In the recent Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts, Google's Head of Search Spam, reveals whether Google regrets any decision related to web spam taken in the past years. The question posed was:
“Was there a key moment in your spam fighting career where you made a mistake that you regret, related to spam?”
Matt answered the question in a relatively long video saying that the only thing Google regrets is not acting quicker and faster on paid links and content farms.
Matt says that several years ago a well-known SEO company told him that paid links have become so common that there is probably no way out Google will be able to crack them or take manual actions against them and come up with a good algorithm. That is when he realized that Google has allowed paid links that passed page rank to go way beyond and become too common on the web. Therefore, around 2005-2006, Google cracked down a lot more aggressively on paid links. Matt says that now most people are aware that paid links are against Google and FTC guidelines. Now Google also has algorithms to fight against paid links, and it can also take manual actions around them. But what Google actually regrets is waiting too long before taking a strong stand against paid links.
Another regret, said Matt, is not acting sooner on content farms. Matt said that earlier there were groups of content farms and Google was getting internal complaints about the poor quality stuff and spam that gave users a horrible experience. The content farms mass created pages rather than really solving user needs with fantastic content. But when Matt himself browsed through one of these sites, he felt the user experience was good. However, Matt now feels that he generalized the quality of all the sites based on one particular example. He regrets judging from one anecdote and not doing a large scale sampling, listening to more feedbacks and going through more pages on the site. Although Google woke up to the call finally, but what Matt feels is that they could have done it much earlier.
Matt said that no doubt Google does a great job which is praiseworthy, but at the same time, he always wonders if Google could do better by acting one way or the other.Matt Cutts Feels Sorry for Not Acting Sooner on Paid Links and Content Farms!,