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By Ben Hollom
Brands that include user-generated content on their websites should make sure that they are screening the content or they risk a spam penalty from Google. Apparently, this is what happened to Mozilla last week, Search Engine Roundtable reported.
Christopher More, web production manager for Mozilla, wrote a post on Google´s forums, explaining that Mozilla received a notification from Google stating that user-generated spam was detected on the site and that “a manual spam action” had been applied as a result. More stated that Mozilla was unable to discover any spam on its website and asked for further information from Google.
Despite the fact that Google claims full transparency in dealing with spam, it looks as if people are still struggling to find out what they did wrong. John Mueller, Google webmaster trends analyst, told More that Mozilla was not fully penalised, but the manual action was only applied to certain pages where the spam was detected. He claimed that in such cases, Google tried to be “as granular as possible” and explained that in this particular case spam came from users abusing the blog comments and the addons section and advised webmasters to use a spam filter and to monitor user-generated content.
However, the hard part for webmasters is the fact that by sending the notification, Google may have already removed some of the spam from its own listings, so they cannot even locate it using Google search, Search Engine Roundtable commented.