in the Search Results but It Wasn’t There, enter the Web Address (URL) Here box.

  6. Click Submit.

Reporting spam to Ask.com

If you want to report an inappropriate search result in Ask.com, you can use their generic form for reporting a site issue, which is shown below.

The Report Site Issue form lets you report spam to Ask.com.
The Report Site Issue form lets you report spam to Ask.com.

To report spam to Ask, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the FAQ page and click the Report Site Issue tab.

  2. Enter your e-mail address (required) and then select an option from the Topic drop-down list (select Web Search Results if you’re reporting spam).

  3. Enter details in the Message field.

    Because Ask.com’s form is rather generic, they give you a few guidelines for what you should include in the Message text box. Tell them the following:

    • The exact key words or phrases you used to get the search results in question.

    • The exact Ask.com Search channel you are using, either Web, Images, News, or other.

    • The URL of the page where you see the inappropriate result.

  4. Click the Continue button, and then click Submit.

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