Does Google’s algorithm cause malware?

Binary with the word "hacked" in the center

This may be a ridiculous question or correlation, but, if you think about it…

  • Fundamental to Google’s algorithm is PageRank
  • PageRank is calculated by inbound links from other websites
  • If you want to rank well on Google then you try to get inbound links
  • Webmasters will often pay link developers for inbound links
  • Spammers have created robots to generate inbound links via blog comments
  • These blog comments sometimes have malware
  • Therefore, Google’s algorithm causes malware

I’m sure that my Logic Professor at my alma mater would be horrified at my conclusion.  But, there is a loose correlation.

There has been talk that Google’s Page Rank, or PR, is becoming less and less significant and perhaps even irrelevant with regard to a site’s ability to rank on Google.  This site, SEOQ.com, for example is a PR zero.  But, if I Google some of my most important search terms then it will rank on the first or second page of Google.  And, SEOmoz thinks that SEOQ.com is a PR4 or MozRank 4.

And, not all link builders are spammers and not all spammers create or propagate malware.  But, the nature of Google’s algorithm has certainly motivated spammers to create robots to build thousands of links and most of these links live in blog comments.

If Google were to stop using or relying so much on inbound links as a signal, which I believe it has already begun to do, and then if it were to more proactively and broadly advertise this change to the public then there will be less demand on link building and less motivation for spammers to automatically propagate spammy link comments and that would, hopefully, lessen the propagation of malware.

Some interesting articles that I have seen on the subject: