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I wanted to clarify a quick point: when people search for a phone number and land on a page like the one below, it's not really useful and a bad user experience. Also, we do consider it to be keyword stuffing to put so many phone numbers on a page.

There are a few websites that provide value-add for some phone numbers, e.g. sites that let people discuss a specific phone number that keeps calling them over and over. But if a site stuffs a large number of numbers on its pages without substantial value-add, that can violate our guidelines, not to mention annoy users.
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Danni R.'s profile photoConsulenze Web Marketing's profile photoEliezer Cisner's profile photoMatthieu Cocteau's profile photo
85 comments
 
That would help a LOT when researching phone numbers that are calling which is quite the annoyance! I just wish that there was a way to do a reverse lookup without having to pay for it!
 
Excellent. Now, if you can get Tom with Home Protection to stop robo-pitching us all 3 times a day, that would be superb!
 
I usually report them as spam.. They don't offer relevant information, they should not be trying to get me to go to their site...
 
Hey Matt, I have a Google SEO issue I need to discuss with you. Can you email me at carlosmiller@magiccitymedia.com please? Thanks!
Scott S
 
Seriously, Google, what took you so long on this one?
 
Whoa! Was that just through a standard Google search?
 
Does this mean google is going to stop showing these pages at the top of the SERPs?
 
Matt !! That's a good action the spam teak has taken. Similar action to be taken on domain parked sites which comes in a ranking that annoying user search experience.
 
somehow 'annoy users' isn't quite strong enough!
 
Looks like the results of an old school wardial
 
+Rob Beschizza , you might consider Google Voice to block robocallers. Newer Panasonic cordless phones also let you save a number as blocked. :)
 
Very much annoys me. Going to start populating my personal block list with sites that do that a little more aggressively. I need to be able to go seamlessly from Google Voice, to searching on that number, to blocking that number...
 
This is great, I needed more (650) code numbers for my growing online phone number collection, thanks Google, great find!
 
"Seriously, Google, what took you so long on this one?"

+Scott S , these pages have always been considered violations of our guidelines as keyword stuffing--I just wanted to be especially clear so that we could point to explicit guidance we'd given.
 
Fortunately, the Google search snippet shows a few sequences of numbers from pages like this and saves me (and others I'm sure) form bothering to visit the page.
 
Please de-list sites like this, even lowering their ranking doesn't help if no other site has the phone number.

Just my two cents, but it is a really disappointing user experience.
 
Great info Matt! I have done plenty of reverse phone searches before and those pages have always annoyed me.
 
Hey....This is a real example of SPAM that Matt has mentioned.Visit following link. I search for a number "9824233695" in Google.com and i see lots of spam results.

https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=9824233695&oq=9824233695&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_nf=1&gs_l=serp.3...2581.4592.0.4789.10.10.0.0.0.0.356.2612.0j2j4j4.10.0.icWoZzewCGE&pbx=1&fp=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&cad=b

I can see the sites with the similar series of numbers that you searched for. Google still shows spam site

bazanomerov.ru/982423 in rank with porn banner & links into it.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGLE
IT's BEEN A LONG WAY TO GO 2 FIGHT WITH SPAM
 
Matt, I'm a bit surprised that these kinds of pages have survived the various iterations of Panda, seeing as how they typically are 99% template (here, I'm not talking about the example you've shown, but rather the ones who have no actual UGC or looked-up info about the specific phone number). Might I suggest that your folks look at a handful of examples of SERPs for phone numbers as a good test case for whatever you're using to chunk pages and determine % of content. Whatever these guys are doing is getting past your filters at the moment :-( Michael.
 
That's exactly what I was thinking; phone number spam?
 
Matt I just called everyone of those numbers and they all go to your voicemail. What's up with that.? just kidding :)
 
Well why in the heck then whenever I search for a phone number the top several dozen Google search results are just that? Page after page of massive lists of phone numbers. grumble
 
+John Reyst because even if their page ranks were negative one million if they're the only pages that match your query, they'll be at the top.
 
I would agree with the delist when it comes to straight numbers. These sites are a bane and help no one but the 100s of crap sites that exist to serve you a page of advertising and a list of number... by far the most blatant SEO whores on the net.
 
What, that's not a good user experience? What do users want, anyways :-)
 
What about a site where people like to share their numbers for friendship purpose ??
 
I agree that pages that do this should be prunes automatically from the results list.
 
I don't think anyone thinks differently or understood your guidelines differently... So get back to us, the users, when you've done an algoritmic change that removes them from the index? We are waiting, believe me... we are because those sites are dead annoying =(
 
Thank goodness you are removing those pages. They are a consistent thorn.
 
I can't say I've ever come across one of those pages yet... sad to hear they are out there.
 
Those pages have been there so long that I started thinking Google were finding them useful for some mysterious reason...
 
Thought I was looking at THE MATRIX Matt. It isnt ? :O)
 
Thanks a lot! Publishing my phone number like this. Grrrrrrrr.
 
That kind of webistes sometimes helps people to find the owner for some kind of phone numbers but example You add - I agree - it's a bit spammy :/
 
Semantic search is the future. Google's bots should display the 'calling number' only to check who the caller is. Matt, this is a good observation which will no doubt come to fruition with your help.
 
"these pages have always been considered violations of our guidelines as keyword stuffing--I just wanted to be especially clear so that we could point to explicit guidance we'd given"

Translation: It's very, very hard for Google to prevent the above crap from ranking for a [###-###-####] type query in favor of the superior results that actually are useful. They're trying to work on it. But in the mean time, they're hoping they can get these crap sites to reform, which might be difficult for them but which would be much easier for Google.
 
So true, I've got so many times p.off crawling through many pages showing the fact that I'd already known the number and the country code or the provider without having any useful info like who, where...
 
Just look at it and say to yourself, Is this something I would want to read myself and your normally on the right track!
 
Exactly. Sites like this has ads running. For them it's free web traffic. For us it's wast of time.
 
yeah . it is true... i paced this problem ..
 
So now when I search for a grid of sequential phone numbers I'll be out of luck? That sucks
 
+Matt Cutts No Google isn't useless for searching valid or relevant phone numbers associated within the search. Example if you knew my number and typed in (949) 472-2700 insurance marketing "bam" no spam you"ll find what you're looking for.
 
Could it be considered as an HTML sitemap, hub page or A-Z list? Maybe the linked pages for a specific phone number has a lot of value for the searches and the original intention of the webmaster was to optimize for that pages and not for the big list.
 
Imagine having to UAT that lot!
 
Wouldn't it be possible to specify that ROBOTS=NOINDEX,FOLLOW for a page like this, so that the end content page for each phone number gets indexed, but this page is never indexed and users never have to see it?
 
I've seen sites like this with auto generated content, and the problem is that the end pages are often useless as well. 99% of the numbers have no information at all.
 
Its a numbers link farm.. Think I saw my number there actually!!
 
Would they receive an additional penalty for over-optimization per specs on last panda release?
 
The first number from the image is still for Eric Schmidt? :)
 
AMEN! The only bad thing I have to say about Google is when I search a phone number this is all I get, everything else you're spot on perfect!
 
What if the page isn't for people, but for robots?
 
I completely agree. I often use Google to search for a phone number I don't recognise in the hope that I can find out who is calling me. Half the time I get results I'm looking for - usually a website where people are talking about some telesales company. When I land on pages of numbers without any useful idea of why they are there, I get frustrated. What frustrates me more though is the number of companies who don't even think to put their phone number on their website and make it indexable.
 
+Mike Dierken that's kinda what I was saying earlier. I think it is for ROBOTS but it hasn't been set-up properly, because it should never be indexed, only followed.
 
but, why?? the numbers are indexed by google?
 
+Alex Marton Obviously...as they are the part of the text. O landed on the similar page and thats indeed useless to see such page where there is nothing but numbers.
 
this sites should get banned from google. I have searched several times for phone numbers... without great success.

Many times i get google results where google does not find the number but parts of it. this is not really useful. Think that using somekind of shortcut for it would be even more useful like:
"telephone 001 4657 432 434 54"

Of course country codes, spaces makes google more difficult to find. But think that there are enough intelligent brains on your team to solve it nicely.

I am confident that google will solve it in the future.
 
My observation is that they are often linked to individual pages "site map" style to allow GoogleBot to pass to thousands of internal pages the site owners are actually trying to get popularity on, the fact that GoogleBot is caught on the massive links pages is better than the mess that might be created by the individual pages that might be more realistic in appearance.

Using Google Maps is better for phone searches I think.
 
I always google unfamiliar phone numbers that call me... and I know it's a truly unknown number if the only results are ugly pages like this. Another example of garbage cluttering the internet... these sites shouldn't be ranked.
 
There are good resons why WP reverse lookup is not allowed and of course your countries PTT owns the phone numbers so probaly a copyright violation.
Bob J
 
I would also love to find a way to reverse lookup all these SEO and Guaranteed Top Placement calls without paying too. Especially when they call over and over tying up our toll free lines. Some days we will get over a dozen of these calls mainly tracing back to Oregon, but that's about as close as we have been able to pin them down to so far.
 
Kerry Schwab - If they can't do better, at least you can spot them, they're easily recognizable without clicking on the search result. I mentioned earlier that I use Maps more often than regular search when looking up phone numbers.
 
Lol, when you remove all of those horrible keyword stuffed pages you won't have any results for the serp.  Seems like those results are all all you get if you Google a number.  I can't wait to see them gone, it's so annoying to see those pages.
 
That's seemingly what Google is trying to take out of the algorithms. I do admit, however the SERPS are still a bit out of skew and some of us continue to suffer a little. I guess the pendulum has to swing a little to each side to reach a balance, however. 
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